mostly about food and cooking, but also the stories about the Bread and the Butterflies!

A hearty dish of Beans and Rice

In Low Fat, Punjab, Rice, Vegetarian on December 16, 2007 at 12:37 am

We are in the grip of winter here in Delhi. Not quite freezing but close; cold enough for a hearty dish of beans and rice.

rajma chaval

Our hills are home to an amazing variety of beans. If you remember I mentioned that on one of my visits I found 200 kinds of beans on display at Dilli Haat! I bought two varieties that time – one was chitre rajma, very similar to cranberry beans I received from a friend in the US, and another was a smooth tan-colour.

beans
How many have you? Clockwise from top: lobia (black eyed peas), varya muth (black beans), chitre rajma, cranberry beans, Kashmiri rajma

My absolutely favourite way to prepare kidney beans is the Punjabi way. If any of you have ever traveled to Srinagar by road, you might have stopped for a lunch of rajma-chaval, simply put – beans and rice. No matter how road sick we may have been traveling on the ever winding ‘highway’, a lunch of rajma-chaval always made us feel better. The beans were sourced from the hills of Kashmir, and the fragrant basmati from the plains of Jammu, and the dish an all-pleaser for people traveling in between.

Kashmiri rajma is almost as well known as Kashmiri mirch is. These small red kidney beans are delicious and cook fast. Then there is the thool razma (egg-beans!) in Kashmir that cook up round and plump; vaarya muth (moo-th – ‘th’ as in Thames) or black beans. Beans and rice are a favourite meal all over the Himalayas and its foothills. On our way to the Valley of Flowers last year, I spotted beans drying outside many a village house.

Rajma-chaval is also a favourite of Punjabis who are otherwise primarily consumers of wheat in the form of roti/chapatti or paranthas. The best way to eat roti is naturally by tearing with your hands, which is how most of India eats. But rice is not easy to eat using your fingers; it takes practice and skill to eat rice elegantly with fingers. Yet rajma-chaval can be fully appreciated only when the sense of touch is also involved. No one knew this better than my Punjabi friend and neighbour whose father was a strict disciplinarian and would never allow her to eat rice without the use of a spoon. I was glad we had no such rules. Rice eaters are trained to make sure not much more than the first digits of our fingers are wet while eating, and that the other hand is always kept ‘clean’ to serve. Whenever I let an implement come between me and my rice, it is somehow a less fulfilling meal. Touching the rice I eat is part of deriving satiation from a meal; there is no other way for me.

rajma chaval

Here is a simple recipe for rajma, tried and much tested, from my kitchen. I have been asked for the recipe many times, and doubted for holding back some secret ingredient. But there is none. The taste lies in the beans, and there is no need to overwhelm them with heavy spicing. While it shares the bhuno-adrak-pyaaz-tamatar (fry-ginger-onion-tomato) step with chhole, it has none of the powerful knock-out punch of spices that add ‘masala’ to the chana-masala. This satisfies at an entirely different level, and is a personal favourite, over and above chhole.

I have prepared this using red kidney beans (both the Kashmiri rajma, and the other larger varieties), chitre rajma, and also the tan-coloured pahari (from the hills) ones I purchased at Dilli Haat. It turned out great every time with minor variations in the colour of the final dish.

rajma chaval
Rajma
(Kidney Beans)
serves 6-8

3 C kidney beans, soaked overnight
1 T oil
1 t ghee
½ t cumin
1” piece of ginger, grated
2 large onions, chopped fine
2-3 tomatoes, chopped fine or pureed (I used 6 desi ones that are much smaller, but more juicy and tart)
1 ½ T coriander powder
1 t red chilli powder (or to taste)
½ t turmeric
salt

Cover the beans with water (3″ above the beans), and soak overnight. Drain and rinse.

In the pan of your pressure cooker heat the oil and ghee. Add cumin seeds, followed by grated ginger. Stir till fragrant. Add the chopped onion and fry till golden. Add the tomato puree and cook till a rich red in colour. If it starts to stick to the bottom, add some salt to help sweat the onions without needing more oil. When the masala is done it will come together (like this); if we were using more oil or fat, the oil would separate. Add the spices and continue to brown for a couple of minutes. Remove this masala paste to a dish (which you may later use to serve the rajma in).

