Recipe for Rajma Chawal


The Rajma recipe is a mildly spiced,smooth, rich and tasty Punjabi curry made with kidney beans, tomatoes, onions, and flavourings. 

What is Rajma?

Rajma is the Hindi term for kidney beans. Nevertheless, this delightful vegetarian curry is so famous that the recipe has grown synonymous with the bean. Both the beans and this dish that highlights them are known as Rajma.

Another name for this mouthwatering and comforting meal is Rajma Masala, which translates to red kidney beans in flavoured gravy. Whatever you name the dish, you will surely love these delicious rajma beans and the yummy spiced curry that accompanies them.

Why Does This Recipe Work?

This rajma recipe follows the popularity of making rajma curry. So long as you understand and follow the recipe, there’s no chance anything will go wrong with this easy and delicious dish.

In this simple recipe, the kidney beans are boiled first and are later added to a cooked base of spices, onions and tomatoes. Dried rajma beans work very well because they are both more affordable than bottled and allow you to cook and spice them to your liking.

Furthermore, We recommend using farm-fresh components for healthy living. 

How to Prepare Rajma Recipe?

This detailed step-to-step method will help you in making the most delicious rajma recipe ever. While we recommend you to cook the kidney beans in a pressure cooker, they can also be quickly cooked in a frying pan or an Instant pot. 

Soaking & Cooking rajma beans

  • Sort dried beans and discard any distorted or faded beans. Rinse a few times, and then soak 1 cup rajma or kidney beans in enough water to dip them. Soaking should ideally last overnight.
  • Once the beans are well soaked, drain the soaking water. Remove and rinse the soaked beans a few times to eliminate any leftover grit.
  • Continue to add the washed and drained kidney beans to a 3-litre cooker.
  • Add 3 to 4 cups of fresh water and stir occasionally. Pressure cook the rajma beans for about 20 toots. The cooking period of your beans will differ depending on their condition and age.
  • While the kidney beans are simmering, dice 1 large onion, 2 big tomatoes and prepare the crushed ginger+garlic+green chilli paste.
  • For the paste, you need to pound or grind 5 to 6 small garlic cloves, 1-inch ginger, and a few green chillies into a paste in a small grinder.
  • When the pressure sinks down on its own in the cooker, crack the lid. Inspect if the rajma is cooked or not by eating but pressing a bean between your fingers. 
  • The rajma beans should be fully cooked. If they are not cooked completely then, you will have to pressure cook them again for a few more minutes. Add extra water if required.

Making the Rajma masala

  • Heat 3 tablespoons of butter or 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil in another pan or Kadai. Keep the flame on a low or medium-low.
  • Add ½ teaspoon jeera or cumin seeds first, and let them splatter and get toasted.
  • Then add the evenly sliced onions.
  • Stir and start to sauté them on medium-low to medium flame.
  • Repeatedly mix the onions while sautéing them. This process is to make sure both uniform cooking and also that they don’t get overcooked. Take care not to overcook the onions, as this will allow bitter tones to evaporate from the rajma curry.
  • Golden browning of the onions is also acceptable.
  • Fry the onions until they are caramelized and light brown.
  • Lower the flame and add the mixture of ginger-garlic-chilli paste.
  • Mix and sauté for 10 seconds on low flame or until the raw odour of ginger-garlic is gone.
  • Add the evenly diced tomatoes.
  • Stir well.
  • Sauté for a couple of minutes until the tomatoes become soft on medium flame.
  • Add all the spices one by one, 1 teaspoon coriander powder, ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder, a pinch of asafoetida (hing), ½ teaspoon red chilli powder and ½ teaspoon garam masala.
  • Mix repeatedly very well.
  • Proceed to fry the whole masala base till the fat starts gathering at the sides of the masala on medium-low flame. The onion tomato masala will thicken, become glossy, bright and start thumping around itself.
  • Use a slotted spoon or a sieve, drain the rajma beans from their cooking liquid and add them to the curry.
  • Mix and cook them for a minute.

Making Rajma Masala

  • Add 2 cups of clean water to the frying pan. If you wish, then you can also combine the boiled rajma stock instead of water.
  • Taste and mix in the salt as needed.
  • Mix the whole rajma curry gravy.
  • On low to medium-low flame, cook without a lid for 12 to 15 minutes or more until the curry thickens a little. The rajma curry must not be thin.
  • Crush a few rajma beans with the end of your spoon. This benefits the rajma curry.
  • Proceed to simmer continuously till you get a medium consistency in the gravy.
  • Continue mixing at intervals when the rajma masala is cooking.
  • The Punjabi rajma masala has to be set, the curry has to be of the proper consistency, which is not too thick or thin.
  • Once the gravy has thickened, add a teaspoon of crushed and dried Kasuri methi or also known as dry fenugreek leaves and 2 to 3 tablespoons light or low-fat cream. Stir very well and cook for about a minute.
  • Adding cream is your choice; you can easily skip it. The addition of cream gives elegance to the gravy giving it the taste of a restaurant-style dish; and balances the zing from the tomatoes.
  • Turn the heat off.
  • Serve your now done rajma masala with steamed basmati rice, saffron rice, jeera rice, roti, paratha or naan. The combination of rajma and rice or rajma chawal is quite remarkable in the Northern part of India. You can garnish with some cilantro or coriander leaves for some fresh flavour and richness when serving.

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