Let me wish you all the best for a happy and prosperous 2010. I hope you have enjoyed a wonderful Christmas with your near and dear ones. My son, whom we love dearly and spoil hopefully not too much, asked me to make my chocolate truffles for Christmas. The truffles, www.mediterraneancooking.in/sweets/truffles, turned out to be really delicious. (If I may say so myself). During the holidays I continued to indulge in all the good things of life, topping it of with a helping of the truffles. Like always, my body dutifully transformed all the extra calories into some extra kilos around my hips. Now I have to work them off in the gym…please check out what I write about losing weight at www.mediterraneancooking.in/weightloss-without-diet.
Accordingly, the recipe for my first newsletter is figure friendly: a spicy, refreshing salad based on red rajma beans (they are called kidney beans due to their shape in the rest of the world). Although these beans have quite a few calories, they also provide plenty of proteins, minerals and fiber making them an excellent ingredient for a healthy diet.
I hope you will enjoy this colorful salad, which is a first-rate main course on a hot day or can be served as a “primo piatto” (appetizer). It also makes a nice addition to any buffet. Like all my recipes, it is so easy to prepare, you hardly can fail.
Wishing you happy cooking, always!
Kornelia Santoro and family
Red beans for a spicy interlude
Normally I don’t really like raw onions. They leave a disgusting aftertaste in my mouth which lingers for hours, even if I brush my teeth and use a mouthwash. In this salad however, finely minced raw onions fit nicely. This is one of the few dishes, where I not only tolerate raw onions, I love them. I discovered this salad about two decades ago at my best friend’s hotel. She owns a 400 year old mansion, a ‘Hammerschloss”, nestled in the idyllic Bavarian countryside close to Regensburg. In luscious green surroundings she serves every Sunday a delicious brunch buffet. One of the plates regularly offered there is this salad. Here in Goa, rajma beans belong to the traditional cuisine and you can find them practically everywhere. I often make a big bowl of this salad and keep it in the fridge, where it stays fresh for up to a week. Whenever somebody feels hungry, they can help themselves to a nutritious meal.
Ingredients (for about 4 servings):
200 grams red rajma beans, 2 big, green peppers, 2 big, red onions, 1 cup boiled corn kernels, 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 5 tablespoons olive oil, salt, red chili flakes and freshly ground black pepper according to your taste.
How to make red beans salad:
Start the evening before cooking with soaking the red beans. Spread them out on a flat surface and discard any broken or discolored beans. Then put the beans into a container, cover them with plenty of water and leave them to soak in the fridge over night. The next day drain your beans and rinse them well. Then cook your beans in plenty of salt water until they are tender. This takes about 45 minutes in a pressure cooker and up to 2 hours in a normal pot. Drain them and let them cool down.
Wash your green peppers and slice them finely. Peel the onions and mince them as fine as you can. I always use a blender for this job. It is not really necessary to use red onions in this recipe, but I love their purplish hue and slightly sweet aroma in this dish. Combine the beans with the vegetables in a big bowl. Dissolve the salt, around half a teaspoon, in the vinegar and blend it well with the olive oil. Add chili flakes and black pepper according to your taste. I like this salad with plenty of punch so I always use a lot of both. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix all the ingredients well. Let it rest at least 1 hour in the fridge before serving, so the beans soak up all the flavors of the dressing.
Red beans detoxify your body
Rajma or kidney beans and other beans are known as ‘Phaseolus vulgaris’, which means ‘common beans’. They all trace their origin to a common ancestor bean in Peru. Spanish explorers brought them Europe in the 15th century and Portuguese traders introduced them to Asia.
Beans are not only a cheap source of good protein; they also contain plenty of cholesterol-lowering fiber. A cup of cooked kidney beans provides almost half of the recommended daily intake for fiber. This fiber also prevents blood sugar levels from bouncing up and down after a meal, making beans easy digestible for people with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia.
Furthermore they supply us with the trace mineral molybdenum which helps our bodies getting rid of sulfites. Sulfites are preservatives found in many industrial foods. Big amounts of folate, magnesium, manganese, iron and niacin (Vitamin B1) make red beans an excellent ingredient for any healthy diet. These minerals and vitamins support a healthy heart, improve your memory, help keep your heart healthy, boost your antioxidant defense and provide plenty of fat-free energy. If you want to lose weight, eat plenty of beans.