Anamika Arun from Taste Junction is one of my foodie friend I met through blogging world. How happy I was when she agreed to be my guest writer for Guest Post series this month. She cooked traditional dish from her homeland, India. It makes her recipe as my second Indian cuisine that has been featured on my blog. Thank you for doing this and make it happen, Anamika. Now, please give big and warm applause for Anamika with her Rajma Masala.
Thanks to blogging, I've been fortunate enough to interact and know bloggers from different spheres, cultures and geographies of the world. And one such lovely blogger I'm so glad to know is Tika. Can't recollect exactly how our paths crossed in the online world, but I can say for sure that her amazingly captured food shots were definitely the starting point for it all. Her desire to learn, improvise and master food photography has been inspiring and one can see the results in her blog journey itself.
So when she asked me to do a guest post for her blog, the reply was nothing else than an assured confirmation. The post became even more exciting when she asked to share something traditional from my region, which is North India. This opened a great range of dishes for me to share, but since this post would be shared with people from regions of the world, I wanted to keep it simple as well. And at the same time I knew I wanted to share a popular recipe than a dish from the times of regal age, which rarely enters our modern kitchen. So keeping up to the spirit of my blog's essence – modern Indian kitchen, I chose the quintessential north Indian dish/curry – Rajma Masala.
Rajma or kidney beans are used world over in varied ways – in salads, wraps, casseroles, etc; but the flavour of cooking it as curry with onion and tomatoes is very very Indian. Add to this the fact that this “rajma and rice” combination is enjoyed by people of all walks of life in north India and is available at every dhaba (street restaurant) to high class restaurants, makes it a dish that you can never ignore. So lets learn this simple and flavourful curry, to enjoy for lunch or dinner.
Authentically rajma should not be overly spiced or layered, but the flavour of the rajma should stand out. You would be surprised to know that on many occasions we cook it without onion, ginger-garlic and whole spices. Just remember that tomatoes and red chilly powder are its key ingredients. But in this popular version we have made it little deeper in texture and taste with the addition of few spices. Also I personally prefer to use the smaller ones or “pahari rajma” (From the hills of Jammu & Kashmir). But you can use any variety, even the canned ones to ease on the preparation, though that would lead to a slight difference in taste.
1 1/2 cup Rajma/ Red kidney beans (Soaked overnight)
2 tbsp oil + 2 tsp ghee
Whole spices - 1 bay leaf, 2-3 black peppercorns, 2 green cardamom, 1 black cardamom
1 tsp cumin
1 onion – finely chopped or grated
1-2 green chillies – slit lengthwise
1/2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste (optional)
2 large tomatoes – chopped
Salt To taste
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp Corainder powder
1/4 tsp Red chilli powder (or as per taste)
1/2 tsp Garam masala
Pinch of sugar
Chopped coriander leaves for garnish
- Soak rajma overnight. Wash and pressure cook with about 3 cups of water for 5-6 whistles or cook in a saucepan till it softens. Keep aside with the water in which you cooked it.
- Heat oil and ghee in a pan. Add sabut masala (whole spices) and cumin seeds. Let the cumin sizzle. Then add the chopped onion and green chillies. Fry till it turns pink. Now add the ginger-garlic paste (if using) and a pinch of salt. Fry the mixture for another 2-3 mins, till they turn brown.
- Now add the chopped tomatoes and spices (except garam masala) with a pinch of sugar. Cook the mixture till the rawness of the spices goes away and little oil starts oozing from the sides of the mixture. (This is an indication that the spice blend is well cooked)
- Add the boiled rajma with the water and salt. Simmer the flame and cook for another 5-10 mins till rajma absorbs the flavour of the spices. Also with the help of back of the ladle mash few beans to thicken the gravy. Adjust the consistency of the gravy by adding more hot water, if needed. Ideally it should be medium-thick.
- Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with chapatis or rice.
- Though all varieties of kidney beans taste great, I personally prefer t use Some people also like to use 1-2 tbsp of yogurt to the gravy to get a different taste.
- This is one of those curries, which deepens in flavour after some time. So don’t hesitate to cook it little in advance and let it become even more tasty.