Add the rinsed beans to the pan. Cover them with enough fresh water and cook till very tender. I use a pressure cooker for this; cooking time varies depending on the bean variety, with the smaller Kashmiri rajma usually taking 20-30 minutes. Wait for the pressure to subside.

Add the onion-tomato masala to the cooked beans with salt, stir to mix, and pressure cook again for an additional 10 minutes, or simmer, stirring occasionally, for a further 20-30 minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve over rice, with a small dollop of ghee, maybe just half a spoon. Ghee is amazing with rajma prepared this way, really incredible. Or, add a smaller dollop of ghee towards the last half of your rajma-chaval and revel in the indulgence.

I love this dish of beans with Goan brown rice. I have finally arrived at a formula to get them to be soft – soak the rice in hot water for an hour before pressure cooking for 20 minutes. Beautiful grains of brown rice that are soft to the touch!

Tags: Punjabi cuisine, Punjabi rajma, rajma, rajma chaval, beans and rice, kidney beans

  1. i adore rajma. last week we tried gopi’s recipe. next week it’s gonna be yours.

    Me too. They are just perfect for cold days – wonderful winter food.

  2. Beautiful rajma-chawal…perfect for those wintery nights…nice assortment of beans there…I love all of them…made a mixed beans stew a few days ago🙂

    I’m with you…ummm, a soup…that’s a thought. One bowl of chili coming up.

  3. How many have I? Oh..do I really need to answer that? I am so weak when I see a new legume that I don’t own or never tasted…it’s 43. But ask me how many of those I use on a regular basis…still, they’re so pretty to look at!😀

    Very good idea to use the serving-dish to temp-hold the bhuno’d masala; you really are talented in decreasing the dishwashing I must say! The rice looks lovely, the beans are making me salivate, and of course I’ll be trying out your recipe (especially with the full permission to ghee it up), but…I’m still hacking away at your wonderful chhole. My usual rajma recipe is a bit more complicated, but after tasting Gopi’s, I am thinking that the extended simplicity of yours might very well be the best of both worlds!🙂

    You are a Dilli Haat stall unto yourself! 43, my word!

    Life teaches one a lot of things, amongst them the wisdom of having less dishes to do, and covering the pan when the mustard splutters! Reduces clean-up in a MAJOR way.

    A little bit of ghee over rajma transforms it completely..but ghee does that to a lot of things…to puran poli for instance😉

  4. I can completely believe you on the taste of this rajma, because that is almost exactly like I make it!!! I use a bay leaf though, no cumin seeds and no ghee. As for Kashmiri rajma, sigh – I bought some with me two years ago from India, and it was so delicious that everything else I get here is falling way short in comparison. If the rajma made me sigh, that Goan rice is going to make me weep. Lucky you.

    My mum uses tejpatta in hers.

    I love Goan rice, both the white polished kind as well as this brown one. And what a great fried rice it makes!

  5. Are you a mind reader or something?! At last night’s dinner, we were talking about the pleasures of eating rice with your (bare) hands as opposed to using spoons or forks. Dal-chawal, biryani, rajma-chawal – all have to be eaten with your hands. We had a mishmash of leftovers last night which included khichadi and I noticed that Medha had abandoned her spoon and was eating with her hands. She was doing pretty well except for a last jerky motion. So we went through all the motions and I think she finally has it!

    Your rajma is very simple! I love it! I make several variations – some garlic and my cousin’s fragrant garam masala. Jeera is always there but not dhana powder.

    So you got everyone to count their rice, and now beans! What next?! You folks sure keep a varied pantry.

    Mind-reading – don’t know about that but I have caught us having the same ideas at the same time, remember kheer-paysam, and then gobhi-aloo recently😀 , there was something else too I think…

    “…we (poor) folk” – rice and beans, with a few spices here and there, is all we have! Now, how many types of mustard seeds do you have?

  6. Sure beans come handy. I was on bean spree last year. Tried every variety I could lay my hands on… but after a while, the digestive after effects (?) becomes unbearable😀

    😆 A case of too much of a good thing! I had to put a moratorium on bean purchase a few months ago – till I exhaust my stock!

