Rajma Masala

August 20, 2013mayurisjikoni

RECIPE: RAJMA MASALA | RED KIDNEY BEAN CURRY

Rajma Masala or simply known as Rajma is a popular North Indian curry dish which is usually enjoyed with rice. Red Kidney Beans, onion, tomato, garlic and spices makes this rajma comfort for so many. Besides rice it is also served with hot roti. But my family loves it with plain rice. Rajma masala is a healthy, filling and protein rich meal with rice or roti.

Evidently, cook Rajma Chawal for my son in law and he is the happiest person on Earth!

MY EXPERIENCE WITH DRIED RAJMA

Don’t know what it is, but whenever I buy dried kidney beans, be it in India or Kenya, they never turn out soft on cooking. Yes, I soak them overnight, have also added a bit of baking soda, cooked them with endless number or pressure cooker whistles till I have turned deaf!

Because of my luck with dried kidney beans, I stopped buying them myself. When in Kenya I usually use the fresh kidney beans whenever in season or ask my house help to buy them for me. Whenever he buys them, they cook well.

Undoubtedly, in India so many recommended Kashmiri Rajma and still failed to cook them to the soft consistency. Basically, if the beans are too old, they do not cook well, even if you soak them in warm water overnight. Then, once I ordered them online from Big Basket and voilà they turned out perfect.

Memories

In fact, I remember I made some rajma for Nami’s friends(mostly from North India) in Bangalore. Usually, I get a lot of oohs and aahs and sooo delicious aunty for all my food preparations. However, rajma is a different story altogether. Actually, I was trying to compete with North Indian mums for whom making rajma is not a big deal.  Got praises for the other dishes but not a sound for rajma. Poor things! So when next time Nami insisted I make rajma, I told her ask your friend’s mum to make them!

And I kept on wondering why she would ask me to make rajma! It doesn’t feature as a common dish in our household. After years got to know why. Actually, it was for her then boyfriend, now my son in law!

As a matter of fact, Nami’s friend’s mum makes yummy rajma and whenever I would ask her how she made them… she would say “arre Mayuri, koi special tarika nahi , stir fry onions,garlic, ginger etc etc etc and there your rajma is ready. Tried explaining to her that my rajma are always hard but she refused to believe that!

PRESENT DAY

  • When in Kenya, I freeze fresh kidney beans when in season and use those for all my recipes that need kidney beans. If I need to use the dry beans then I prefer to buy the Wairimu tiny red beans.
  •  In India, I buy them online only from Big Basket and that too the Kashmiri or Jammu rajma variety.
  • Whenever I make them in Canada, I simply open a can, drain the beans out, wash them in water and use them. I try and buy the small red beans as opposed to the giant ones. No ‘jhanjat’ of them remaining hard. I will have to look for the dried variety. My online Indian store does sell the Jammu variety but are so expensive.

 

SOME RECIPES WHERE I USE RED/BLACK KIDNEY BEANS

MAHARAGE YA NAZI/ KIDNEY BEANS IN COCONUT MILK
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BEAN & CORN QUESADILLA
Quesadillas! Who doesn’t go mad over crispy tortillas stuffed with cheesy goodness? A versatile dish, one can stuff it with meat, seafood or vegetables. Serve it with guacamole, salsa or any dip or sauce of your choice. The possibilities are endless.
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MEXICAN MOLLETE
Mexican Mollete is a traditional open faced sandwich using refried beans, cheese and served with Pico de Gallo. Tasty and filling, its pretty popular as restuarant, cafe and street food.
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GITHERI
Githeri is a one pot traditional Kikuyu dish that is made from beans and white maize (corn). It is a delicious, easy to prepare, protein rich dish which can be enjoyed on its own or with ugali or chapati.
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MEXICAN RICE - VEGETARIAN
Restaurant style, vegetarian Mexican Style Rice, loaded with vegetables. Homemade is million times better as you can add a variety of veggies and its so flavourful.
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BAKED VEGGIE EMPANADAS
Baked Veggie Empanada, made using a wholewheat pastry with a filling of fresh red beans, potato and corn. Serve as a snack or as a meal with a salad and homemade Tomato Salsa.
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Try Out this fusion recipe Mexican Bhel

 

INGREDIENTS REQUIRED FOR RAJMA MASALA

Specifically, I prepare a special rajma spice powder to add to my rajma masala. Ready made ones are available in any Indian Grocery Store but I find they hardly have any flavour.

