Red Bean Indian Curry with Gluten-Free Grains Pilaf: Inspired by Rajma Dal, an Indian kidney bean and tomato curry dish. Sometimes it is traditionally served over basmati rice. However, we switched it up by serving this nutritious curry over a hearty, garlicky pilaf made from gluten-free grains, that includes wild rice and quinoa. Add a dollop of creamy cucumber raita on top brings the dish together.
History of Curry:
The word curry has a different meaning in the western world than it does in India. In India, the word curry refers to a gravy or stew dish. Typically these dishes contain garam masala along with ginger, chili, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and sometimes onion and garlic, but it can be made up of many things.
In the western world, the word “curry” mostly refers to a powder spice. It’s easy to trace the spread of curry. The Portuguese first came to India’s tropical southern shores in 1498, in search of cardamom, cloves, and black pepper. These were considered among the world’s most valuable commodities. Lacking a word to describe the spicy, coconut-thickened stews they found there, they went ahead and made one up. Carel, taken from the Tamil word kari.
The British East India Company was founded in the 1600s, and within a century, it had wrested mercantile dominance from the Portuguese. It also took the portuguese word “carel” and turned it into “curry.” They used it to describe the wide range of spiced stews prepared by the native cooks, who politely adjusted their complex cuisine for the weaker palates of their british invaders.
While you might not think that the British would like the exotic spices of curry, you would be wrong. Curry’s spread to England is attributed to the governmental rule of the British Raj (1858-1947) whose personnel acquired a taste for the spicy foods when stationed there. These dishes and recipes were brought back home and the British made them to suit their own tastes.
British bureaucrats often showed off their “colonial credentials” by serving “Indian” curries at their tables. By the mid-19th century, you couldn’t find a British cookbook without a curry recipe, or a shop that didn’t carry curry powder.
Since then, curry has become a major component of British cuisine.
Red Bean Indian Curry with Gluten-Free Grains Pilaf.
- 1 medium yellow onion
- garlic use 1 large clove
- 3 medium plum tomatoes
- 4 oz gluten-free grains blend
- ¼ oz curry powder
- 1 can kidney beans
- ¼ oz fresh cilantro
- 1 cucumber
- 5.3 oz Greek yogurt
- olive oil
- coarse kosher salt
- freshly ground pepper
- Prep ingredients: Peel onion, then finely chop (about 1½ cups). Peel 1 large garlic clove, then finely chop (about 1 tablespoon). Core tomatoes, quarter lengthwise, and cut into ½-inch pieces.
- Cook grains: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a small saucepan over medium-high. Add gluten-free grains and garlic. Cook, stirring, until grains are toasted and garlic is fragrant, 1–2 minutes. Add 1 cup water and ¾ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat until water is absorbed and grains are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, cover to keep warm.
- Sauté aromatics: While grains cook, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high. Transfer onions to saucepan, then cook until beginning to brown, 6–8 minutes. Add curry powder and 1 tablespoon oil, then cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Build curry: Add tomatoes, kidney beans and their liquid, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cover and bring to a brisk simmer over medium-high. Continue cooking, partially covered and stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are soft and the curry has thickened slightly (about 3 cups), 9–11 minutes.
- Make raita: Meanwhile, finely chop most of the cilantro leaves and stems, reserving a few whole leaves for garnish. Trim ends from cucumber, then coarsely grate into a medium bowl using the large holes of a box grater. Stir Greek yogurt and a pinch each salt and pepper into cucumber.
- Finish & serve: Stir chopped cilantro into curry, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if curry seems thick. Serve curry over grains pilaf with a dollop of raita and garnish with whole cilantro leaves. Enjoy!