  7. Rajma chawal, the best! For that matter, any dried beans and chawal combo too😀 Oh yes, and a lil’ ghee on top! Where do you buy Varya-muth from? INA market?

    😀 Yes, how can a pind-di-kudi ever say no to ghee!
    These ones were bought at Dilli Haat, but shops INA that stock Kashmiri items also stock varya muth.

  8. And no gogji-razma here?

    I cannot tell you how many times I buy gogji to make gogji-razma or tsath gogji and they dry out and end up in the trash. No one else likes gogji in this house 😦 .

  9. OK, I have a question, and it isn’t “What is gogji-razma…”, (although that does peak my curiosity a bit…)no, what I want to ask is this: when eating by hand, does one tilt the head waaaay back and pray that the food lands correctly? Maybe TLO can help. What are these “proper motions”? Because I think I’m really missing out on things by my usual use of utensils. (This is just one of many questions I would like to ask, and since the subject of this one has been brought up…)😀

    Don’t lie about the utensils; we’ve seen those finger-marks on a certain banana leaf…of course, for the uninitiated, there is TLO’s step-by-step ‘scientific advice’, including the degree of inclination, below…(watch this Reliance mobile Bol India Bol – Advice ad to understand the reference to scientific advice)…

    And totally off topic: this one Bol India Bol – Sawaal is also as great…it helps if you understand Hindi, but it is mainly Hinglish. These are hilarious, witty, and totally India!
    Sawaal = question
    bol = to talk
    muft = free
    PS: Sorry this one doesn’t have that bit – ‘scientific advice on the 45 degree angle for weight lifting’ – “…scientific advice – forty-five degree pe kar…” has to be seen and heard…but watch it if you haven’t already.

  10. Eh! eh! I will have to make a video only to show proper motions I am thinking so!

    When drawing the food together, fingers must not be separated – it’s not a fork, it’s going to be a spoon. Hand must be slightly cupped and thumb must be at the side. Then use your fingers and thumb to hold a small ball of food. It must not be taller or bigger than the first digit. Then rotate hand slowly in a clockwise smooth motion – about 135 degrees – and as it rotates, position the thumb at the inner edge of the food or at the end of the first digits. Smoothly take the hand to your mouth – it’s ok to bend or move your face over your plate while you are still perfecting the technique. Open your mouth and push the entire ball of food into your mouth using your thumb. Your fingers do not go into your mouth and your palm does not face down. Young children are allowed to lick their fingers in our house.

    Once you have perfected this with dal-rice is not runny, learn the joys of eating bhurke maarun (slurping).

    Any glaring mistakes to be attributed to the heady aroma of rajma-chawal. And not eggnog steeped heavily in rum.

    And Musy, thank you for complicating things. Now we need to find this Gog who makes razma. And puran poli will have to take a backseat again!

    Here is some muft-ki advice from none other than TLO!😉

  11. After tasting the kashmiri rajma that my kashmiri friend got me two kilos of some few years ago, no rajma comes close in taste or texture for me! I distributed the loot among family and they were all happy to have a taste of the original. We love rajma too, and I liked it cooked to a mush, half mushed and half whole, so like to mash it up a bit. You remind me that I haven’t made it for quite some time…i shall take a look in one of the larger grain shops if they have the kashmiri variety though!

    I cook mine pretty soft too, till they nearly disintegrate! This variety is readily available in Delhi…

  12. btw, i just went to the pantry and it looks like it could be 4.993 varieties at this time.

    Wow! Incredible! You are a wonder, truly.😆 …not counting the kale vatane, okay?

  13. Rajma Chawal mmmmm- heaven! Thanks for posting this recipe and Im so glad that it doesnt have any other masala added. I make it similarly and was shocked to hear of readymade rajma masalas….the rajma provides all the taste you need!
    Haven’t heard of Kashmiri Rajma – any place you can get it in Delhi?

    The Goan rice looks like a good accompaniment too…and yes, nothing like the pleasure of eating with your hands!

    You should be able to get them at most neighbourhood grocers in Delhi.

