Sweetnicks is hosting ARF/5-A-Day cooking event where food bloggers can submit their ARF(Antioxidant Rich Foods) recipes every Tuesday where she does a round up of all the recipes submitted.It sure is a great theme to keep us healthy as we share some great antioxidant food recipes with one another.This is my entry for this week’s ARF 5-Day Tuesday #4.
Why do we need to eat more anti-oxidant rich foods?What are anti-oxidants and why do we need them?Well,antioxidants help protect healthy cells from the damage caused by free radicals.What are free-radicals,you may ask? Free radicals are unstable, reactive molecules with a free electron that seek to latch onto whatever they can find and are generated by the metabolism of oxygen and other chemicals.Unsaturated fats, certain reactive chemicals, both inhaled and consumed in food or water, microbes,polluted environment and smoking cigarettes all generate free radicals. When these free radicals are not countered by antioxidant nutrients, they may attack healthy cells,cell membranes, fat molecules, or tissue linings in our body and weaken them and if left unchecked, they may contribute to heart damage, cancer, cataracts and other illnesses and may also weaken our immune system.So you want to fill your body with an abundance of antioxidants, while you do your best to avoid oxidant poisons.Antioxidants, also termed as “free-radical scavengers,” protect us by binding the free radicals and when we get sufficient levels of these antioxidants, such as vitamin E and Vitamin C, selenium, and beta-carotene in our diet, we can neutralize the free radicals and prevent cellular and tissue damage. For an better overview and understanding of free radicals and antioxidants follow this link.
In her search for anti-oxidant food sources,Alanna of A Veggie Venture came up with a helpful list of antioxidant food sources and she goes on to define these food sources in a very interesting manner.. “The best list of antioxidant-rich vegetables is the list of vegetables you’ll actually eat.”I couldn’t agree more on that.
Red Kidney Beans or Rajma (Hindi) are a rich source of anti-oxidants and contains cholesterol-lowering fiber which prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, making them a very good food source for diabetics.When red kidney beans are combined with whole grains such as rice, they provide an almost fat-free high quality protein. Rajma is quite a popular bean in North India and can be best associated with Rajma Chawal (red kidney beans with rice), the basic staple of N.India and an extremely popular dish which is a complete meal in itself.A signature Punjabi dish ,Rajma is curried beans simmered in spiced gravy of onions and tomatoes which reflects the taste of authentic North Indian cuisine with its rich flavor and appetizing aroma.I generally use kidney beans to prepare rajma curry to go with hot steamed rice,stuffed parathas or salad.I try to incorporate red beans in our diet as much as possible….and rajma curry (with jeera rice) is one of my favourite beans curry.
1 cup red kidney beans soaked overnight
3 cups water
1 big onion
1 bay leaf (optional)
1 tsp chopped ginger
1 tsp chopped garlic
pinch of asafoetida(optional)
pinch of turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp red chilli powder
2 big tomatoes finely chopped
1/4 tsp of ground garam masala (2 cloves,1/2″ cinnamon and 1 green cardamom)
1/2 tsp cumin pwd
1 tbsp coriander pwd
1 1/2 tbsps oil or ghee(clarified butter)
salt to taste
chopped fresh coriander leaves for garnish(optional)
Wash the kidney beans and soak in water overnight.Next morning, pressure cook until soft or cook in a large pot of water till soft.Remove half a cup of cooked beans, crush coarsely and keep aside.
Grind onion, ginger and garlic to a very fine paste.
Heat ghee/oil in a cooking vessel and add cumin seeds and let them brown.Add the asafoetida and stir fry for few seconds and then add the ground onion paste and saute until golden brown sprinkling water occasionally until the ghee starts separating from the paste.
Add red chilli pwd,turmeric pwd,coriander pwd,cumin pwd and salt.Mix well.
Add the tomatoes and cook till ghee seperates.
Add the cooked whole beans along with the residue water left while pressure cooking it.Cover and cook for 3 mts.
Add the crushed kidney beans and a cup of water.Mix well.Add garam masala and cook till required gravy consistency.
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
Serve hot with steamed rice,jeera rice,chappatis or phulkas.
Lulu of Lulu Loves London shares another tasty rajma recipe, Kashmiri Rajma.
1 cup long grain rice or basmati rice
1 tbsp ghee
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp clove-cinnamon powder
1 1/2 cups water
salt to taste
Wash rice well and soak in water for 20 minutes.
Heat ghee in a heavy vessel.Add the cumin seeds and let them turn brown.
Add the bay leaves and fry for few seconds.Add sugar and drained rice(keep aside the drained water)gently stiring for a mt.
Add spice powder and salt.Mix.Add water and bring to a boil.
Cover and cook on simmer till rice is cooked and water evaporates and see that each grain is separate.Serve hot with rajma or any curry of your choice.