Rajma Chawal is a combination ‘to-die-for’…the best Rajma (Kidney Beans) and Chawal (Rice) can be had at any of the dhabbas alongside the highways all over North India. That is where the truck drivers eat and trust me…it taste divine. My love affair with this typical Punjabi Rajma Curry had started when I had the chance to visit the holy Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in kashmir some years back. I must admit the rajma served in jammu kashmir region of India are also very delicious and famous. If you get a chance to go to Jammu , then don’t forget to order rajma chawal there.
Rajma Chawal is never a regular item at my place and it is made occasionally. But after I tasted it in Jammu, I went through the basic knowledge about Kashmiri cooking. The basic difference between the two primary schools of Kashmiri cooking , Kashmiri “Pandit” and “Muslim” , is that the Pandit’s used “hing (asafetida) and curd (yogurt)” while the Muslims used “onions and garlic”. You might be surprised to know that originally, onions and garlic were never used in Kashmiri cooking and its only now that it has been adapted into mainstream cooking as people have acquired a taste for them.
Kidney beans are a variety of the common bean native to Central America and Mexico. This common bean is an important food crop, and a major source of protein throughout the world. Used in a variety of traditional dishes, kidney beans are usually eaten well cooked.
Even if I plan to include this in my Menu Even if I plan to include this in my Menu regularly, the time constraint of being a working Professional always pushes me into shifting it. So I decided to include it in my dinner menu but with a slight twist.For those of you who have never made Red Kidney Beans or Rajma before, this recipe will pleasantly surprise you and give you everything that you look for in an Indian curry with tangy, mildly spicy and comforting flavours. And for those of you who have been cooking rajma, this recipe will prove to be a nice variation for a change.
For the Gravy:
- Soak the Kidney Beans overnight. Wash and Pressure cook with salt on medium heat till the cooker blows the whistle. Lower the heat and cook for minimum 10 to 15 minutes.Turn off the heat and let it cool.
- Once cool, drain the water in a separate pan and keep the water which will be later used for making the gravy.
- In a blender put the boiled kidney Beans and blend till semi smooth.Add the finely chopped spring onions , fresh coriander leaves, roasted cumin powder,roasted coriander seeds, garlic cloves, red chilli powder, a pich of baking soda, lemon juice, black pepper powder and salt . Mix everything well. Make small balls out of it and keep aside.
- Roll these Dumplings over the all purpose flour and keep aside.
- Heat oil in pan and fry these dumplings on slow flame till golden brown. Drain and keep on absorbent paper to soak the excess oil.
- Boil 6 to 7 medium Tomatoes till it becomes soft. Let it cool and then remove the skin of the tomatoes and grind to a smooth puree.
- To make the gravy, heat the oil in a heavy based pot and add the onions. Fry over a medium high heat, until the onions are soft and start going golden around the edges, 7 to 8 minutes.
- Add the ginger garlic paste and fry together until fragrant, another minute.
- Add the tomato puree, Season with a little salt. Turn down the heat and cook, stirring every so often until the masala starts reducing, comes together in a sticky mass and the oil starts separating from it, 7 to 10 minutes.
- Now add the coriander powder, cumin powder,turmeric powder and chilli powder. cook for a minute or so. Add the drained kidney bean water and bring to a boil. Donot put more water, just enough for gravy. Add a little more hot water if the gravy is too thick.
- Stir in the garam masala and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper if needed.
- Before serving place the Kidney Beans dumplings in the gravy and sprinkle kasooori methi over it.
- Top with a tsp of fresh cream just before serving.
Serve immediately with Naan* or Phulka or Roti or plain chawal.
*Naan is definitely the most popular bread in Indian restaurants. Traditionally, naan is cooked in a tandoor (hot clay oven). But you can still make naan at home using “tawa ” or cast iron Griddle available at home. Tawa Naan turns out really soft and it tastes great. It’s hassle free because you don’t need a tandoor or oven.
seeds or kalonjee
- For garnishing mix butter, salt, coriander seeds , green chili and set aside.
- Mix the dry ingredients together, add 1 tablespoon of oil and yogurt mix it well. Then add the water gradually to make very soft dough but not sticky. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface, knead the dough well. Apply light oil to the dough and cover. Let the dough sit for about 3 hours in warm place.
- After 3 hour knead the dough again on floured surface. Divide the dough in four parts, lightly roll into the flour, cover the balls and let it sit for about five minutes before rolling.
- Roll the naan one at a time on a lightly floured surface little less than 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle the water lightly on one side of the naan.
- sprinkle onion seeds and sesame seeds on it and roll in oblong shape or round whichever is preferable to you.
- Heat the tawa on medium heat, to check if tawa is ready sprinkle the few drops of water on tawa, water should sizzle.
- Put water side naan over tawa, once the naan start bubbling and dough start drying, turn the tawa over flames keeping about 2 inch away from the flames to cook the naan from top.
- Once naan browned to your satisfaction, remove, and spread the butter mix over it. Place in a on a plate and cover with a cloth to keep warm until serving.
- Recipe Notes
- You can use fresh tomato puree for this recipe, if you prefer. Blanch and peel two large, ripe tomatoes and discard the seeds. Blend to a fine puree and use as directed.
- I prefer a smooth gravy, so I have blended the onion-tomato-spice mixture to a fine paste and return to the pot before adding the water.
I suggest to cook the kidney beans fully so that they become soft and easy to digest. remember, well cooked kidney beans are easy to digest. another important point which I must mention about making this recipe is to soak the kidney beans overnight so that they take less time to cook in the pressure cooker. The naan will stick to tawa and will not fall of, but if it comes out its perfectly all right, with the use of a tongue hold it on direct flame till the side becomes brown.