  14. Oh thank you Manish, I shall be putting these instructiones to very good use! I can almost drink from a cup, lip-free, without dowsing myself. But now, if you do end up making a video, let me know. I’d especially like to see a short cameo of the 4.993 varieties of beans. hehehehe And yes, -ji, the suffix of high respect…for a man named Gog. Perhaps Musy is thrumming up for a post? It’s a useful tactic, as I am nearly wetting my drawers for Anitalu’s puranpoLi post…😀
    😆 Too much pressure, I tell you… many training deficiencies I spot…and I thought the readers here were old enough! You’ll all have to stand up straight when gogji arrives.

  15. Aha! Rajma look delicious. I remembered the HUGE rajma-chawal plates served at all the eateries on the way to Vaishno Devi… And yes, eating with hands – absolute must. I like to have a small portion of my rajma chawal with dahi (I think I got into this habit because I wanted to eat rajma as soon as they came out of the cooker, and yogurt cooled them to touch as well as taste)🙂 Try it sometime! I normally don’t add cumin seeds, rest is almost the same as yours! Thanks for the visual treat🙂

    Ummm, I do too! I like both ways, with and without dahi.

    And, yes, cumin is quite perfunctory here – I think I do it more to test the temperature of the oil than anything else 😉 !

  16. Your food looks so good Anita, I’m off now to find something to eat. I was fine until I visited your blog😀

    Can you imagine the effect of your posts?! There is always a spread – we don’t even know which direction to head to!

  17. Anita, thank you so much for the great recipe! Will make it tomorrow….now let me run to soak the beans🙂

    My pleasure, entirely! Lip smacking it was!

  18. this rice and beans recipe looks simple and yet gorgeous!! by the way i tried the chickpeas recipe
    😀 …and…? Did you like?

  19. and my husband loved it!!! thanks for your recipe🙂

    ps, sorry i had trouble with my computer while writing my comment🙂

  20. yup he liked it!! we ate it with some rice🙂

    Good! So, now I’ll tell you about Indian food and you can tell me about French and Japanese!

  21. I probably have a dozen beans in my pantry too, and dearly love them all. I agree with you on both counts: rajma beats chhole, and eating with hands beats utensils!🙂 Just looking at that plate is warming me up.

    And eating in a thali beats eating off a plate!

  22. Anita
    Thats one hearty dish of beans with rice!!
    I just had an egg sandwich after looking at the amazing dish. Did you think i enjoyed my lifeless egg sandwich!!

    Now, come…egg sandwiches are good too… 😀

  23. Lovely photographs, Anita!

    Thanks, Maninas! I think I am improving!

  24. Well, that 5th one wanted to keep its options open. We had a lengthy discussion about it till I finally got it! It wanted to be classified as a nut, rather than a bean or a legume – you know…for the CLICK event.

    Ah… classic duvidha syndrome – so the final tally now is 4 or 5?

  25. Dunno. It’s becoming difficult in there. So much rebellion. I will just have to pull rank and hand them their class and status.

    So when do we meet this elusive Gog?

    I use cumin cos I think it enhances the flavor. If I had shahjeera, I would use that instead.

    But there is one thing with cumin: it tends to get mellowed out if used in the beginning; as a tadka at the end it is a class apart.

  26. Anita,

    A dumb question : Is this kashmiri variety of rajma different from the normal rajma we get in India? I want to try this recipe, so I want to pick up the right one.

    I have never tried cooking rajma – am worried about the after-effects of eating legumes.. plus i dont know a decent way to cook these. Shall try this and let u know.

    As mentioned in the post, I have used this recipe with a variety of beans, so go ahead and use what you have at hand. Kashmiri rajma is smaller and, like the others, has its own unique taste.

  27. What! no one like gogji! well, i can see my childhood there😀 but razma-gogji or varyamuth-gogji are a class of their own, simple and hearty! Make some for yourself, you know, you can have the whole stuff to yourself😀 Oh yes, and i totally forgot mentioning that dahi goes so well with rajma-chawal🙂

    Oh, and make your yummy ruby pickles with gogji and they’ll all lap it up🙂

    I do make the gobhi-gajar-shalgam achaar, which my son loves!