FOR RAJMA SPICE MIXTURE YOU NEED:

  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Cumin Seeds
  • Cardamom
  • Pepper Corns
  • Star Anise
  • Bay Leaf
  • Ginger Powder
  • Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder
  • Red Chilli Powder
  • Asafoetida – omit if you want to make gluten free rajma masala. Or try and source pure hing which has no wheat flour added to it.

 

FOR THE RAJMA MASALA

  • Red Kidney Beans – soak them overnight in enough warm water. Or use fresh kidney beans or canned ones.
  • Water – normal tap water. Warm water to soak the beans. Also need some to cook the beans.
  • Onion – peeled and finely chopped. Some you need to mince.
  • Garlic – peel and mince.
  • Fresh Ginger – peel and grate, make into a paste or cut into very thin strips.
  • Green Chillis – make a paste
  • Cumin Seeds – jeera, jiru. Easily available in all Indian Grocery Stores or online. I usually source mine from Big Basket in India or Singal’s in Montreal.
  • Carom Seeds – ajwain, ajmo. Easily available in all Indian Grocery Stores or online. I usually source mine from Big Basket in India or Singal’s in Montreal.
  • Turmeric Powder – haldi, hardar. Easily available in all Indian Grocery Stores or online. I usually source mine from Big Basket in India or Singal’s in Montreal.
  • Salt – add according to your taste.
  • Red Chilli Powder – add according to your taste. I don’t usually add as they is enough in the spice mixture. Easily available in all Indian Grocery Stores or online. I usually source mine from Big Basket in India or Singal’s in Montreal.
  • Rajma Masala Spice Powder – I make mine at home. Feel free to buy ready made if you wish.
  • Oil – use any of your choice. I like to use sunflower oil.
  • Ghee – I love adding ghee for the aroma and flavour. You can omit it if you want to make vegan rajma masala.
  • Fresh Cream – optional. Omit for a vegan version. Can add coconut cream instead.
  • Fresh Coriander – cilantro – chopped along with the tender stems.

 

PLEASE NOTE THAT I DO NOT GET PAID BY SINGHAL’S OR BIG BASKET. I MENTIONED BOTH AS THEY ARE MY FAVOURITE ONLINE STORES.

RAJMA MASALA | RED KIDNEY BEAN CURRY

mayurisjikoni
Rajma Masala or simply known as Rajma is a popular North Indian curry dish which is usually enjoyed with rice. Healthy, filling and rich in protein, it is comfort food for so many.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
SOAKING TIME: 8 hrs
Total Time 8 hrs 35 mins
Course Main Meal
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

RAJMA SPICE POWDER:

  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 cardamoms
  • 8 peppercorns
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp dry ginger powder
  • 1 tsp kashmiri red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder hot
  • tsp asafoetida

FOR RAJMA MASALA:

  • cups red kidney beans
  • 4 to 5 cups of water
  • 2 to 3 big onions to get 1½ cups finely chopped onions and ½ cup for mincing
  • 1 cup tomato puree fresh
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp carom seeds
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1-1½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp green chilli paste
  • 1 inch ginger peeled and cut into thin strips or 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 3 tbsp fresh cream optional
  • 3 tbsp fresh coriander chopped

Instructions
 

PREPARATION OF RAJMA MASALA SPICE POWDER:

  • Heat a small pan over low heat.
  • Add the peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, bay leaf and anise star. Roast it while stirring constantly for 2 minutes.
  • Add cumin seeds and roast further for 2-3 minutes or till the seeds turn brownish.
  • Remove the spices into a plate and allow them to cool down completely.
  • Process the spices in a coffee mill or pound it with a pestle and mortar.
  • Add asafoetida, ginger powder and red chilli powder to the mixture and mix well.

