Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Rajma II (Traditional Red Kidney Beans)

Rajma II
 Rajma II or Red Kidney Beans is a very traditional Punjabi stew - sans all the veggies I typically like to add :D. It is really quite simple to make and a real winner! Slow simmered and saucy, it is usually served over rice - "rajma-chaval"  is a famous combo - but is equally delicious with other grains or roti and other Indian breads like naan. Just as I do with the other rajma, I often like to serve this one also on its own with a side of salad or raita.


For more information on bean facts and preparation, read this post. Beans of all kinds freeze beautifully; so I always cook a double or triple batch so that one or two portions can be added to other dishes and/or frozen for another day. Canned beans and tomatoes may be used to make Rajma.

4 servings


1 cup Red Kidney Beans (rajma)
1-2 Dry Red chiles
1 Bay Leaf
1 Black Cardamom, crushed slightly
1 thin slice fresh Ginger
1 Tbsp Oil (Optional)
1 Red Onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp fresh Ginger, minced
1-2 fat cloves Garlic, minced (optional)
1 Hot Green Chile, cored and minced
1/2 tsp Turmeric
2 tsp Paprika
1/4 - 1/2 tsp ground Red Pepper (cayenne)
2 large Ripe Tomatoes, peeled & chopped
1 tsp Sea Salt

1/2 tsp Garam Masala
Chopped Fresh Cilantro, for garnish


Soak the beans overnight, drain, rinse and cook in fresh water to cover with the whole chiles, bay leaf, cardamom, and ginger slice until soft but not mushy either in a large pot or using a pressure cooker. When cool, fish out the spices and discard.

Prepare tomatoes: dip tomatoes in boiling water for a minute or two; remove and cool. When cool enough to handle, peels come off quite easily. Discard peels, chop or puree the tomatoes.

Heat the oil if using; cook the onions, with a pinch of salt until soft and beginning to turn golden. If oil is not used, sprinkle with a litter water as needed to keep the onions moist.

Stir in the ginger, garlic, chile and cook for a minute; add the spices and cook for another minute.

Add the tomatoes and cook until they are soft and saucy.

Stir in the beans with their cooking liquid and salt to taste; simmer gently on low heat for about 20 to 30 minutes stirring occasionally to make sure they do not burn.

Sprinkle the Garam Masala, stir, cover, and let rest for a few minutes.

Serve hot garnished with cilantro and with plain rice, pulav, rotis and a salad or raita. Enjoy!!

Rajam II

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