When I think about Indian comfort food, Rajma Chawal tops my list every time. I am not the kind of person who loves to eat Indian food everyday, but eating different cuisines and combinations each day, Rajma Chawal provides that brief hiatus where I go back to my roots, simple home style food where the magic of spices is unparalleled.
As a child mum used to make different versions of Rajma – sometimes without onion garlic, sometimes with a bit of cream and sometimes with potatoes in it. I enjoyed all these different varieties, but my favorite was the one which my friend used to get in her lunch. I remember gobbling down her entire lunch in school on days she got Rajma. I often tried to replicate her recipe, but failed each time. I think that it is the world’s best Rajma chawal and my friend refuses to share the recipe.
Each bite of this curry unveils the perfect blend of Indian spices. The melt in your mouth rajma (kidney beans) along with a flavorful onion-tomato gravy instantly can win anyone’s heart. Pair it with basic steamed rice, pickled onions and papad – quick and easy meals are sorted!
INGREDIENTS: (For 2 – 3 people)
- 3/4 cup uncooked rajma (kidney beans), soaked overnight
- 1 cup onion, roughly chopped
- 3 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 4 – 5 -cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 green chili, cut lengthwise
- 1 – 2 bay leaf
- 4 – 5 curry leaves (optional)
- 1 inch ginger, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp ghee
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 3/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 2 tsp rajma masala powder
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp kasuri methi (optional)
- salt, to taste
- pinch of baking soda (optional)
- 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped for garnishing
- lemon wedges, to serve
- Drain the water from the overnight soaked kidney beans and transfer the beans to a pressure cooker. Add 3 1/2 cups of water, bit of salt and baking soda in the pressure cooker and close the lid. Allow the kidney beans to cook on medium flame for atleast 4 – 5 whistles. (You can let it cook for more whistles until the beans is tender and cooked).
- Once the whistles are done, allow the steam to escape on its own. Take the rajma out and drain the liquid. Do not throw it away since we will use it later.
- Meanwhile take the chopped onions, chopped tomatoes, garlic cloves and ginger and make a fine paste using a mixer grinder.
- Put a sauce pan on medium flame. Add ghee. Once hot add the cumin seeds and allow it to crackle. Add the green chili, curry leaves and bay leaf and saute for 10 – 15 seconds.
- Now add the tomato- onion paste and cook it on low flame. After a minute or so add salt, turmeric powder, coriander powder, red chili powder, half of rajma masala and let the mixture cook until all the moisture is evaporated. This will take about 8 – 10 minutes.
- Once cooked add the cooked kidney beans along with the remaining rajma masala and give it a quick stir.
- Add the rajma stock (and more water if you like it watery), cover it with a lid and bring the curry to boil.
- Add kasuri methi and adjust for salt and spice levels and let it cook for another minute or so.
- Now garnish with coriander leaves and serve with rice.