Monday, September 16, 2013


I had soaked for rajma yesterday.  It was Sunday.  I hadn’t made it in a while.  My youngest likes it a lot.  So thought, one dish dinner – serve it with rice and I am done.

It had finally stopped raining and we got e-mail from my son’s school saying that most likely they will open on Monday – after being closed Thursday and Friday due to rain.

We visited a friend of ours, whose mom was going back to India.  They live in Boulder, which was more affected by the rains than our part of town.  We could see a lot of people ripping out carpets from flooded basements and setting water-damaged furniture on their driveways.  We also drove by a couple of road closures and several swollen streams.  This storm caused a lot of damage.

While we were chatting, Boulder Valley School District sent out a notification saying that schools were going to be closed both Monday and Tuesday.  The kids were ecstatic!  All the moroseness of having to finish up homework and getting ready for school the next day vanished!  

Rajma - Chawal

So we stayed a bit longer, had chai, chatted some more, and by the time I came home, felt too lazy to make Rajma.  More than feeling lazy, I did not want to take pictures of my dish after dark.  I feel that my pictures come out better in natural light than at night.  So, I just thawed some chole and paneer.  We had them with rotis.  My tam bram husband of course had left–over rasam with vadams (popadums).  Beacuse of this, my rajma ended up soaking for over 24 hours.  

Rajma is such a simple, delicious, and wholesome dish to make.  I understand that in some households, rajma-chawal (rice) is considered comfort food. 

Here is what you need:

  • 2 cups rajma (red kidney beans), soaked overnight (or at least 5 hours)
  • salt to taste
  • pinch of hing (asafetida)
  • 2 – 3 tsp. oil
  • ½ medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 roma tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 2 green chilies, minced
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 ½  tsp. jeera (cumin) powder
  • 1 ½ tsp. dhania (coriander) powder
  • 1 tsp. kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
  • 1 tsp. amchur (dried mango) powder (optional)
  • cilantro for garnish (also optional)


Here is how I made it:

  1. Drain and rinse the rajma.  Cover with water, add salt and hing.
  2. Pressure cook the rajma for about 10 – 12 minutes after the first whistle, on low heat.
  3. While the beans are cooking, heat oil in a pot.  Add onions and fry for a few minutes.
  4. When the onions are starting to change color, add the chopped tomatoes and green chilies.  Fry for a couple of minutes.
  5. Add the chili, cumin, and coriander powders.  Add amchur if you are using it.  Add a little bit of water and cook on low heat.
  6. Take the kasuri methi in the palm of you hand and crush it with your other hand (hope this makes sense).  Sprinkle this on the tomato masala. 
  7. Add some more water (very little) and cook till the tomatoes have kind of lost their shape and have disintegrated.
  8. Now, add the cooked beans with enough water.  Check to make sure that the salt is sufficient.
  9. Cover and let it simmer on low heat for about 10 more minutes.
  10. Garnish with cilantro.

Serve hot with rice (or rotis)

Note:  Rajma is a very simple dish.  You can make it without adding all the masalas and it still tastes great.  I add amchur powder to give it a bit of tanginess.  You don’t have to.  Some people grind or puree the tomatoes or the onion-tomato mixture.  I don't - mainly because I like the texture of the chopped veggies.

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