Kidney Bean and Brown Rice Risotto – Italian


I have spent the last few days – two weeks to be precise – vacillating from one extreme to another until I felt my head reeling due to the flagella like movements inside my brain and in the process I made P go mad too! The reason is that I was offered a Canon EOS 350D at a good price on second sale, and I was divided as to buy or not to buy!Our friend V (the guy who practically prodded and goaded me into getting adventurous, and still doesn’t know that it is he!) has many friends who are professional photographers, and he knows that I enjoy photography, so when one of them wanted to give away (not for free of course!) his ‘not so old’ DSLR, V thought of me. I did not want to spend much, but really wanted to upgrade to a better model. When you are a shopaholic with a penchant for good bags, pens, shoes, wallets, caps, and spectacle frames apart from being crazy about books, cutlery, hair styles and movies you have to budgetise yourself and so, I prudently decided to invest in a hand down camera rather than an expensive new model that would really stretch my budget! I did not need to talk P into buying it as my birthday is coming up and he was quite happy to let me choose rather than wonder what to choose!!

I am still just learning to handle this baby, so please bear with my experiments! Any tips will be well received, and are most welcome. I am pretty good at taking positive criticism having been at the ‘giving’ end as a teacher at one point of my life – something I really regret not sticking too!

In keeping with my resolve of exploring International cuisine, I ventured into Thailand and then back to Italy recently. The Thai curry was liked by everyone in the family but something I did not enjoy much – OK! I am biased and I love coconut milk only in aviyal and olan! The taste of garlic with coconut milk is something that needs to be acquired so the deficiency lies in me rather than the dish! Meanwhile I saw Sandeepa’s ”Thai vegetable soup” which has caught my attention because it has no garlic and looks very doable and tasty. The day after the camera came into my possession for a trial period I tried a vegan red bean and brown rice risotto. I wouldn’t call this very adventurous as it was not so far off from a rajma pulao made with boiled rice. I have made risottos before but never used unpolished rice or ukda chaawal. For this preparation I used brown rice from ‘Nirapara‘. I like this the best as the quality is quite superior and I have been using it for quite some time now. When I cook it plain I just place it in the cooker with four times water and 3 whistles, lower the flame and cook further for ten minutes before switching off. However for the risotto I cooked it as the recipe called for in a vessel till done.

This was a super duper hit! All of us loved it, but again I prefer having it hot off the gas at home rather than the cold version I ate for lunch at my office. The reason being that the brown rice became a little dryish by lunch time, and I like my rice with a saucy gravy. My recipe is based on the Essential series starring vegetarian recipes. I liked this one as the recipe did not feature cheese which seems to be a must on most risottos.

Olive oil (I used carotino) – 2tbsp.
2 small onions sliced
2 garlic cloves minced
Nirapara brown rice – 2 cups
Vegetable stock/water – 6.5 cups
Red pepper – 1 deseeded and chopped
Button mushrooms (use any kind) – 200g.
Soaked overnight, and cooked Kashmiri Rajma (Kidney beans) – 2 cups (Use 3)
Lettuce leaves – generously
Parsley or coriander – generously
Cashews – About 10
Salt and pepper (I used white)

Heat a tsp. of oil in a cooker or heavy vessel. Add onions and saute for about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic cloves and cook till the raw appearance changes. Add rice stir, and add a tsp. of oil to coat the rice all over.

Add the water or stock and a pinch of salt and boil stirring constantly. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer till the liquid is absorbed completely.

Heat the remaining oil in a wok. Add the pepper and cook till half done. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook till the mushrooms are just done (max. 5 minutes).

Stir the rice into the mushroom and pepper and add the beans with a little of the juice or creamy residue. Add the lettuce and cashews. Season with salt and a generous pinch of white pepper and cook until hot. Transfer to a serving dish. Garnish and serve immediately.

Not advisable for packed lunch as flavors are lost unlike Rajma rice where flavors remain captured.



Jr.H: This morning she opened the blog and asked, “What! You didn’t post that tasty rajma risotto yet?” “It was so good!”

Jr.P: “I know, I liked it too!”

I : “I prefer rajma Indian style.”

Jr.H seconded heartily by Jr.P: “Mummy! How can you decide? You should have asked us!”

I: Stumped! Kids!! I tell you!!

