Spicy 3 bean salad

K is on a mission health and fitness. Unlike the punishing routine and diet he followed the first time he lost weight in 2010, this time he has gone about it slow and informed and under the supervision of a gourmet chef (me!) and two trainers who have closely monitored his progress.

He is strict with his diet and exercise, something I realise I cannot be disciplined about and apart from the envy for the lack of my own self control, I do not fight it.

The challenge is to make meals that are not boring and ensure they are grain free for 6 days of the week, sometimes 5 days of the week. I make a lot of salads and bungle most vegetables into some binding with gram flour and fry them in the paniyaram pan to make a cross between a bhajiya and cutlet.

The 3 bean salad I am posting today is lovely to be eaten on its own, as a side with a meat or a vegetarian main course and is versatile enough to be filled into rotis for a roll or canapes as a snack. If you so like it, add slices of boiled egg, or shredded grilled chicken to the salad to up the protein factor.

Spicy 3 Bean Salad (serves 4)

1/4 cup dried black or kabuli chana, soaked overnight in water

1/4 cup dried rajma or kidney beans, soaked overnight in water

1/4 cup dried lobia or black eyed beans, soaked overnight in water

1 cup assorted bell peppers, chopped into small dice

1/4 cup red onion, chopped into small dice

1/2 cup cucumber, chopped into small dice

1/4 cup red tomatoes, remove the pulp and chop into small dice

1/4 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen

1/2 cup red/green apple, chopped into small dice

1/4 cup finely shredded fresh coriander leaves or parsley

Drain the water from the beans, add fresh water and pressure cook wit a little salt for 4 whistles or till cooked soft but not mushy. Cool and drain out the water. Chill all the ingredients before using.

Add all of the above to a large mixing bowl and mix well with a spoon.
For the dressing:

3 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil

2 pods garlic, grated

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon crushed pepper

1/2 teaspoon roasted cumin powder

1/2 teaspoon red chilli sauce (optional)

1/2 teaspoon brown sugar

Salt to taste

Add all of the above to a bottle with a tight fitting lid, shake well till everything is mixed well. Pour most of the dressing onto the salad and mix well. Taste and add more dressing if needed. Serve immediately.

Options

Top the salad with slices of boiled eggs, grilled chicken or shrimp ensuring the meat is seasoned well.

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