PREPARATION OF RAJMA MASALA:

  • Soak the beans overnight in warm water.
  • Next day drain out the stale water, wash the beans and put them in a pressure cooker with about 3 cups of water (from the measured amount) or till the beans are covered with water.
  • Add turmeric powder and cook the beans for 3 to 4 whistles or till done.
  • Chop the onions finely to get 1½ cups of it. Mince the remaining half cup.
  • Heat oil and ghee in a big pan over medium heat.
  • Add cumin and carom seeds. As soon as it turns light brown, add the chopped onions.
  • Stir fry the onions till they are soft and appear pink in colour.
  • Add the minced onion, ginger strips, garlic and chilli paste. Stir fry till it becomes light brown and the oil begins to separate from the mixture.
  • Add the spice powder and stir fry for a minute.
  • Add ½ cup water and mix thoroughly.
  • Add the tomato puree, salt and mix well. Cover the pan and let the tomato mixture cook over low heat for 5 minutes.
  • Mash about ½ cup beans or lightly mash the whole mixture.
  • Add the beans to the tomato mixture. Add the remaining water.
  • Mix well and let the rajma simmer over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes. Remember to stir it occasionally so it does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Just before serving add the chopped coriander and fresh cream.
  • Serve with hot parathas, rotis or rice.

Notes

  • You may need about 2 cans of beans if you are not using the dry ones.
  • The consistency of the rajma curry base will depend on how you like it. Mine was not watery as we prefer it thick. Add more water for a lighter curry.
  • If you want to do an extra tempering (vaghar) for the top then heat some ghee in a small pan. Add red chilli powder and immediately pour it over the rajma masala. Do not stir.Serve.
  • Adjust the amount of spices according to your taste.
  • For those living in Kenya, I use the wairimu variety of red beans. In India, I prefer the Jammu/Kashmir Rajma.
  • Use ready rajma masala (spices) if available in your area. 
Keyword how to make rajma, rajma masala, red kidney bean curry

PIN FOR LATER:

A LITTLE REQUEST:

If you do try this recipe then please either

  • add a comment below,
  • send a picture to my email mayuri.ajay.patel62@gmail.com
  • tag me as #mayuri_jikoni on Instagram
  • or tag me on Twitter as #Mayuri1962

 

 

 

13 Comments

  • Jay

    August 20, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    nice presentation…
    Tasty Appetite

  • linsy patel

    August 21, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    yummy rajma. perfect with rice.

  • Arthy shama

    August 24, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    Wow, rajma masala looks too yummy! And the spice combo used here is also too unique, thanks for linking by 🙂

  • Shobha Keshwani

    May 24, 2022 at 6:17 pm

    5 stars
    Rajma is our family favourite. It is really so delicious with rice. My hubby could eat this meal any day any time.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      May 25, 2022 at 9:00 pm

      Thanks Shobha, guess your husband is like my son in law. He can eat rajma chawal every day.

  • Seema Sriram

    May 24, 2022 at 6:49 pm

    5 stars
    The rajma masala thali looks so yummy. Rice and rajma is always my favorite combo, this thali tallies it all together.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      May 25, 2022 at 8:59 pm

      Thank you so much Seema.

  • Priya Vj

    May 25, 2022 at 9:18 am

    5 stars
    Rajma chawal is an eternal favorite and i love to have it hot hot with some papad as an accompaniment . I prefer the jammu or kashmiri variety as they cook perfectly.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      May 25, 2022 at 8:56 pm

      Thank you Priya, we too love it and that too hot.

  • Jayashree T.Rao

    May 26, 2022 at 3:22 am

    5 stars
    I have been planning to buy the Kashmir rajma and will soon order it. I have never seen the fresh ones here. The rajma masala looks flavoursome. I love it only with rotis but my son loves rajma chawal anytime.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      May 26, 2022 at 9:44 pm

      Jayashree, try the Kashmiri/Jammu type. They are smaller and if not old, will cook very well. In Kenya we get fresh ones in season. Kidney Beans is a staple in Kenya.

  • Kalyani

    May 28, 2022 at 1:23 am

    5 stars
    Nothing can beat rajma masala with the fresh homemade spice powder. the pics are just popping on the screen . very inviting!

    1. mayurisjikoni

      May 28, 2022 at 12:11 pm

      Thank you so much Kalyani.

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