Hosting the fifth edition of MLLA, created and orchestrated by Susan, The Well-Seasoned Cook was, as I had anticipated, a lot of fun. Throughout the past month, I have received submissions from around the world, variations (savory or sweet) on the theme of legumes.
Hosting an event means having the pleasure of collecting and then sharing the collection, of savoring in solitude and then inviting everybody to the final banquet.
This will be a rich meal, so my suggestion is that you make yourself comfortable before starting on a journey of flavors, colors, traditions and culinary creativity.
"Beware though - you have to have healthy teeth to bite into these laddoos! They are rock hard as they were made to last!"
I know that this will tickle your curiosity. However, consider yourself warned.
"You aren't a Punjabi if you can't make great chhole" is another enticing statement: read on the discover that "there are two ways to make chhole."
Jayashree of My Experiments With Food remembers that the first time she tasted rajma, in Delhi: "It was served with rice and tasted absolutely, positively divine."
Ever since then, she's been on a quest. For the occasion, she shares with us her current version of Rajma with methi leaves (photo on the right).
Vella payaru, black eyed beans or karamani cooked with jaggery [unrefined sugar] (photo on the left) is a dish from her childhood. "This often made an appearance whenever we were hungry and wanted something in the evenings and during navaratri."
We fly to the US to meet Sweatha of TastyCurryLeaf, who offers us two dishes.
First, we have Falafel, a Middle Eastern dish "similar to the South Indian vada in that it is made by soaking and grinding uncooked chickpeas/fava beans along with parsley, spices and baking soda."
Then, we have Bean and Pasta Soup, a dish from my homeland. "Though the recipe is simple,it is hearty and filling." Just what we need on a cold evening to warm up body and soul.
"So now even if we can’t ever live like the Maharajas, at least we can try and cook a meal fit for one." Well said!
[Click the image to view the cookbook]
"Ten bases are combined with ten different additives and ten different flavouring to create a thousand different pappu varieties."
And then we are offered Cabbage And Chana Dal Curry. "The thick flavour of cabbage when combined with pleasant tasting Chana dal or Bengal gram with little tadka gives the result an aromatic and yummy curry which goes hand in hand with piping hot rotis."
"Last but not least add your 'love' to make the dish YUMMY."
"Such a treat to have a home made rogan josh sauce and be able to fill it with lots of lovely vegetables ad legumes!"
A giant step on the map brings us to Canada, where Sarah of What Smells So Good? has prepared Black-Eyed Babycakes "the fluffiest muffins ever, nutty and spicy and full of appley goodness, with a secret ingredient: the humble black-eyed pea."
"We usually make chole in a heavy caramelized onion gravy but this one calls for a cilantro based gravy that is unique to Sindhi cooking."
Are you wondering how to use it? "Serve hot with rice, chappathis, parathas!!!!"
Black is her favorite color, so it was easy to choose black beans for this recipe.
Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen made Indira's Lentil and Almond Burger Patties/Cutlets and tells us that "cutlets, as we refer to patties in India, are a popular tea time snack... These spicy little pan-fried (sometimes deep fried) crisp rounds, which are soft on the inside, are best eaten warm and usually served with tomato ketchup."
Back home to California to Taste With the Eyes Lori Lynn's Yellow Eye Heirloom Beans With Garlicky Salsa Verde and Cotija Cheese.
"Cotija cheese is a hard cow's milk cheese named after the town of Cotija, Mexico where it originated. This cheese is delicious grated over warm beans."
They were "filled with cilantro flavor, had a chilli kick that hits at the base of the throat and went well with kichuri :)"
"I find beans and peas such easy ingredients to deal with, esp. when I am swarmed at work and have no time to cook anything."
Sra bought the colorful beans "on recent trip to Delhi and the shopkeeper could only tell me they are special Kashmiri beans. They were glossy and appeared black." However, soaking revealed their true color.
"The first of the gravies here is the traditional Channa Masala with white chickpeas. The second is a gravy with black channa but using cabbage to create the gravy."
She ate it "with a crusty roll and a spoon as utensils and loved every moment if it."
It is "a quick and easy recipe that can be served anytime of the day... It can be served with omelet or pachi pulusu. Pachi pulusu is raw tamarind water seasoned with fresh roasted green chilies, onions and ginger chopped, and tempered with mustard, cumin, garlic and turmeric."
We fly to the UK to meet Michelle, the Greedy Gourmet (and also 20-month old Gabriel, with whom she shares her office), who offers us Spiced Chickpea, Carrot, Raisin & Cashew Rice Pilaf.
"Personally I enjoyed a generous dollop of plain yoghurt with this vegetarian meal."
She has been making these "Indian oven-baked delights with various kinds of vegetables, including thawed (and squeezed out) packages of our garden string beans, diced par-boiled potatoes, blanched cauliflower and even blanched Brussels Sprout halves, and they are always winners."
Over the border to Canada, where Christine of Kits Chow shares with us her enthusiasm for newly-discovered Persian cuisine, which uses herbs and spices in a way that she finds appealing.
She made Aash-e-sholeh-ghalamkar. Aash means soup in Farsi and this is a very rich, stew-like soup.
"For a light supper, serve with crusty bread and a green salad."
Though she is traveling, she did not want to miss our event and as a result we have the recipe for pasta e fagioli typical of her region, Campania (where the city of Napoli, is located).
"Tahini sauce is ultimately the purest of soul mates when it comes to dressing these fried balls of ground chickpeas."
Back to the US, where Susan, The Well-Seasoned Cook and the founder of the wonderful My Legume Love Affair event, shares with us her recipe for Congris (Cuban Red Beans and Rice), "one of several Cuban variations of many Caribbean rice and bean recipes, congris (Spanish for "with gray") translates colloquially to dirty rice."
"Even better the second day."
"It is good to have with a steaming cup of dark and thick hot chocolate, or to make wonderful jelly sandwiches."
Quickly cooked and simply seasoned, the small beans were "a big hit at dinner."
And now the announcement of the winner of a copy of Frozen Desserts by Caroline Liddell and Robin Weir. I decided to use a random integer generator and, as you can see in the screen shot, the program gave me number 16. The 16th person to submit an entry (minus the host, the organizer and previous winners) was Sra of When My Soup Came Alive. Congratulations to the winner!
Thanks again to all who have participated! Let the legume celebration continue in December, with Suganya of Tasty Palettes as our host.