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Rajma-Chawal can safely be said to be one of the most popular Punjabi dish. Rajma is super rich in proteins and hence makes for a very fulfilling meal.
Rajma Chawal, to most people this evokes a memory of childhood home cooked food enjoyed with the family. A lot of people love to have rajma in restaurants too, especially restaurants that specialize in Punjabi cuisine like dhabas. What’s nice about rajma is that it is not only healthy but also a comfort food that you would like to have to just have a nice filling meal.
The one thing about rajma is that it is made with slight variations in most homes. This is why it gets the unique taste of the person who cooks it and hence is strongly associated with the taste of home cooked food.
Rajma is made from red kidney beans. The beans come in two varieties that differ in colour – the light and the dark one. The cooking time may vary for some varieties as they need longer time to fully cook. Kidney beans are extremely popular in Mexico and several dishes like tortilla wraps. They were in fact, bought to the Indian subcontinent from Mexico! From a nutritional stand point, 1 cup of boiled kidney beans contains 5.7 grams protein, making it a super healthy addition to any meal.
- 2 cups Rajma
- 2 Onions
- 3 Tomatoes
- 1 Green Chilli
- 1 tsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
- 1 tsp Garam Masala Powder
- 1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
- 1 tbsp Coriander Leaves
- 1 tsp Coriander Powder
- 1 tsp Cumin Seeds Powder
- 1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
- Salt to taste
- Water as needed
- 1 tbsp Fresh Cream
Wash and soak the Rajma in 5 to 6 cups of water overnight.
Next morning, take the rajma and the water in a pressure cooker. Add salt and cook for 4 to 6 whistles on full flame. Let it stand till the pressure comes down.
Chop the onions, tomatoes and the green chilli very finely.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a thick bottom pan on low flame. Add the chopped onions and saute till they turn brown.
Add the seasonings like garam masala, coriander powder, Cumin seeds powder, turmeric powder and a little salt. ( Salt has already been added to the boiled Rajma as well ).
Stir for a minute then add the tomatoes, green chilli, and Ginger-Garlic paste.
Let cook till the mixture leaves oil. Stir once or twice in between.
Strain the rajma and add to the gravy mixture. Cover with a lid and let it soak in the flavors for about 5 minutes.
Add the boiled rajma water and let it boil till the desired consistency is reached. More water can be added at this point.
Rajma gravy is always of medium consistency so adjust accordingly.
Lastly, garnish with green coriander leaves ( chopped ) and fresh Cream.
Serve with steamed rice, roti, phulkas etc.
Keep in mind that you’ll have to check if the beans are fully cooked (can be mashed by hand or easily chewed) before you add them to the curry. If you find a variety of rajma that takes a long while to cook, you can add a pinch of baking soda to it before you cook it in the pressure cooker. This will take some time off the cooking process and also ensure that your rajma is fully cooked. Make sure you add just a pinch of baking soda and not more as it may end up giving a bitter taste to the dish otherwise.
This recipe calls for rajma to be soaked over night or at least 8-9 hours before you cook. So plan in advance when you want to make rajma as this isn’t a dish you can put together in a jiffy. You’ll also need to factor the slow cooking time for rajama. Over all, the rajma will need to be first cooked in the pressure cooker for at least half hour followed by making the curry mix and the final dish.
If you have leftover rajma, you can easily dry up some of the gravy by heating the curry and then use the rajma as a sandwich or wrap filling along or even with salads.
There are multiple types of rajma available in the market. One type is kashmiri rajma (dark color, small beans), this rajma is less starchy. Other rajma type is chitra rajma (light color, big beans), I like this variety much more than the first one.
Cook the gravy well till the time it starts leaving oil from the sides.
Ensure that the rajma is well cooked before adding it to gravy. If you feel it is under-cooked, give 2-3 more whistles.
Keep they gravy a bit dry if you want to enjoy your rajma with roti or naan. Though if you want to enjoy rajma chawal then keep gravy thickness to medium.
Though rajma is very tasty, it is heavy on your digestion. You should eat rajma only during the day and avoid in the night.
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