Noor, if she read this, would protest that she knows this curry is called “rajma” and not “ramja”; but that latter name is how she referred to it up until she was 3 or 3 and a half and it was always such fun to hear her shift the letters around I thought I’d preserve that memory here.
This is one recipe I am really pleased to post. It gives me such pleasure that the girls (especially Indira) enjoy their rajma chawal so much.
I like to think this means both of them have Punjabi souls, after all 🙂
Rajma(kidney beans) 1 cup
One medium sized or 2 small onions, finely chopped
One large tomato or 2 small ones, grated/finely chopped/pureed
1 and 1/2 tsp of grated ginger
1 tsp of grated garlic
1/2 tsp kashmiri chilli powder, or a stronger variety if you like your curry hot
turmeric powder 1/4 tsp
coriander powder 3/4 tsp
garam masala powder 1/2 tsp
1/2 tsp of cumin seeds
2 pods of black cardamom
4=5 black peppercorns
a couple of small sticks of cinnamon (optional)
3 tbsp of sunflower oil
2 tsps of salt, or to taste
Soak the rajma in 6 cups of water for 6-7 hours with salt.
Pressure cook the beans till they are quite soft; this will typically take 15-25 minutes after the first release fo steam from the cooker.
In a frying pan, warm the oil , add the whole spices and wait for them to crackle by which time their aroma will be released too. Then add the cumin seeds and when these start to turn a darker brown, add the onions.
Fry the onions on a medium high heat till they are quite brown (don’t let them burn though). The right color to aim for is a sort of caramel or slightly dark caramel color. A couple of minutes before you think the onions are done, add the ginger and the garlic and fry them with the onions.
Add the tomatoes next, and fry till the oil starts to appear on the sides of the mixture. Now add the ground spices, fry for a minute, then add this mixture to the rajma and stir thoroughly. You may want to add 1 tsp of kasoori methi to the fried masala just before you take it off the heat and add it to the rajma. Stir everything thoroughly and ff you think the curry looks too thick, add some boiled water though rajma tastes better a little thick than too thin, IMO.
Simmer the curry for 15 -20 minutes on a medium high heat then add 2 tbsp of fresh,chopped coriander leaves (if you haven’t used kasoori methi) just before you take it off the heat.
For a really smooth curry, pureed tomatoes – the canned sort are very useful for this – work best. To make the puree, leave the tomatoes in boiling water for a few minutes, then take them out, leave them to cool, peel the skin off, and blend them.
The girls love to eat rajma with plain white rice, though I prefer it with hot phulkas and it even lends itself to a good loaf of boulangerie style bread .
Any which way, it makes for a very satisfying meal indeed 🙂