Breads

Ragi Roti and Rajma Pyaz (Finger Millet Flatbread and Kidney Beans)

If you’re looking for healthful recipes, it doesn’t get better than this: this meal is vegan, gluten-free, and carb-free—with (possible) zero weight watcher freestyle points.

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RAJMA PYAZ  

Unlike most Indian recipes for Rajma beans, this one doesn’t use red chili powder or turmeric. The main dominant flavor is onion (pyaz). This is big batch of beans. Without the turmeric this dish doesn’t have the Indian curry taste to it. So I save the leftovers to use as my base for a taco salad.

Ingredients:
2 tsp—1/4 cup, oil (obviously, the less you use, the better it is for you; and the more you use, the tastier it is too)
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 cups finely chopped onions
1 Tbsp pressed garlic
1 1/2 Tbsp finely grated ginger
2 Tbsp coriander powder
3 cups chopped tomatoes
2 Tbsp tomato paste
4 green chillies, finely chopped
3 cups vegetable stock (or water)
1 cup chopped cilantro
3-4 cans red kidney beans, rinsed
salt to taste
2 tsp garam masala (every brand has its unique taste. This is the one I used)
1/8th cup dry fenugreek leaves (optional–called Kasthuri Methi at Indian Grocers)
1 Tbsp butter (optional)
1/2 cup fried onions (optional–I use the Indian variety because there isn’t as much batter; but you could use French’s too )

Heat as much or as little oil you want in a deep pot. Add cumin and stir for about 30 seconds. Add fresh onions and cook till every so slightly brown. (If you’re leaving out the oil, cook the cumin and onion in a little of the stock/water till slightly mushy.)

With heat on medium, add ginger and garlic. Stir for about a minute. Add fresh tomato and tomato paste, green chillies, half of the stock/water, and half of the cilantro. Cover and cook till tomatoes are soft and well cooked. Mash them up a bit.

Add beans, the rest of the stock/water, fenugreek leaves and the garam masala. If you like more of a gravy, use three cans of beans (I use four cans). Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for about 30 minutes or until it’s as thick as you like it–stir occasionally. Stir in the remaining cilantro. Cook for another 2 minutes. Turn off the stove, and add butter and fried onions.

RAGI ROTI

Note: If these don’t turn out soft the first time, experiment with the heat setting on your stove till you get the magical one that’s right for the griddle you’re using. Even without butter or olive oil, mine were soft enough to roll into a burrito. I got 8 rotis.

Ingredients:
1 dry measuring cup of water (Don’t use a liquid measuring cup because the ratio for water:flour is based on volume)
1 tsp oil
3/4 tsp salt
1 dry measuring cup of ragi (finger millet) flour
olive oil or butter (optional)

Bring water, oil, and salt to a boil.

Do this next step as quickly as possible (This all should take less than a minute): Turn down the stove as low as possible, add the flour to the boiling water, give it a quick stir, take off the stove, and keep stirring it all comes together in a Play Doh-like textured ball.

Cover the dough and let it rest for about five minutes. Pinching out about 1/8th cup or less of dough, use dry ragi flour and roll out as thin as possible. Keep the dough covered. Cook on a cast iron or non-stick griddle as you would whole wheat chapatis or roti–There are many videos on YouTube on how to cook roti. Here’s one–watch the last two minutes.

While still warm, lightly spread some olive oil or butter on one or both sides. (I didn’t use any on mine)

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tomato and egg sandwich spread

This tastes much better than it sounds. Really! This is how my mom and I make the traditional egg sandwich that’s common in parts of Southeast Asia.

Note: You need a really good non-stick pan for this to turn out right

2 cups finely chopped onions
2 cups finely chopped firm, ripe tomatoes
1 green chili (also finely chopped)–optional
1 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger (finely chopped is essential to this recipe)
1 T bsp finely chopped cilantro
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 cup water
2 eggs
1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp oil
2 to 3 Tbsp chunky peanut butter

Heat 1/3 cup oil. Saute onions till translucent. Add everything but remaining oil, eggs and peanut butter. Cover and cook over med-low heat till tomatoes are well cooked and all the water has evaporated and you’re left with a thick chunky paste. Add salt to taste. Make a well. Into it pour remaining oil. When oil is hot, scramble the two eggs in it. Mix eggs into the tomato/onion mixture. Cook on low heat for another 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Mix in peanut butter. Cool.

(Another variation is to use mayonnaise instead of peanut butter. When using mayo, allow the onion-tomato-egg mixture to cool completely before adding it)

garlic spread

Equal parts of  each at room temperature

butter
cream cheese
grated cheddar cheese
parmesan cheese
sour cream

Mix all ingredients together with salt, pepper, basil and garlic to taste. Spread on bread of your choice (Italian or French is my preference). Broil until golden brown.

Sky’s banana bread

1 cup oil
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups mashed bananas
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups chopped nuts (preferably walnuts or pecans)
2 tsp baking soda
2 Tbsp hot water

Mix well together. Pour into two greased and floured loaf pans. Bake in preheated oven—350 degrees F, 45 minutes