Rajma (Kidney Beans in Gravy)
[My post on “Authentic Indian Chutneys” has been translated and shared in Serbian by Belogrlik Dubravka, on the Croatian blog teslio. Thank you, Belogrlik, for featuring this Indian heirloom recipe for your series Foodgazama.]
Versatile Kidney Beans: A Vegan’s Meat!
Are you on a lookout for the perfect protein alternative to meat and milk in your diet? Or are you looking for a perfect legume for adding a zing to your soups, salads and simmered dishes! Use your imagination and explore the endless possibilities you can spoon up with this wonder food!
Buying the right quality
One should always check whether the beans are whole (not cracked). Of course, no insect manifestation should be there. Buy the ones with very recent manufacturing dates, as old beans tend to get harder, tasteless, involve larger cooking time and are nutritionally degraded.
You can readily go for canned kidney beans too! The nutritional value of the canned ones is almost the same as the dry ones. We, in India, prefer dry, red and long kidney beans, because these are available in plenty in that form and come much cheaper than the canned ones.
Soaking and boiling the kidney beans
If using canned ones, rinse these thoroughly in a colander to wash away the sweetened or salted water in which these were canned.
Dry kidney beans should be soaked atleast for five hours (better if soaked overnight) before these are ready for the boiling stage. This shortens the cooking time considerably and makes the digestion easier. To speed up the soaking process, some people prefer adding a little sodium bicarbonate. Alternately, these can be boiled for two minutes and then soaked for two hours.
The soaked water should always be discarded and the beans should be rinsed with clean water before proceeding to boil them.
These are now pressure-cooked (cook them on a high temperature to get rid of the toxins in them) till the beans reach a stage when they are firm, but can be mashed if pressed between two fingers. I use my pressure cooker for this, which needs five whistles in a medium flame. But please note that the cooking time may vary depending on the age of the beans: the older the beans, the longer the time needed to cook!
Please avoid adding salt, sugar, lemon juice, vinegar, sauces and tomatoes during the boiling process as this will lead to undesirable hardening of the beans.
Why should you eat them when you are happy with meat and dairy?
Why not? One cup of kidney beans is rich in essential nutrients, such as Iron, molybdenum, folate, tryptophan, potassium, dietary fibre and manganese!
If you are still not convinced, read this:
- Research has now proved that it lowers the risk for heart attack.
- Rich in cholesterol-lowering fibre, it helps in easing constipation and prevents irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis, apart from fighting against bad cholesterol.
- It helps in balancing the blood-sugar levels, thus helping them who suffer from hypoglycaemia and diabetes.
- Since it is rich in molybdenum, it is good for people who are intolerant to sulphites (these people are generally molybdenum-deficient).
- Rich in magnesium, it ensures a healthy cardiovascular activity by improving the blood flow, among other benefits.
- Kidney beans are highly recommended for iron-deficient people and for pregnant and lactating mothers. For this reason, it is very good for growing children too!
- Improve your memory and prevent the risk of Alzheimer’s disease to a great extent with kidney beans. This is due to Vitamin B1 levels in them.
- These provide a healthy alternative to meat and dairy foods by providing comparable protein levels to the body, minus high calories and saturated fats!
The magic dish called “rajma”
Kidney beans and rice make a great combination. So while the Monday Creole Dish is famous in Southern Louisiana and New Orleans, it has acquired a different form in India by the name of “Rajma Chawal” (a rich kidney-bean gravy with rice): also a popular street food in Delhi.
The red kidney bean (bigger-seed variety) is called rajma in Hindi. It is a very popular North Indian food: now famous not only all over India, but spreading its reach to the global spoon too! If you are planning an Indian party menu, consider rajma as one of the most sought-after dishes!
[Note: You can also add boiled and cubed potatoes fried with a little salt, before adding the boiled rajma to the gravy. Garam masala powder is readily available in Indian stores, or make it at home by dry-roasting and fine-grinding two one-inch cinnamon sticks, two green cardamoms, one black cardamom, five cloves and five peppercorns. The amounts may be varied according to individual taste.]
- Boiled kidney beans or rajma: 3 cups
- Bay leaves: 2
- Cinnamon stick (one inch long): 1
- Green cardamoms: 2
- Cloves: 4
- Cumin seeds: ½ tsp
- Coriander powder: 1.5 tsp
- Cumin powder: 1 tsp
- Onion paste: 1 cup
- Garlic paste: 1.5 tbsp
- Ginger paste: 1 tsp
- Red chilli powder: 1 tsp
- Yogurt (unsweetened, optional): 2 tbsp
- Fresh tomato puree: ¾ cup
- Salt: 2 tsp
- Sugar: ½ tsp
- Turmeric powder: ½ tsp
- Garam masala powder: 1 tsp
- Lime juice: 2 tbsp
- Green or red chillies (optional): 3
- Onion (chopped, for garnishing): 1 tsp
- Coriander leaves (chopped, for garnishing): 1 tbsp
- Water: 3 cups
- Oil: 4 tbsp
- Butter (optional, but recommended): 1 tsp
Method of preparation:
Heat oil in a deep non-stick pan till it smokes. Add the bay leaves, cinnamon stick, cardamom and cloves to the oil on a medium flame. After 1 minute, add cumin seeds and wait till the seeds become light brown. Immediately add the onion paste and cook for 5 min on a medium flame, sauté-ing the mixture continuously. Now add garlic and ginger pastes, along with the coriander and cumin powders, turmeric powder, red chilli powder salt and sugar.