Verdict:Thumbs up! Besides, how can anything with Kashmiri rajma ever taste anything but great?:)


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Have your say

  1. A nice recipe again posted by you & this i will bookmark like most of ur other recipes coz i like rajma a lot.

  2. very yummy and I am not an expert photographer… far from it actually 🙂 I like your picture 🙂
    I am yet to start using brown rice.. will try this recipe

  3. All that shopping!! 😀

    I freely spend on books and kitchen gadgets. Other than that, nothing interests me. Risotto looks good, bit dry as you said. You need to add loads of veg stock to cook and serve quickly! My Risotto gets a bit dry too! 🙂

  4. Darling and darling,I too posted a brown rice with black beans for MM.I used the brown rice available here thgh.The risotto looks lovely and yes,rajma adds to it.Healthy and tasty.I suppose,my daughter will grow up to think same as jr P and Jr H.
    BTW,love the pic.You really have nice pic ideas.I have to rake my brains to comeup with something new.Love it and love it.Sometimes,I too feel that what we cook up from other cuisines definitely is similar to one in our own culture or the food we grew up with.Something’s is different-some spices,way of making etc,so we call it that.Even my moroccan stew was such a dish,it was very hearty and was perfectly relished,could not believe it was ‘Moroccan’.May be the world is really small and we find similarities or may be its my way of doing.Enough bakbak
    Enjoy the risotto

  5. Love the second picture and ur recipe too. Sometimes I go crazy clicking the same dish in many background and i end up beeing enough. Only click event thrives me like that! I am a novice in photography too!

  6. The nutrition of wholesome brown rice risotto with beans is no match the sticky starchy arborio rice.
    Hope too see more such awesome clicks with your new priced possession.:)

  7. Pinky, thank you:). Viva la rajma – its a much loved legume everywhere!

    Indhu, you have to develop taste for brown rice but you will get hooked on. It makes a tastier option for many many dishes esp. stews! Do try it.

    Asha, when I was posting P came behind and when he say my budgetising thing he started guffawing! He says he is the one who does that:) I wish to curtail at times but at times I know I have one life!! You are right. Next time I will add more stock!

    Sweatha, all that gyan!! You call it bakbak? You are right, and I too have the same feeling many many times over! You bet your kid will too – all you have to do is keep typing as though it is the end of the world;)

    Cham, she does it to me too!!

    Yasmeen, I agree! Thank you:) Jr.H says I need to concentrate on some good backgrounds too!

  8. That looks yummy 🙂 Pic looks awesome! Good luck with your camera. No expert here to give u any advice, though 😀

  9. You say you’re just getting a hang with the camera…I say your pics are beautiful…

  10. A nice recipe n a nice post, as usual..
    I’m yet to intoduce myself with brown rice..:), but whenever ‘ll start it with this one only..

  11. Truly lovely, Harini. I love how healthy your risotto is. Nice job with the camera too. Thanks for sending in to It’s A Vegan World: Italian.

  12. You already know so much about photography Harini .. don’t worry .. your snaps are always great. 🙂 Risotto looks good .. by Kashmiri rajma do you mean the smaller ones? I have noticed that they taste better than the bigger sized ones.

  13. Sharmila, yes. I meant the small dark variety. They taste so much better like you said!

  14. great that you got yourself a ‘new’ camera! enjoy!

  15. oooohhhhhh very helthy nice pic as you said i too love Risotto hot hot from the stove like the version with kidney beans

  16. Kitchen Flavours

    Iam stumbling with brown rice a lot these days in many blogs. I think i should also start using it in my culinary……..Looks yummy.

  17. Pics are beautiful. Looking forward to more better pics from ur new possession.
    I cook brown rice for dinner since hubby likes it a lot. Risotto sounds delicious. I shall try this soon.

  18. Yummy one Harini!
    Lovely clicks. I really liked the texture of the pic. Gr8 job girlie!

  19. umm,…droolin,..lovely click,..and i love all ur cl;icks,..u capture them very well,..i am searchin for arborio rice here,..:-)any idea where i can get them in delhi,..??

  20. I regularly use Nirapara matta rice for lunch…..risotto with it sounds very doable ‘coz I can use what I already have. Will try this out.

  21. Wow.. a DSLR… My hubby is very much interested in Photography and we were just discussing about buying a DSLR.. Lucky you.. so Birthday coming up huh? Risotto looks yummy… with brown rice it must have definitely been healthy 🙂

  22. wow .. yu lucky girl .. what a b’day gift .. the pic says it all … its beautiful .. I still havent started using brown rice ..

    When it comes to shopping Iam sooo much like you 🙂

  23. Delicious. I have a old camera, so i will be the last one to give opinion other then the picture looks so nice.
    Go to Nags place she is having a whole post with lots of info.

  24. I always admire ur photography,this brown rice risotto looks really good thro ur camera!

  25. Lovely pics..Never tried risotto with brown rice..healthy and yummy and too..will try this..

  26. Italian Risotto with the idea 🙂

    that’s a nice picture, so well worth the vacillation 😉

  27. Pavithra Kodical

    Great entry for the event Harini..Interesting recipe..I know you are busy doing R&D with the new camera :)Nice click.

