Friday, March 26, 2010
The all-time favourite RAJMA
There is rajma, and then there is rajma. I mean its ubiquitous, yet like Kaali Dal, it’s rare to find the perfect rajma. Frankly, I never could understand the draw of “rajma-chawal” till I had some authentic rajma made by my mom-in-law.
Ok, I know there isn't any rocket science to making Rajma. But believe me, when it’s your mom-in-law who is going to judge it with her true-blue Punjabi cooking standards, then it is indeed daunting! And to top it all, it was my very first attempt at cooking this dish. So when i decided to make this last month for Sid's parents, I was a little unsure how it would turn out. But I was really pleased with the results and my in-laws and Sid loyally claimed it was as good as it could get!
First of all, it’s the kind of rajma (red kidney beans) you choose. Go for the small Kashmiri variety. It cooks faster and turns soft easily. The bigger variety remains hard no matter how long you cook it for. Secondly, go for whole roasted spices and chopped masala instead of mixer-ground one. I think that does the trick.
Red beans/ Kidney Beans/ Rajma – 1 cup soaked overnight
Tomatoes – 3 large chopped or Tomato puree – 1 cup
Onions – 2 medium sized, chopped
Ginger Garlic paste – ½ tsp
Green chillies – 2, chopped into pieces
Black pepper powder – ¼ tsp
Red chilli powder – ½ tsp
Garam Masala – ½ tsp
Salt to taste
Milk – ¼ cup
Coriander - for garnishing
Cinnamon – ½ inch piece
Cloves – 2-3
Whole coriander seeds – 1 tsp
Whole jeera/cumin – 1 tsp
Cardamom – 2 pods
Pressure cook the soaked kidney beans with water and salt for 15 min (I let it cook for 4 whistles on high and 2 on low flame). Dry roast all the whole spices for a minute on high flame. Stop when they start smoking a bit and the smell permeates your whole kitchen! Remove from flame, cool and then grind them into a fine powder. In a deep bottomed pan or kadhai, fry the chopped onions in a little oil. When it turns translucent, add the chopped tomatoes, green chillies and ginger garlic paste and cook well for a few minutes. Add a little water if needed. When the onion and tomatoes reach a paste like consistency, add the ground whole spices and all the remaining spices. Mix well. To this, add the cooked kidney beans along with the water. Mix well , cover the kadhai and let it cook for 10-15min. Keep stirring in between. The curry should now be thick, red and bubbling. Add a little milk, adjust seasoning, mix well and garnish with coriander leaves.
Take off the flame and serve with rice or rotis. The rajma should be soft and melt-in-the mouth.