Continue sauté-ing continuously till the mixture becomes dry and leave the sides of the pan.
Add the tomato puree, mix well and cover, simmering for 5 min.
After 5 min, open the lid and add the yogurt and the garam masala powder. Mix well.
Add the cooked rajma (boiled kidney beans) to this. Add water and green or red chillies and stir. Simmer for 25 min and cover with a lid, allowing the flavours of the gravy to infuse slowly into each bean.
Now add the lime juice and stir properly. Add the butter, switch off the gas and put the lid once again. After 5 min, open the lid and give the rajma a final stir.
Serve with steamed rice and garnish with chopped onions and coriander leaves.
July 21, 2011 @ 4:21 pm
Perfect and healthy side-dish for chapathis…
July 21, 2011 @ 4:58 pm
my all time favourate best with rice
July 21, 2011 @ 5:33 pm
I’ve always loved kidney beans, and other beans, in soups and chilies. This looks like a great way to cook them!
July 21, 2011 @ 6:51 pm
Really informative! Thanks for sharing your insight and the recipe. Looks delicious!
Food, Fun and Life in the Charente
July 21, 2011 @ 7:29 pm
This looks fantastic, thanks for sharing. Diane
July 21, 2011 @ 8:41 pm
Purabi, this is wonderful! (Not only your tips on buying & making them, but your recipe with all those luscious spices!) I could live on beans and rice, but this takes them to a whole new level. Thank you! (I KNEW there was a reason I bought plain yogurt yesterday — I have everything else in my pantry — I smell dinner!) 🙂
July 21, 2011 @ 9:26 pm
Ja bean soup is serbian natioanl dish.So naturally big interest in variation of the same :)Great.Will try:)
A 2 Z Vegetarian Cuisine
July 21, 2011 @ 10:26 pm
All time hit..served with rice/paratha.
July 21, 2011 @ 11:00 pm
i am not a rajma fan at all and I really do not like it. But i make it often, hubby fav and he gives me gyan how healthy it is to eat rajma 🙂
Rebecca from Chow and Chatter
July 21, 2011 @ 11:42 pm
oh yum love rajma
July 22, 2011 @ 2:21 am
Thanks a lot for sahring this mouthwatering and informative recipe about rajma. Looks delicious.
July 22, 2011 @ 3:43 am
Oh, MY! These look amazing! I LOVE kidney beans! I love this recipe and the care that went into the beans! The spices – everything! YUM!
July 22, 2011 @ 3:53 am
i love using kidney beans as a veg source of protein! love the combo of yogurt and tumeric sauce here!
July 22, 2011 @ 4:59 am
delicious curry healthy kidney beans to have with rice and roti
July 22, 2011 @ 5:08 am
Very healthy and nutritious recipe,luks very tempting…
July 22, 2011 @ 5:25 am
Oh this looks super hearty with a nice spice blend! Nice job purabi!
July 22, 2011 @ 6:33 am
This looks super tasty. WHat a great way to use kidney beans to mix it up from the standard fare.
July 22, 2011 @ 7:38 am
love rajma chawal….thnx for ur tips…:)
July 22, 2011 @ 8:10 am
This is a alltime fav …looks delicious!!1
Do participate in my giveaway here
July 22, 2011 @ 10:12 am
Simple classics Rajma curry never fail….ur one is reall good.
July 22, 2011 @ 2:23 pm
My husband has banned canned veggies, but we buy raw beans. There are so many reasons why this is a great dish (nutritional value, flavor, etc),I can see why you posted it. Thanks for another informative post with a fantastic recipe-Yum!
July 22, 2011 @ 4:05 pm
Very informative and also nice recipe
July 22, 2011 @ 7:29 pm
i love rajma and this is an excellent post, such good info and a wonderful recipe…love it..
Kelly @ Eat Yourself Skinny
July 22, 2011 @ 8:18 pm
This looks so delicious!! 🙂
Nikki @ The Tolerant Vegan
July 22, 2011 @ 8:34 pm
I can’t wait to try this with soy yogurt!
July 22, 2011 @ 8:47 pm
Looks delicious, Purabi! I never thought about using onion paste before in my rajmah – will need to try it out!
July 22, 2011 @ 8:49 pm
Great recipe! Will have to try it sometime! 🙂
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
July 22, 2011 @ 11:25 pm
That looks delicious and so full of flavour! 😀 What a great blog you have!
Paty's Kitchen - Cook with passion.
