Saturday, 31 January 2015

DOUBLE BEANS WITH MINCED CHICKEN IN A SPINACH & DILL FLAVOURED CURRY - GO GREEN



Long years back as an engineering grad. I was sent on an assignment to Marseille, a picture perfect hamlet situated in the south of France along the Mediterranean Coast. This was the first time I had travelled out of my homeland alone. I don't want to sound primitive but although the mobile phone was much in vogue then, it's use was not as rampant as now. In other words the mobile phone was not the instrument to turn to at the drop of a hat then, as it is now. 

So I was given in writing the Dos and Don'ts by my parents and strictly instructed that it had to be home and office and nowhere else. And I would have to call them twice a week without fail ( to think about it, I call home every two hours now). In a foreign land where the language was foreign too, I was terribly homesick within the first few days.


Initially I like an obedient child ferried only between home(accommodation provided by my office) and office. But then the urge to discover more of Marseille took me a little beyond the sketched route between home and office. I distinctly remember it was a Saturday and after having literally conked off the entire day, I called home and then having finished my duty I ventured out all alone. I had made a few friends at work but didn't want to bother any of them on a holiday. And with the fear of picking up the phone by mistake and giving away that I had gone out when I was not supposed to and also because it was quite heavy to carry (remember those hefty Nokia mobile phones) I conviently left my mobile phone at home. 

Those days I was extra fascinated by the mammoth Carrefour Super Markets and I like a little child trying to catch a butterfly lost myself in the serpentine rows of cosmetics, sauces, cereals etc. ignoring the time completely. I was jolted out of my trance by the announcement over the microphone that it was closing time. Quickly I made my way to the checkout counter and paid for my purchase. As I was making my way out a glance at my watch was enough to make me extremely nervous as I had stayed out quite late. To add to my woes it had started to rain very heavily and I did not even have an umbrella with me. Language was a huge barrier and with whatever signs I could, I managed to explain that I needed a taxi and was guided to the taxi arrival point which was completely deserted. There was a phone from which you could call a taxi and sadly it was not working. 


Half wet and shivering more with fear and apprehension than from the cold, I started praying which is what I think is the logical thing to do when in dire straits. 15 minutes passed by and there was not a single taxi in sight and as I have earlier said I had left my cell phone home, so I had no option other than to wait for the taxi to arrive. I thought of going back to the Supermarket and looking for a pay phone but a glance backwards told me that everything had shut down, the place was deserted and I could not see a single soul. 

By now I was trying hard to hold back my tears and cursing myself for not having listened to my parents. Suddenly out of nowhere I saw a petit girl under an umbrella walk towards me. I can't tell how relieved I was although a little skeptical to see her walk towards me. Mentally I started working very fast what I would be telling her. She came in front of me a very pretty face, smiled the warmest of smiles and asked in french, "vous attendez pour le taxi". I could only understand taxi and nodded my head. Then she said something else, much longer sentences in french and I waited for her to finish so that I could tell her "Sorry I do not understand". Seeing my blank expression she understood and in english explained to me that getting a taxi was out of question  at this hour and in this weather and maybe, I should get under her umbrella and walk along with her to a point where both of us could find a taxi. 


I didn't wait a second before agreeing to her invite and promptly got under her umbrella. She started the conversation and I responded and together like long lost friends we chatted our way back, walking all the 6kms on a rainy, dark night back home. That was how I met Hoda and our lifelong friendship began. It feels so strange to even think how we met and now not a single day passes by when we do not update the other about the latest developments in our lives.

By the way Hoda is from Iran but still lives in Marseille and she was the one who introduced me to the rich and beautiful world of Iranian culture and cuisine. Today's dish is inspired by the famous Iranian dish Baghala Ghatogh which is basically Lima beans cooked with Dill leaves and Eggs.

I am so fond of this dish that I have made it on several occasions and experimented by adding different ingredients to it. The original recipe tastes superlative and I recommend you try it out by clicking on the link IRANIAN.COM

The recipe which I share below is strongly influenced by the original dish but I have changed and added a few ingredients. For example I have added chicken mince instead of eggs etc. So you can say it is my ode to a favourite Iranian dish of mine Baghala Ghatogh and a toast to the unflinching bond between me and Hoda.

My dish contains Double Beans cooked along with Chicken mince in a spinach sauce with lots of fresh Dil leaves. It's a very tasty curry which can be served with flat breads or rice. It is mildly spiced and therefore equally enjoyed by Children.

So let's get cooking.