  28. wonderful healthy food!!

  29. congrats harini !! for ur new "baby" u already take great pictures… so don't worry.

    Love the risotto with beans & that 2nd pic. Beautiful & clear. i like that small rajma too.

  30. Risotto looks yummy and healthy..We love and usually make it on sunday..enjoy.

  31. Love this recipe…nice pics

  32. Loved the risotto with brown rice, this one I have to try and soon…congrats on the DSLR…the second picture looks wonderful 🙂

  33. Tasty, healthy and quick – looks very good, Harini! Thanks for sharing it for MLLA8!

    Have fun w/ your new camera. Learn its capabilities (study the manual) and take some time every day to read a little something about basic photography. Your skills will grow with lots of patience and practice.

  34. This is a great one pot meal 🙂

  35. This one sounds really good, Harini. never thought Nirapara would lend itself to risotto. I have to check it out.
    Congrats on the new purchase. My husband has been trying to persuade me to give in to my desire and get an SLR but I can’t bring myself to believe my photography is good enough to justify the expenditure!! 😀

  36. Lovely dish, never tried risotto at home yet…risotto looks great:)

  37. Healthy recipe, pcitures are awesome. Yet rto start browm rice.

  38. 350D? congrats girl… i am so looking forward to some fab shots from u 🙂

  39. looks yummy the risotto…and yes, like they’ve all said, the second snap is super

  40. Kidney beans and rice are my fave combo.

    Congrats on your new camera. What a great birthday gift to get.

  41. First time here. You have a pretty cool Blog. Risotto with Nirapara Rice sounds interesting.

  42. Please trail back for my
    token of gratitude.
    Yep ,back ground setting can get painstaking.I usually manage with colorful chunnis or fancy clothes,but my fav is white,simple and bright.

  43. I agree- you really can’t go wrong with rajma! Thr risotto looks delish. Have fun with your new toy!

  44. I agree brown rice should be eaten hot. Have you tried Brown basmati rice? I have not yet. I think I’ll make this risotta into a pulav using the basmati rice. Also do you know what brown rice is called in Tamil?

    All the best with the new camera. You should look at Bee’s Photo essays and the photography links she has posted.

    Reg. vinegar, I have tried 5 recipes using vinegar alone and liked 3. So I’m going to wait for the feedback from the other bloggers. If everybody feels that it’s not working alone, let’s think about using it in combination with some other egg substitute.

  45. The photos are looking great so far. Have fun with your new camera!

  46. The risotto sounds amazing. Good luck with your camera. We have a lot of tips about photography on BloggerAid which might help you.

  47. Hey Hey…New pinch and same pinch….
    Congrats for the cam,and yeah me too got a canon (SX)gifted by who else…but my ATM machine (ooops sorry i mean respected Hubby dear)Don’t know how much better it will be,but i am still fumbling when trying to use it…too many settings and am seriously getting mad as i feel handicap trying to use diff. modes and settings

    Risotto sounds sooo good,and yeah anything with rajma cant go wrong…so it surely would have tasted yummy

  48. I am a great fan of Rajma,this one is a lil different one.I hv never picked up brown rice,it looks wonderful,think its time to pick it up.U r already an expert in photography,the pics look great Harini!

  49. Thanks all:). As for the photography, I still think I have lots to learn:), and your comments only makes me feel that the goal is closer than I thought! Thanks!

    Madhuram, I asked my Mother too, but the mostly commonly used term seems to be Kerala arisi or Mill pannattu arisi. That is how she knew it!! It seems you get it in all Spencer outlets there. I looked for brown basmati and found it Fab India. The cost was preposterous!! Rs.145/- a kg! Decided to stick to the normal Lal Quila I use:). BTW, I saw a recipe using vinegar. Will try it:)

    Aparna, I wish I had that restraint!

    Alka, thank you:) Good luck! Yes, the settings do make you go mad:)

  50. Thanks SM. My mother wanted to buy it in Chennai and she didn’t know the name and I couldn’t find it in google too. My mother was asking if “kai kuthal arisi” and brown rice were same.

  51. Rissoto is simply picture perfect! Loved it 🙂

  52. This looks yumm and appetizing….I again missed ur event….I posted veg poha spcially for FIC – Yellow….any ways will keep track abt last date next time

  53. Simply Innocence

    Good one to try it with risotto. Looks yummy.

  54. This is a new one for me! Looks really yummy too..gearing up with recipes for the cold winter days
    hopefully ahead!

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