  28. i love beans too! my hubby is a huge mexican food fan…so we eat enchiladas (i make the refried beans myself…i sneak veggies into them) almost once a week. and since we’re both vegetarian…beans are a must for us. i’ve managed to find varimuth in the american grocery stores too…mexicans eat the same type of black beans.

    will try your razma recipe!

    Yup that be the American black beans! Mexican cuisine knows how to celebrate rice and beans!

  29. Ha! That’s what I call them too Musy: Ruby Pickles…almost as good as ruby slippers! And, I might like gogji too…if only I knew what it was…I know that it comes from a plant, and that it can dry up easily. Is it a leaf? A flower-bud? A root? A turnip? Wanna play catch?🙂

    Anita, sawaal: please explain to me why I am watching cell-phone ads?!!! (though, I say this one has some good advice…”…no kila”)😀

    Oops, linked tothe same one twice. Thanks for the right link! You found it anyways! …yes, weight loss advice: no aloo, no kela…😆 says the fat lady!

    And I don’t understand your sawaal at all!! You are looking for topicality here, in the comment section of this blog?! A few drinks too many you’ve had, is what I’m saying!

    But they were worth a laugh, don’t you think?😀

  30. But of course they were worth a chuckle or two! Thanks for the ha’s and hee’s… I was just razzin’ ya…I gave up on the tipsy blog-hopping after it started to catch on and madness ensued (do recall those lycheetinis…); we certainly don’t want any of that in an absolutely serious forum such as this!😉

    So, varyamuth are frijoles negros eh? Love em- one of the most delicious of legumes indeed, but…uh…like dishes containing raw garlic, best consumed in wholly-participating company!😉

  31. I have taken a liking to the kashmiri rajma more than the other variety since I got married. You dish looks gorgeous, especially the dollop of ghee in the middle!!

    Only half a dollop, I swear!😀

  32. I can’t wait to try this recipe of rajma…the picture looks so appetising and tempting. I’d always heard that rajma beans are so flavorful on their own and that they don’t need too many spices to cover the taste of the beans themselves and here you are with your simple recipe.

    A recipe so simple you don’t need one! Try it and tell me…Pel already approves wholeheartedly!

  33. Just prepared your recipe this morning… I thought at first I wouldn’t like the high-octane coriander note, but you know what? It’s delicious! The masala goes very very well with the beans, and of course the dollop of ghee adds some pleasure. I used varyamuth since all the talk brought nostalgic tears to my eyes.
    Wait a minute. Lime wedges?!
    😀 Yes, a wedge of lime. At our place, many of the beans and lentils are served with a piece of lime: chhole, and most dals. Varymuth used to be hard to fine here earlier…but now there is Durga Masale in INA!

    You may lessen the amount of dhaniya, I use home ground which a bit coarser and ‘fluffier’…the recipe is just a ‘concept’, all ingredients can be adjusted to preference and yet not lose the essence. I wrote it down this time since I had to write – who writes down such recipe otherwise!

  34. Here comes the elusive Gog! She’s going to cook you now!

    Somebody else got to him before I! It’s done!

  35. Am not a big fan of rajma chawal – but I do enjoy it as a variation from the routine… and I too have a friend who cannot touch food with her fingers… she can tear a roti with two hands (a complete no no in our house) and then lick both her hands clean, but she needs a spoon to eat.

    Then you must try this recipe…
    Using both hands for a roti will raise many eyebrows at our table too…but little ones are cut some slack (though reprimanded everyday with “you are old enough now to do this with one hand,” till they learn!).

  36. I love you for many reasons Anita, one of them is because you cook the exact food I loved when growing up and then inspire me to make it at home. Rajma rock and so do you my sweets!

    And your stamp of appoval makes me so happy about my adopted cuisine – the everyday Punjabi!

  37. is that the kerala matta rice that u paired the rajma with? i love rajma chawal but make it with the long beans … haven’t seen the kashmiri rajma here.

    This is Goan brown. I do have the other one too.😀

  38. […] Read the eulogy to Kashmiri rajma (red kidney beans) HERE. […]

    And it’s out!

  39. And it’s even better a day or two later! Lime wedges and ghee are a must-try- three huge fans of your recipe at this house! Congratulations.🙂

    You like, me happy!
    Should not skip the ghee, absolutely. Not in rajma. We can always run one lap extra, can’t we?