DOUBLE BEANS WITH CHICKEN MINCE IN A SPINACH AND DILL FLAVOURED CURRY RECIPE :


SERVES : 4
TYPE : MAIN COURSE / CURRY DISH
TIME : 8 HOURS FOR SOAKING THE BEANS + 10 MINUTES PREPARATION + 20 MINUTES COOKING

INGREDIENTS :

1) 1 Cup Double Beans
2) 250 Gms Minced Chicken
3) 1 Cup Spinach leaves tightly packed
4) 1/2 Cup of Fresh Dill/Suva leaves chopped
5) 1 large Red Onion finely chopped
6) 1 Tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste
7) 3 Medium sized Tomatoes finely chopped
8) 1 Tsp Garam masala powder.
9) 2-3 Green Chillies finely chopped
10) Salt to taste
11) 1 Tbsp Oil.

  

COOK WITH ME IN EASY STEPS :

STEP 1 :
Soak the Double Beans overnight. Wash the Spinach leaves well and purée them into a smooth paste in a blender or food processor. Wash the Fresh Dill leaves nicely in a colander and chop them up. Chop Onions, Tomates, Green Chillies and make the Ginger Garlic paste.

STEP 2:
Take the double beans which you will notice has become quite large in size after being soaked overnight and either pressure cook them covered with enough water or cook them in a deep bottom pan with enough water, covered, till the Double beans are completely cooked and can be mashed up using your fingers.



STEP 3:
In a wok or pan heat oil and sauté the onions till they become trasparent. Now add the ginger garlic paste, chopped tomatoes and green chillies. Cook till the tomatoes become soft and all the aromatics nicely blend together.

 

 

STEP 4:
Add the minced chicken and cook till it changes its colour from pink to white. Add the Garam masala powder, salt now, stir and cook further till the chicken is completely cooked. Once fully cooked add in the spinach purée, mix well and cook for a couple of minutes.



STEP 5:
Add in the chopped Dill leaves and mix well. Leave to cook for a minute and add in the cooked double beans. Incorporate by nicely mixing everything in your wok or pan. You need not add any water. But if you would like your gravy to be a little runny add in some water now and wait for the curry to bubble. Once it bubbles close the flame and plate the dish.





SERVE PIPING HOT WITH FLAT BREADS OR RICE.
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DOUBLE BEANS WITH MINCED CHICKEN IN A SPINACH AND DILL FLAVOURED CURRY RECIPE:


INGREDIENTS :

1) 1 Cup Broad Beans
2) 250 Gms Minced Chicken
3) 1 Cup Spinach leaves tightly packed
4) 1/2 Cup of Fresh Dill/Suva leaves chopped
5) 1 large Red Onion finely chopped
6) 1 Tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste
7) 3 Medium sized Tomatoes finely chopped
8) 1 Tsp Garam masala powder.
9) 2-3 Green Chillies finely chopped
10) Salt to taste
11) 1 Tbsp Oil.

COOK WITH ME IN EASY STEPS :

STEP 1 :
Soak the Double Beans overnight. Wash the Spinach leaves well and purée them into a smooth paste in a blender or food processor. Wash the Fresh Dill leaves nicely in a colander and chop them up. Chop Onions, Tomates, Green Chillies and make the Ginger Garlic paste.

STEP 2:
Take the double beans which you will notice has become quite large in size after being soaked overnight and either pressure cook them covered with enough water or cook them in a deep bottom pan with enough water, covered, till the Double beans are completely cooked and can be mashed up using your fingers.

STEP 3:
In a wok or pan heat oil and sauté the onions till they become trasparent. Now add the ginger garlic paste, chopped tomatoes and green chillies. Cook till the tomatoes become soft and all the aromatics nicely blend together.

STEP 4:
Add the minced chicken and cook till it changes its colour from pink to white. Add the Garam masala powder, salt now, stir and cook further till the chicken is completely cooked. Once fully cooked add in the spinach purée, mix well and cook for a couple of minutes.

STEP 5:
Add in the chopped Dill leaves and mix well. Leave to cook for a minute and add in the cooked double beans. Incorporate by nicely mixing everything in your wok or pan. You need not add any water. But if you would like your gravy to be a little runny add in some water now and wait for the curry to bubble. Once it bubbles close the flame and plate the dish.

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NOTE :
* Do not keep the Spinach covered after blending it into a smooth paste. After adding the spinach into the wok or pan do not cover it. This way the fresh green colour of the spinach remains intact.

* If you are vegetarian or follow a vegan diet you can omit the chicken mince from the recipe. It tastes equally good even this way.

* You can experiment with this recipe by adding fresh fenugreek leaves to it. You can also add eggs or both chicken mince and eggs. I have tried with a combine of dill, spinach and fenugreek all fresh and even this combination works fantastically.

* You can use dried dill leaves instead of fresh. The quantity would be 2 Tbsp.
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KEY INGREDIENTS :
1) DOUBLE BEANS, 2) CHICKEN MINCE, 3) ONIONS, 4) TOMATOES, 5) FRESH SPINACH LEAVES/PALAK, 6) FRESH DILL LEAVES /SUVA, 7) GINGER GARLIC PASTE, 8) GARAM MASALA, 9) SALT, 10) OIL, 11) GREEN CHILLIES

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