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Rajma, Red Kidney beans curry

Rajma, Red kidney beans slow cooked in onion-tomato gravy with spices, its a comfort food for winter! Highly nutritious and best to make in large quantity.

If you are in India or you can get hold of Kidney beans grown in Jammu & Kashmir, don’t think twice. Just grab them. The best Rajma/kidney beans are said to be grown there and these beans are smaller, darker in color and packed with flavor. Thank you Anil Uncleji, (Appa’s friend) who passed on the knowledge about J&K’s Rajma/Kidney beans.

Great with simple Pulao, jeera rice or steamed rice.

Ingredients you will need:

1 1/2 cups dry Kidney beans
5 cups water
1 tsp Salt

2 tbsp oil
1 tsp Jeera/cumin seeds
2 bay leaves
1″ cinnamon stick
1 Large/2 small onions, finely chopped
1 tbsp finely chopped garlic

1 Large tomato, finely chopped
2 tsp tomato purée
Turmeric powder
Chili powder
Coriander powder

Garam Masala
1 tbsp grated Ginger
Salt -to taste

Optional Ingredients:
Dry Methi leaves (kasoori methi)
Dry Mint leaves


Soak kidney beans/rajma preferably over night or at least for 2 hours in hot water. Pressure cook rajma/kidney beans with five cups of water and salt. Cook them for 6-7 whistles. The beans should be fully cooked and soft. The best cooked rajma/beans must be soft and have a crack but at the same time keep their shape.

For the Masala: Heat oil in a deep pan. Add Jeera/cumin, cinnamon and bay leaves.

Add finely chopped garlic and onion, Sprinkle little salt and sauté till the onions turns soft.

Add chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, mix well and continue to cook. Add a tbsp or two of water in which rajma/kidney beans cooked. (The tomato purée gives nice texture and balances the tart taste from fresh tomatoes)

As the tomatoes being to become mushy, add turmeric, red chili and coriander powder and cook till the oil leaves the onion-tomato masala.

Add garam masala, grated ginger and cooked rajma/kidney beans. Mix gently till the masala coats the beans well and add the remaining liquid in which rajma/kidney beans cooked and mix. (I prefer to adding grated ginger this time during cooking for fresh taste of ginger than fully cooked ginger)

Adjust salt and add optional ingredients like dry methi leaves (kasoori methi), crushed dry mint or finely chopped fresh mint and butter. These extra ingredients give a rich texture and taste to the gravy.

Lower the heat and simmer for about fifteen to twenty minutes, mixing it occasionally to prevent burning at the bottom.

Serve hot with steamed rice, jeera rice or Peas pulao.

Happy Cooking


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December 2017
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