Take this gingerly

I was buying groceries in earlier this week when the woman behind me in line asked me how I used the ginger that I was buying.  She had heard that ginger was “good for you” (that ever so vague statement) and didn’t know what to use it in.  I was a bit thrown off for a minute by the unusual question and the fact that someone was talking to me in the grocery store!! Usually people try to keep to themselves and don’t interact unless they bump you with a grocery cart, in my experience.  Any-hoo, that’s a whole other onion, but what I am trying to say is that I didn’t exactly know what “good for you” properties ginger held, so I thought I would highlight it in this recipe.  I bet the lady never thought I would blog about her!

Ginger contains good amounts of potassium and magnesium (less than 5% of your DV), but does have some properties that are appealing to those who have upset or nauseous stomachs. (Wait, would something sound appealing to someone who is nauseous?  Probably not.)  It acts to reduce intestinal gas and relaxes the muscles in the intestines.  This allows for easier digestion.  Some studies claim that the compounds in ginger have anti-inflammatory and cancer-killing characteristics.  It is very concentrated, so only a little bit is needed.  You can add it to tea, in addition to food, like stir-fry, soup, or meat marinades.

When this dish popped up on my Google Reader from Smitten Kitchen’s blog, I had to make it for three reasons: a) it was a curry; b) it was a beans and rice recipe; and c) it looked really easy.  All of the above are true!  🙂  It passed E’s test, so that makes it even better. We served it over brown rice.  I didn’t try it with the dollop of yogurt, but only because I only have vanilla.

Red Kidney Bean Curry [Rajmah]

(From Smitten Kitchen‘s fabulous blog)
Adapted from an Arora spice blend

This is an Indian cousin of your favorite spicy red bean chili.

Serves 6

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh ginger (I use half this; I’m tepid in the fresh ginger department)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 plum tomato, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large green chili, chopped (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
8 ounce can of tomato sauce or 8 ounces of one of your choice
3 cups boiled red kidney beans or 30 ounces canned red kidney beans, undrained
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (or parsley, if you’re cilantro-averse)

Heat oil in a deep sauce pan over medium heat for one minute. Add ginger, garlic, onion, green chili, and let sizzle for one minute. Add the tomato sauce, salt and remaining spices and cook for an additional five minutes, stirring frequently. Add the kidney beans with water or canned red kidney beans (undrained) plus one additional cup of water, and tomatoes. Bring it to a boil, then reduce to medium heat and let cook uncovered for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Garnish with cilantro.

Serve over rice or with naan. A dollop of plain yougurt on top is heavenly.

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