July 23, 2011 @ 12:12 am
Have not tasted that before but it look’s like a nice pair with capati…definitely on the list to try. Hey Babe…I’ve made mango-pineapple capati the combination of Malay-Indian version. Do drop by and be my jury…
July 23, 2011 @ 8:00 am
Thank you, Nikki and Divya. Yes yogurt and onion paste work wonders in this dish!!
Paty’s Kitchen, why not, I’ll surely visit there. Thanks for liking the recipe!
Lorraine, thanks. Your words mean a lot to me.
Ann, dear, you are always there to motivate me. I really appreciate that. Thanks!
Tina, I am really happy that you liked this authentic dish as well as the article. Your nice words always provide a great motivation. Thanks a ton!
Thank you all of you who took out some of their their precious time and stopped by here to leave such wonderful comments. I loved reading them! Have a great day, all of you!!
SKIP TO MALOU
July 23, 2011 @ 2:15 pm
yes i’ve always been on the look out for a bean recipe that screams comfort food. my recipes are limited in this area so thank you for sharing it with us.
happy weekend Purabi!
July 23, 2011 @ 2:40 pm
The beans are so awesome, I simply love it, in fact we over here even use the same beans for desserts.
Magic of Spice
July 23, 2011 @ 5:03 pm
I love fresh beans and this is such a great recipe. Also some great tips here 🙂
July 23, 2011 @ 6:29 pm
Lovely write up and delicious Rajma.
July 23, 2011 @ 6:36 pm
I make a probably inauthentic kidney bean curry but I don’t know what the Indian name is. I love it so much. I’ve never made kidney beans from scratch although I make most of my other beans from scratch. I want to try your recipe. It looks so yummy!
July 23, 2011 @ 7:59 pm
Hi Purabi, thanks for visiting my blog and for ur lovely comment….you have a nice space here and this rajma curry looks great and delicious!Love the step by step pictorial…great job! have a nice weekend..take care!
July 24, 2011 @ 3:19 am
Completely loved this post Purabi, I had never known about such detailed facts of the Rajma – my husband doesnt like it although I do and I was always told it is good for people who have kidney stones, now I will view this legume from a whole new perspective. Thanks for posting, I love ur blog!
July 24, 2011 @ 3:23 am
Yummy Rajma.. Love them with rotis.. nice step by step pictures..
July 24, 2011 @ 3:40 am
Great side bean dish. I love the spices you used, and also appreciate your tutorial, which is so helpful!
July 24, 2011 @ 6:00 am
I love Southern Red Beans and Rice and yours looks really good too! What a nice twist compared to the southern version :o)
Paula @ Spoons 'n' Spades
July 24, 2011 @ 12:13 pm
Hi Purabi! Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment.
This dish sounds wonderful, I’m a big lover of kidney beans!
July 24, 2011 @ 2:02 pm
first time here… simply delicious….
Dish Name Starts with I
July 25, 2011 @ 12:43 am
This comment has been removed by the author.
July 25, 2011 @ 12:45 am
I was totally off:)) I thought this recipe was translated, just read it again:))) I am not myself today:))
July 25, 2011 @ 12:50 am
Ok Let me write comment again:))
These beans are very authentic with amazing spices..this is really full of flavor! thanks for sharing, I will try making it!!!
July 25, 2011 @ 2:56 am
First time I am visiting your blog.Superb colourful and informative.I love Rajma and usually make it on a sunday!!!
Jill @ Dulce Dough
July 25, 2011 @ 4:20 am
What great information with a great recipe! Thank for sharing!
July 25, 2011 @ 10:58 am
Very healthy and delicious dish.
July 26, 2011 @ 4:51 am
Looks wonderful! Great recipe.
July 27, 2011 @ 10:33 pm
First time here .. glad to follow you. very yummy and healthy…
July 28, 2011 @ 3:48 am
Looks yummy . My favourite too
August 9, 2011 @ 2:13 am
I love beans! This sounds so complex with all of those spices, though. I wish you could make me a big bowl of it!
August 18, 2011 @ 10:44 pm
I made red beans ‘n rice every monday when I lived in New Orleans and I tried a Rajma last year. Love them both. Your recipe is very tempting.
May 26, 2017 @ 10:01 pm
I so enjoy your site and your recipes. Would you please consider adding a print option so we can enjoy your recipes a little more easily. Thank you.
April 5, 2019 @ 6:03 am
Great stuff buddy.
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information.I’m always looking for new recipes that help us cut back
on the processed alternatives. Thanks for sharing this recipe with all
Ingredients and instructions. This is a very useful article for online
review readers. Keep it up such a nice posting like this. I started a
Blog and Hopefully, it will be successful like you.
Thanks for the share.
April 9, 2019 @ 5:58 pm
Great stuff buddy.
Great post, I have read this post here I got very useful information.I’m always looking for new recipes that help us cut back on the processed alternatives. Thanks for sharing this recipe with all Ingredients and instructions. This is a very useful article for online review readers. Keep it up such a nice posting like this. I started a Blog and Hopefully, it will be successful like you.
Thanks for the share.