Southern Indian Beans and Rice

Sometimes scrounging from the pantry produces something really yummy (and sometimes...not). I was thinking of pongal when I came up with this recipe, though this is a very liberal interpretation. In any case, the result is a richly flavored, fairly healthy, stick-to-your-ribs dish.

Vegetarian / Vegan
Source: Ann Ray

This doubles if you have a big enough pot, and freezes too (rice tends to break and the peppers get a bit mushy, but tastes great). I recommend a heavy-bottomed pan like All Clad—if you're using something lighter, you may want to stir a bit more.

In a large saucepan, cook over medium-high heat:

  • 1-1/2 tablespoons butter or vegan margarine
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red peppers
  • 14 small or 10 large green cardamom pods (crush and remove hulls, then crush seeds slightly)
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 1-3++ peppers (hot little ones or big bells, whatever you fancy)

The goal is to get a bit of color on the ingredients—they'll have plenty of time to cook with the rice. When it's getting brown, add:

  • 1-1/2 tablespoons butter or vegan margarine
  • 2 cups white basmati rice
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala

Cook on medium, stirring frequently until the grains are slightly translucent (watch for scorching and sticking). Then add:

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 4 cups water

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add:

  • 2 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • Salt (~2 teaspoons) and pepper to taste

If you have a problem with white rice, you could try brown basmati. However, the texture would probably not be as creamy. Also, since it has a longer cook time, I'd probably set aside the veggies and add back mid-way through the cooking.

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