Monday, April 23, 2012

Creamy Rajma(Kidney beans) Masala sans cream

Like any other vegetarian kitchen, my source of protein comes from legumes - all sorts of dal, pulses, beans etc. Although my South Indian recipes mainly use Toor or Moong dal, I replace Toor with Masoor dal sometimes. Any meal is incomplete with some form of lentil in it.

Rajma or red kidney beans gravy is a very popular side dish in Northern India, the beans inherently are creamy and lend a rich taste cooked in tomato gravy. I prepare my Rajma masala in a very simple manner. Once when I had made a potfull of Rajma masala for a potluck lunch at work, a collegue from the North commented 'Kya yaar, daawat vali Rajma bana diya' meaning 'you made a Rajma fit for festive occasions'. Coming from J, who was used to eating Dal-chawal (Rajma-Rice) on a frequent basis, I consider that a certificate of accomplishment :-) and hence have stuck to my simple recipe.

You can use canned kidney beans for this recipe by all means to save on time but I prefer my old fashioned way of soaking the dry beans over night and cooking them in pressure cooker. My brother would wince at this but it is my way of controlling the sodium and other preservatives that are part of the canned mode. Although, Rajma-rice are synonymous, the gravy goes very well with any kind of roti (tawa roasted) or naan (Indian bread made in the oven).
What do you need to make Rajma masala? 
2 cups of dry Rajma beans (or use 2 can of kidney beans)
1/2 medium sized onion - chopped fine
1 Tsp garam masala powder
1/2 Tsp amchoor (dry mango powder)
1 Tsp red chili powder
1 Tblsp salt (adjust to taste)
1 Tsp cumin seeds
2 Tsp cooking oil
1 cup milk (I used 2%) - there is no cream involved in this recipe
2 Tblsp chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

For masala paste: 
2 medium sized ripe tomatoes
1/4 of a medium sized onion
1 inch piece ginger
3-4 black pepper corns
1 inch piece cinnamon stick
1 black cardamom (badi elaichi)
1 small piece of Tej patta or pulav leaf
2 dry red chilies broken into pieces

How do you make Rajma masala?
  • Cut tomatoes in quarters, put them in a pan along with the 1/4 onion and blanch them until tomatoes peel. See notes for blanching instructions
  • Dry roast the remaining ingredients except for ginger under masala paste until a nice aroma fills your kitchen (3-4 minutes on medium heat), switch off and let it cool. 
  • If using dry beans, soak them in 4 times water overnight, rinse and drain in the morning. Bring them to your pressure cooker with 4 cups of water and cook until very tender. 
  • If using canned kidney beans, drain the juice, wash thoroughly in atleast 2 changes of water and keep ready. 
  • Peel off the skin from tomatoes, take all the masala ingredients to your blender/mixer, add 2 spoons of the cooked Rajma beans and grind it to a smooth paste. 
  • Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan, add cumin seeds, when it toasts add chopped onions and let cook until it turns soft and pink.
  • Mix in cooked beans, ground masala paste, salt, dry powders and let it all come to a boil. Taste and adjust dry 
  • Add milk and continue to boil for 5 minutes. 
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve it with rice or roti. 
  • Blanching: I put the tomatoes and onion in a microwave safe bowl, cover it with water and microwave on high for 4-5 minutes. You can get the same results by immersing tomatoes and onions in boiling water and stove top, boil for 2 minutes and switch off. 
  • Rajma should be cooked very tender to get the creamy consistency, just stop short of it being mushy. Use pressure cooker for best results and save on time.
  • Add garlic to the masala if you like garlic flavor. 
  • Use just the prescribed quantity of Tej patta and black cardamom as they tend to overpower other ingredients. 



Looks indeed creamy, love it a lot with rice! :)

NamsVeni Pothas said...

real a Daawat vaali menu perfect for a lunch.
thanks for the nice dish.

Akila said...

Wow so nice.. Rich n delicious... When u get free time, do visit my place....

Chitra said...

I have seen very few gravies with rajma. This one is also bookmarked .. looks yummy. Must be gr8 with rotis :)

Nagashree said...

Thanks all for your comments, really appreciate you stopping by and taking time to comment.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this recipe.. Turned out wonderfully well :)

Tanisha Singh said...

Love your step by step pictorials! Awesome job :)restaurant in satya niketan delhi