If you ask a North Indian about their perfect comfortable lunch, they will most likely reply with one word -Rajma. For the uninitiated, rajma refers to red kidney beans. It’s one of those times when the name of the ingredient is synonymous with the dish itself. It is a popular North Indian Vegetarian dish made with red kidney beans in a thick gravy made with whole Indian spices. It is usually served with a side of rice, and Indian flatbread like roti or poori. This nutritious delicacy is sure to keep you content, in your stomach, and in your taste buds.
What is Rajma Curry?
Rajma is prepared by soaking red kidney beans in water overnight before they get boiled in a pressure cooker. The boiled beans are added to a curry which is generally cooked beforehand which creates the final dish. Red kidney beans are an excellent source of Vitamin B6, Folic acid, dietary fibers, and protein. They are very nutritious. However, kidney beans are harder to digest than other beans. This is why they are usually boiled and traditionally cooked with seasoning that helps break them down.
Notable Ingredients at a Glance
Rajma – There are numerous varieties of rajma available at Indian grocery stores. They come in a variety of sizes and colors. You can use whatever type you can find. Keep in mind that the time it takes to boil rajma will vary depending on which one you use.
I personally prefer rajma which is dark in hue. They retain their shape after cooking and absorb flavors well.
Onion – Use 1 medium-sized onion that is roughly chopped. No need to make the pieces indistinguishably small as we are going to blend them anyway.
Tomato – In Indian cookery, tomatoes are a must. Use tomatoes that are not overly ripe. Roughly chop or dice the tomatoes for this recipe.
Ginger-Garlic paste – Use fresh ginger and garlic paste, either grated with a Microplane zester or crushed in a damp jar of my spice grinder. However, you can substitute ready-made or homemade ginger garlic paste.
Cinnamon stick – A 1-inch stick will be enough for the curry. You can substitute with cinnamon powder in a pinch even though a whole cinnamon stick is a way to go.
Spices – All of the spices used in this recipe are common in Indian cookery.
Garam masala powder – When making Punjabi rajma, I always use garam masala. However, if you have prepared rajma masala powder, you can substitute garam masala with it.
Dry mango powder – This is a special tangy powder made from dried mangoes. You can skip it if you cannot find it in your area. Citric acid could be a close standardized substitute to add the tartness that amchur powder brings.
Ghee – Instead of oil I have used ghee in this recipe. Use oil if you are vegan.
How to prepare Rajma Curry?
We will start the night before the dish is actually prepared. Soak the Rajma in three cups of water overnight.
After at least 8 hours or overnight, throw away the water and wash the beans under running water in a colander.
Now we will cook them in a pressure cooker. Add a glass of water to the beans and 1 teaspoon of salt. Close the pressure cooker and wait for the first whistle. After the first whistle, cook on low flame for 15 minutes. Once cooked, keep aside till it releases its pressure.
Meanwhile, in a blender, add the onions, tomatoes, garlic, and ginger, And blend them into a fine paste.
In a pan, heat the oil and add your cinnamon stick. Once the oil is fragrant and shimmering, add your onion-tomato paste and saute it for 2 minutes.
To this, we will add coriander powder, chili powder, and garam masala. Fry the masala on low heat until the oil starts separating out. The pressure cooker must have released its pressure by now. Open the cooker and add the masala into the cooker and give it a good mix.
Adjust the salt and water consistency to taste. Close the pressure cooker and cook until it whistles once. Lower the flame and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
Finishing off, turn off the gas and once the pressure releases, open the cooker and add your amchur powder and garnish with freshly chopped coriander.
Some expert tips for preparing Rajma Curry
- For vegans, you can omit the ghee. This dish is already a vegetarian’s delight.
- The proportions serve 4 people and it takes around 30 minutes to cook.
- Serve hot with a side of rice or Indian flatbread.
Rajma Curry (Red Kidney Beans Curry) is a popular North Indian dish that I love. There are many ways of making this and this is how I make it
- 1 cup Rajma
- 1 inch Cinnamon stick
- 1 medium size Onion – roughly chopped
- 4 medium size Tomato – roughly chopped
- 1 inch Ginger
- 4 to 5 pods Garlic
- 1 tsp Coriander/Dhania powder
- 1 tsp Red chili powder
- 1 tsp Garam masala
- 1 1/2 tsp Salt (1tsp while boiling the rajma and the rest while cooking)
- 1 tsp Amchur powder/Dry mango powder
- ½ cup Fresh coriander
- 1 tbsp Oil
- 1 tbsp Ghee
- 6 cups Water (3 cups for soaking the rajma and 3 cups for cooking)
- Soak the rajma/kidney beans in 3 cups of water overnight.
- After 8 hours throw away the water and wash it under running water in a strainer.
- Now put them in a pressure cooker and add a glass of water and 1tsp salt.
- After one whistle lower the flame and let it cook on low for about 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes turn off the gas and keep it aside till it releases its pressure.
- In a mixer grinder put onion, tomatoes, garlic and ginger. Grind them all into a fine paste.
- Heat oil and add the cinnamon stick. Now add the onion-tomato paste and fry for 2 minutes.
- Next add coriander powder, chili powder and garam masala. Fry the masala on low heat till the oil starts separating.
- The pressure cooker must have released its pressure by now, open the cooker and add the masala to the rajma and give it a good mix.
- Adjust the salt and water consistency. Close the pressure cooker and cook for one whistle.
- Lower the flame and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Turn off the gas and once the pressure releases, open the cooker and add amchur powder, ghee and garnish with chopped fresh coriander.
Keywords: rajma curry red kidney beans