Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Black Beans Rice

I was a whiner when it came to doing homework. 
I would fling my backpack, I know not where, as soon as I got home from school. Grab a quick bite to eat and rush out to play. I would come home when it was dark, tired and happy.
Homework was a distant memory and it's revival brought on waves of nausea and related symptoms. I would shove it in the background and promptly forget all about it.
I did that right up until my MBA, Lisa (my BFF) would shrug her shoulders comically and tolerate my whining until she could bear no more, but being my best friend, she did not desert me, she stood by me and joined in. We would then drown our sorrows in Chocos biscuits ( a Kelloggs brand) or paani-puri. 

Why is this relevant here? Because some habits die hard......

The last time we had snowfall, it felt as if the city had braked suddenly and had come to a screeching halt. With that rude awakening, we planned on being well prepared for the next time.
Here's what happened, we were not prepared for snow, neither were most people and at the last moment, everyone panicked and hit the stores, the shelves were wiped clean of anything and everything edible and some non-edible.
M braved the icy streets and went grocery shopping only to be bitterly disappointed. No milk, no yogurt and left over bruised fruit. So he rummaged about and piled his cart with lactose free milk, one avocado and then tins of beans, black beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, cannellini beans. 
I gulped and silently bit back a smart retort and stocked the cans in the pantry, on the top most shelf, at the back. 
Shoved it out of sight, just like homework I did not want to tackle.
I remembered the stocked up cans the next time the temps dipped ....I decided to go for it, one can at a time. I had to use up those cans. I picked the black beans. 
A couple of months ago, I picked up Lakshmi Diabetes Rice. It is a low glycemic index rice. A friend on FB has used it and recommended it.
I made this simple, tasty and nutritious Black Bean Rice.
Makes a great lunch box option.

Adapted from here, with changes made to suit my taste.

1 cup Rice ( I used this Low GI Rice- cheaper at the Indian store)
1 can Black Beans (  I used slightly less as I had used the beans in another recipe)
1 medium Onion, chopped
1 large Carrot, peeled and diced
1 medium Green Bell Pepper, diced
1/2 cup (or a bit more, I eyeballed this) frozen Corn, thawed
1 tsp dry Oregano
3-4 hefty pinches of Red Chili Flakes (or just shake the container and add the flakes by approximation)
1 tsp Cumin powder
2 cloves Garlic, smashed / pounded roughly using a mortar and pestle or chopped finely
Salt to taste
2-3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
3-4 cups Vegetable Broth (low sodium)
Parsley, chopped , for garnish.

Wash the rice in several changes of water. Soak the washed rice in plenty of water and set aside for 20-30 mins.
In the meantime, dice the vegetables.
To cook rice:
Drain the water that the rice is soaked in.
I use my electric rice cooker, so I add the rice and the broth to the rice cooker and set it to cook. 
If using the stove top  method, combine the broth and rice and cook, covered, until the broth is absorbed and rice is cooked.
Once the rice is cooked, fluff it with a fork.
Heat a large pan/ wok , add the oil. Add the onion and cook until translucent.
Add the garlic, oregano and the chili flakes, cumin powder and salt. Mix well and saute till the raw garlic smell goes away.
Add the carrots and saute, add the remaining vegetables and cook until the veges are tender.
Add the beans and mix well, taking care not to mash the beans. Cook for a couple of minutes more.
Add the cooked rice and carefully mix it all together.
Cover and let the flavors mingle.
Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.


The Rice: Broth ratio is high because I am using Low GI rice. This rice, no matter how much water I add, manages to absorb it all and still cook up fluffy and each grain separate every time.

The grain is thicker and chewier, but resembles Basmati.

IMO, this rice does not soak up flavors like Sona Masoori or regular Basmati does.

Chicken broth can be substituted for Vegetable Broth if you are non-vegetarian.

I rarely have parsley on hand, I skip the garnish part.

That's it for now. Stay warm and stay safe! Take care.
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