Rajma Masala (Kidney Bean Curry)

rajma masala

Updated 7/7/14: I updated this recipe using 1 cup of dried beans or 2 cans rinsed. Also, I added a new picture!

Think Indian version of American chili. Kidney beans, onions & tomatoes, Indian spices…served with boondi raita (yogurt with little tiny fried balls), lightly pickled onions, roti, rice, and papad. Rajma masala is such a satisfying dish. Back when Tejas and I were just dating, it was my favorite thing for him to make. I just thought about American chili which is often paired with cornbread and thought, I wonder if there is an Indian bread made of corn. So I looked it up and there is! Makki roti. I’ll have to try that sometime soon. I think it would be great with this, but from the recipes I am seeing, it is usually paired with saag (spinach dish) or sarson da saag (mustard green dish). Something else to try ūüôā UPDATE: I did end up making sarson ka saag and makki ki roti!

Boondi Raita
Boondi are these little crunchy fried balls. Here¬†are some on Amazon, but you can get them in an Indian market. Adding them to yogurt makes a great Raita (yogurt sauce). Just take yogurt, thin it out with a little really cold water (really cold, I even put the raita in the freezer to make sure it is cold! I don’t know why but cold yogurt with hot rajma is so good to me), add a little chaat masala and toasted cumin, then right before eating add in the boondi. I also like particularly tangy yogurt for this.

Papad (or Papadam)
I realized that I have never mentioned papad in any post, but we eat it quite frequently. Papad is a crispy cracker like item that you roast over the open flame (or you can microwave it). You can buy it in Indian market. Before getting married to Tejas, I heard this rumor that a man judges a woman by how she makes her papad. Not sure if this is true, but I finally got the hang of it after a few tries ;-). You just have to flip the papad constantly over the gas flame even if it looks like nothing is happening.

Pickled Onions We have pickled onions a lot too (or just raw onions with a squeeze of lime), but I have never thought to mention them¬†either. Just slice an onion, add a little vinegar and lime, a bit of sugar, and soak while you’re cooking the rajma. Top with chaat masala before eating.

Rajma Masala
1 cup kidney beans soaked overnight or for 8 hours (or 2 cans kidney beans drained and rinsed)
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon jeera (cumin seeds)
1 big onion sliced
3 garlic cloves sliced
1 inch ginger minced
2 green chiles chopped
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons coriander powder
1 1/2 tablespoons rajma masala powder
2-3 tomatoes chopped
1-2 tablespoons tomato paste (depending on how red and juicy the tomatoes are)
1 squeeze ketchup
Pinch sugar

  1. Put soaked kidney beans and 5 cups water into the pressure cooker.¬†Cook for 15-20 minutes after the first whistle (I start on high heat and turn down to medium after the first whistle). Put pan under cold water until all the steam escapes, then open. If you’re using canned skip this step and just add the kidney beans later.
  2. Meanwhile heat the oil in a saute pan. Add jeera and once they start to toast add the onions. Cook the onions until they are translucent and and a little brown, adding the garlic, ginger and green chilis half way through cooking. Add the turmeric, chili powder, coriander and rajma masala and stir for a few seconds. Add the tomatoes and cook until they become a paste.
  3. Add the tomato paste, ketchup, garlic, sugar, and kidney beans with their water (or if using canned add a few cups of water). Salt to taste and cook until the flavors meld.

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