  40. Run?!!! I ought to try that sometime. Hmmm…

    “HERE, you see, it takes all the running YOU can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”😆

  41. My reaction to run was the same as Sri Gogji’s. But he stopped at that. I on the other hand need to make it clear that laps are meant for better things than running.

    Naughty, naughty….
    Pssst, like many ‘holy’ men, that Sri Gogji is a phoney. Beware.

  42. No! No! No! He’s just a man of many avatars. I like him.

    …they have their ways; their cult followers et cetera…Don’t tell me later I didn’t warn you.

  43. Very dry cookies you two are…😀 I just hope this is someone else’s dream, and when that person wakes up I’ll remember who I am…😉

    I put all that ghee and still it comes out dry; what to do.

  44. Hi Anita ,

    Really enjoy reading your blog , articulate , individualistic and spirited. What I appreciate the most are your efforts to capture the authenticity of recipes irrespective of the region they belong too without complicating them.
    Have been on a recipe trying spree from your blog, bharleli mirchi, gobhi aloo, garam masala, kheer, qabooli and Baingan ki boorani all have been great successes and I will certainly be making them again.
    Thanks, for posting them
    btw added a little ajwain to the tadka in the mirchi recipe , somehow I love the pairing of ajwain with besan and chilli and it also aids digestion if the besan-chilli combo gets a little heavy on the palate, okay I will confess considering its such a delicious recipe we may tend to over indulge🙂

    Bharati

    Hi Bharati! I am so happy to read all that! Who doesn’t like a little flattery?! (Though there is the Spider and the Fly example to warn us…)

    There are many elaborate and complicated recipes out there but you need a steely resolve to attempt them! I like to keep it simple. Then one can enjoy cooking on a regular basis, and may even occasionally attempt one of those 33-ingredients and 52-step recipes…

    Ajwain is, indeed, a great pairing with besan…I have a prantha that combines the two, and it is so good we have it practically on a daily basis! (And, yes, the digestive aid bit too…😀 ).

    Thanks for letting me know about the recipes you tried and that they worked out! You provide the test kitchens!

  45. Rajma seems to be one thing I’ve never experimented a lot with..but looking at this post, I feel its time!!

    -Mansi

    Do try! Though I don’t experiment much…😀

  46. Anita

    Varya muth caught my eye in this post. I have to look for them here. In Blr beans are not used much by locals. Are they know by any other name you know of?

    I tried your chole, first from the mela. They were absolutely lipsmacking and I made pooris too to go with it :D:

    You knew we would ask for the Rajma recipe too. Very intuitive;). I’ve eaten Rajma and onion cooked to mush with the tang from amchur. Its superb! Do try it.

  47. made this today, and drizzled some freshly made ghee on top. awesome. have a question. we halved the recipe and it still feeds an army. you say 3 cups for 6-8 people? they must be very hungry people.

    but then, we’re snacking all day. so when we sit down to eat, we’re half full.🙂

    Obviously our armies have different appetites!
    Did you have it with rice or roti? We need lots more with rice; this made exactly 7 portions for us😀 when served with nothing on the side. Who needs sides with rajma-chaval?!

  48. Thanks for the rajma recipe. You are becoming my go-to person for Punju food. Kids and DH loved it!!!
    😀 You are very welcome!

  49. Rajma Chawal is a gr8 combination. thats my fav. It also reminds me of a mexican dish called as Mexican Gumbo which i had recently in Qudoba, Ann arbor.Cant wait to try this out.

    Hi, Anjali: You’re right – we Indians love our beans and rice as much as the Mexicans do!

  50. Anita,i chanced upon your website when i was looking through internet to inspire me with cooking after a hard day at work. i just love your site. i insires with lovely pictures, recipes & interesting conversations with like-minded women. i was looking for a site that would show how fulfilling & inspiring & satisfying daily cooking can be …& your site just does that!…I LOVE IT!…THANKYOU!

    Welcome to the Party, Malini. Cooking can be quite therapeutic. We work hard to put food on the table; just a little bit of time and love can make that food truly rewarding!
    Thank you for your encouraging words!

