Bollywood Kitchen Show #610

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Rajma (Hearty Kidney Bean Stew)

Makes 4 servings

By Sri Rao

This awesome recipe was created by writer-director-producer Sri Rao, and he was kind enough to share it with us on the Jazzy Vegetarian television show this season! It’s hard to believe that simple kidney beans can transform into a dish with so many layers of flavor. Smoky cumin, earthy coriander, warm ginger and spicy garlic combine to make rajma, a true showstopper. This is North Indian comfort food—and all you’ll need is one bowl of warm stew to understand why.


1 tablespoon extra-light olive oil or canola oil

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/2 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon Indian red chili powder or cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed

1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

2 medium tomatoes, diced

2 cans (15.5-ounces each) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup hot water

1 1/4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice or 1/4 teaspoon tamarind paste

1/2 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus extra for garnish

1 teaspoon ground coriander

Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish (optional)

Vegan yogurt or Cashew Sour Cream (page XX), to finish (optional)


In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering hot, add the mustard seeds. As soon as the seeds begin to pop, add the onion and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes, reducing the heat to medium (or medium-low), if necessary, to prevent the onions from burning. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, for another minute. Add the cumin, Indian red chili powder (or cayenne pepper), salt and turmeric. Stir the spices into the onions, allowing them to bloom, for about 30 seconds.


Stir in the tomatoes. Cover and cook until the tomatoes have broken down, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the beans and stir. Add the water and bring to a boil. Add the lemon juice (or tamarind paste) into the hot stew along with the tamari (or soy sauce). Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Add the cilantro and coriander. Use the back of a large spoon or a potato masher to crush about half of the beans to create a rich gravy. Continue cooking, increasing heat as necessary, until the sauce is thick and transforms from red to deep brown, another 5 to 10 minutes or so.


Adjust the salt and seasonings, to taste. Garnish with optional fresh cilantro and serve in a bowl with Turmeric Quinoa.

Reprinted with permission from Bollywood Kitchen: Home-Cooked Indian Meals Paired With Unforgettable Bollywood Films by Sri Rao (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017). Sri Rao is a writer-director-producer living in New York City. Learn more about Sri at:


Mini-Cauliflower Bites

Makes 4 to 6 servings


8 cups large cauliflower florets, or 22 to 24 baby cauliflowers, washed and trimmed

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon ground cumin

3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (see note)

Several grinds of Himalayan pink salt or sea salt

2 teaspoons vegan margarine

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a large, rimmed baking pan with unbleached parchment paper. Put the cauliflower and olive oil into a large bowl and toss with a large spoon or clean hands to coat.


Put the cumin, turmeric, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and salt into a small bowl and stir to combine. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the cauliflower and stir to thoroughly coat the cauliflower. Transfer the cauliflower mixture to the lined pan and arrange in a single layer. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the cauliflower is soft and has developed a deep brown color around the edges.


Transfer the hot cauliflower to a large bowl and immediately add the margarine. Stir to combine. Pour the lemon juice over the top and stir to combine. Serve warm.


Chef’s Note: For a less spicy version of this recipe, use 1/16 teaspoon cayenne pepper.


Turmeric Quinoa

Makes 3 to 4 servings



1 cup quinoa, rinsed thoroughly

2 cups water

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 large vegan bouillon cube, crumbled (see note)


Put all of the ingredients into a medium-sized saucepan. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Decrease the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 15 to 17 minutes, or until all of the water is absorbed. Remove the quinoa from heat, uncover and gently fluff with a fork. Cover and let stand for 5 to 7 minutes before serving. Stored tightly covered in the refrigerator, the quinoa will keep up to 3 days.


Chef’s Note: If desired, you may use 2 cups of prepared vegetable broth in place of the water and bouillon cube.


Golden Cashew Milk

Makes 1 serving

1 cup sweetened or unsweetened cashew milk

1 teaspoon maple syrup, plus more as needed

1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

Dash of freshly ground black pepper


Put all of the ingredients into a small saucepan and whisk to combine. Bring to a simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally. Cook for a few minutes to blend the flavors. Taste and add more maple syrup, if desired. Pour into a mug, let cool slightly, and sip.