Friday, January 15, 2010

Punjabi Rajma

I have begun to cook North Indian food of late, thanks to my dear husband who is quasi self-proclaimed Punjabi and relishes Punjabi food quite a lot. My North Indian cooking has never crossed the boundary of good old Punjabi Chole. In hindsight, I am glad I am doing so because its exposing me to the goodness and simplicity of so many North Indian dishes that I feel - I should have begun long back. I have Lucknowi recipes which boast of the succulent Keema Kebabs and Awadhi Biryanis. The Kashmiri fare which the 'yakhee' style of cooking; Amritsari Kulchas and Amritsari Macchi which is much talked about. Hey, I cannot afford to miss Delhi here, the land of history where umpteen battles have been fought, given birth to many a stalwarts. Paratha-Chanaa on Delhi-Gurgaon road, Mathree with Imli chutney and the good old Rajma-Chawal.

So my kitchen has stealthily amassed Kasuri Methi powder, Rajma (canned ones), Stuffed Parathas, Delhi Namkeen Parathas. This from a time when we used to eat the good old lentil-packed Sambhar and Rice along with crispy fried Poppadum and Appalams. Life teaches you so many times in so many ways. I have embraced it with open arms and rightly so. One of my dear friend recently threw her pearls of wisdom and some she aptly dusted on me - Food is a noble way of expressing your love. I cannot agree more with that. A transition is always great if embraced with open arms and taken positively.

I came across Sanjeev Kapoor's recipe for Rajma Rasmisa. Made few changes in the proportion, toned down the spices. I used semi-tangy tomatoes, those less red ones which offer a good flavour unless you want the Rajma a little more sweeter, in that case you could use the plump red ones. Thanks to Sanjeev Kapoor, I felt I was in Delhi, taking nonchalant walks around Karol Bagh, shopping at Sarojini market and tucking in some yummy fare from the lip-smacking dishes of Old Delhi.

Cooking time: 30 minutes
Preparation time: 10 minutes

Rajma or Red Kidney Beans - 1 1/2 cup or 1 can of Red Kidney Beans
Onions (finely chopped) - 2
Tomatoes (finely chopped, preferably the plump red ones) - 2
Corainder powder - 1 teaspoon
Cumin powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Red Chilli powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Oil - For frying
Salt - As per taste
Turmeric powder - Just a pinch
Garam Masala powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Bay leaves - 2-3

Pressure cook Rajma Beans in water with little salt till are well cooked, soft and tender to eat. I used canned Red Kidney Beans. They are ready-to-use for gravies and curries.
In a deep dish saucepan, heat 2-3 tablespoon of oil, add bay leaves, once the oil gets the bay leaf aroma, add the onions and saute them till they are well fried. Add tomatoes and mash the gravy lightly with hand to get a saucy consistency. Add add the spice powders, adjust salt and garam masala powder and cook till the oil leaves. This is essential as the gravy forms the base for the flavour. Once done, add cooked Rajma and bring to boil. Simmer on low flame for 15 minutes. Turn off the flame. This dish goes extremely well with Rice.

Notes: Rajma can also be made with canned Tomatoes in a puree-d form. I prefer the home cooked ones so I added tangy ready-to-use tomatoes which offer a good flavour.


  1. I like Rajma, Punjabi version looks delicious..will be perfect with Rotis.

  2. @ Madhu - Thanks. I loved Sanjeev Kapoor's recipe. For starters, I think the flavour was wholesome and nice.

  3. Oooh .. I have tried this one too, and love the authentic taste of it! That's such a beautiful, red color on your rajma Ashwini ... yumm!

  4. Rajma looks nice, gorgeous color.


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