  51. This is a fabulous recipe, took me right back to my mom, and Delhi:)
    Gosh I REALLY miss Delhi…
    It’s almost EXACTLY how my mom makes it, and made the house smell heavenly.

    It really is one of those soul-satisfying simple dishes!

  52. […] and tastier than those in the U.S. Even within varieties found in India, the smaller dark red Kashmiri variety just blows the others out of the […]

  53. Puhleeze puhleeze … at least call the dish by its proper name: raazma-bateh rather than the punjabi concoction of raajma-chawal. may give the non-kashmiris here a very wrong idea of what it tastes like, ’cause it’s nothing like the punjabi counterpart !

    The version presented here happens to be the Punjabi one, so the name is very much propah! The recipe uses onions and tomatoes, so very much the Punjabi ‘concoction’! Why, you don’t like the Punjabi version?!

  54. […] fry the onions and tomato paste well and I don’t use ready made puree. Then my dear friends Anita and Bee posted their versions of rajma which made me […]

  55. Hi Anita,
    I tried this recipe, and the rajma was just great, though it is a very different rajma(!) from what I had been eating all these years-which had Garam masala in it. This is a recipe for keeps for me. Another way to make rajma-each time differently!
    Janaki Turaga

  56. I tried this Rajma recipe and this is the best Rajma dish I have prepared. I was raised in the US and learned Indian cooking after marriage. Thank you for sharing your excellent recipes and tips on this website.

  57. Hi… how do you differentiate between cranberry beans and the chitre rajma? Did you find Cranberry beans in India? If you did, wd you know by what name it was called? Because I am looking for cranberry beans…pls help?

    meera

  58. Hi Anita,
    I love the amount of background info you always provide in your blog.

    Light vs dark… What is the difference between the dark and the light variety of rajma–are they interchangeable, regional variation, or personal preference? Which types do most Kashmiri and Punjabi cooks consider preferable?

    Interesting info on cranberry beans. My grandmother used to make them to accompany her famous cornbread… Yum, I can taste them now! I want to try your recipe for these too–looks very good.

    Jim

    There are hundreds of varieties of beans in India (as elsewhere, I am sure) and there was a time when you ate what grew locally! In the city today, the smaller but darker Kashmiri rajma seem to have the snob value; I like then all! Chitre rajma (cranberry beans) and Kashmiri rajma are popular in the North; these are also what can be called the local varieties. Then of course, there is varyamooth, very similar to what you call blackbeans, that is another bean (cooked very differently) that is also a favourite with a few.

    • Thanks Anita, I’ve been using light rajma in dal makhani and rajma dishes. I got some of the darker variety to try out based on your feedback.

      In southern Mexico, black beans are a staple, and they’re also easy to find in the US. I don’t imagine you have the additional ingredient in India, but they’re delicious cooked simply with white onion and an unusual herb called “epasote”. This herb resembles mint in appearance and has a strong, almost kerosene-like smell when raw, however it develops into a wonderful flavor when cooked into the beans. I’ve tried making the (US variety) black beans with Punjabi-type seasonings but it did not turn out well for me. They seem to have a more hearty, distinctive flavor than most indian dals/legumes, to my palate at least. I’ll try to find some varyamooth recipes and see if I can do better with them.

      Thanks & keep up the good work,
      -J

  59. […] but I was looking for some variation for change of taste. I absolutely loved this version from A Mad Tea Party, which is mildly spiced. I followed the instruction precisely and it turned out to be a very […]

  60. Thanks for sharing this recipe; found Kashmiri Razma beans in the Indian grocery and your recipe was perfect!

    Thank you for trying it out and your feedback!

  61. Anita – many thanks. Made this today, it was scrumptious. Fulfilled my long search for a perfect rajma recipe – delish and simple🙂 Thanks again!

    You are welcome, Anjali! Makes me happy that it turned out well for you! It really is such a simple dish with few ingredients.

  62. […] was the standard Kashmiri menu of roganjosh, paneer kaliya, monjji-haak, dum-olu, palak-mutter, rajma, and mujj-chetin, followed only a little later with a round of tea and an assortment of Kashmiri […]

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