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

Cranberry Beans

In Kashmiri, Low Fat, Potatoes, Under 30 min!, Vegetarian on November 12, 2009 at 7:46 pm

cranberry beans

It’s nippy tonight – it has snowed in the mountains and it is raining in Delhi.  Some beans and rice is just what I would like…

I was lucky to get a little of the stash of fresh cranberry beans that a cousin brought over from a visit to the valley and shared with my mom who, indulgently, shared it further with me.  I had never seen these beans fresh before.  They are called thool razma in Kashmiri. Much rounder than the regular kidney beans, they do indeed, resemble tiny spotted eggs!  I had never cooked with them or even eaten fresh ones before so I asked my mom for some general directions.  She suggested I cook them with potatoes using the usual Kashmiri combination of fennel and dried ginger powder.

cranberry beansUnfortunately that week I got no time to try offbeat stuff.  I was too busy even to photograph these prettiest of beans – those specks of pink-purple are rather attractive.  You would have agreed had I a picture of them before the yellowing.  The pods were getting squishy sitting inside the plastic bag.  It was no way to treat beans that were obviously special.  So, I shelled them and held them in the fridge one day more.

The next day I was determined to do justice to my exotic vegetables.  Each quince got the attention that is rightfully its royal due.  As did this cupful of cranberry beans.  After the marmalade was done, I put the beans and potatoes to cook on one burner while on the other I made short work of the last quince which was cooked with eggplant for a most satisfying bumtchoonth wangun.

The beans too turned out really well. These are very starchy; just how I like my beans! As I chatted with mom on the phone about the recipe she informed that my Nani would add a little yoghurt while cooking and I could imagine how that would be good. Who knows what else she omitted to tell me! I, of course, unlike my secretive but well-meaning mother, have not held back any ingredients. Before I forget the recipe I share it with you here.  And it is just in time for Sra’s Legume Love Affair too, which started at The Well-Seasoned Cook.

cranberry beans with potatoes

Fresh Cranberry Beans with Potatoes
(serves 2 – notice how my cooking portions have reduced? Symptom of empty-nest syndrome 😦 )

1 C shelled cranberry beans
1 potato, peeled and cubed
1 onion, chopped (about 1/2 C)
1 tomato, chopped (about 1/4-1/3 C)
1/2 t saunth (dried ginger) powder
1 T saunf (fennel) powder
1 1/2 t coriander powder
1 1/2 t red chilli powder
1/2 t turmeric powder
1 T yoghurt (optional)
1 T mustard oil (or peanut oil)
1/2 t garam masala (optional)

a yummy Kashmiri mealCook the shelled beans with a little water. You can do this by simmering in a pan till tender or, as I did, by cooking in a pressure cooker for 10 min.

Heat oil in a pressure cooker. Saute onions till pink. Add tomatoes and cook till the mixture has browned and the oil separates. Add all the powdered spices and stir till they are lightly roasted. Quickly add yoghurt (if using) or some water to prevent spices from burning. Add the cubed potatoes and the cooked beans and about a cup or cup-and-a-half of water. Add salt and give everything a stir. Close the lid of the cooker and pressure-cook on medium heat for 10 min. Turn heat off. Once the pressure has subsided remove the lid and stir in the garam masala. Add more water as needed – the dish should not be watery but have a thick gravy. Serve over steamed white rice.

  1. I love the new look of the site! The floods happened as I was making pakoda for your party. Anyway, I have seen these beans in the market and wondered how to cook them. I like this and will surely pick up these beans going forward. They are indeed very pretty! 🙂

    Empty Nest syndrome? 😛 Didn’t you sometimes wish it was like this? 😀

    We missed you at the party…

    Yes, being just the two at home has its pluses too! 😀

  2. Cheer up Anita, I bet sonny is have fun at college. The beans and potatoes looks good. I saw this beans fresh about 2 summers ago in a market here and from then on though I am looking have not found them.
    They turn orangish when cooked right?

    He is having fun, which is a good thing. It is finals week and he will be home soon!

    These beans do turn the usual boring brown on cooking, but the taste is unique.

  3. You got these beauties in the beans!! Amazing! Agree with you completely on starchy beans :).

    🙂 And you must tell us how Punjabis cook these!

    • Punjabis cook these just like you make rajma aloo ;). As in, your recipe minus the fennel and ginger powders, add chopped ginger to the tadka for a good measure. I love how your recipe is a beautiful synthesis of the Kashmiri (saunf and saunth)and Punju (onions and aloo) cooking. But seriously these and the dark chitre rajma are a rarity these days 😦

      Oh yes, I ought to have added some ghee! Or, ought not?! 🙂
      This fusion worked super well! I think the other varieties are now available only locally which means probably, just in the mountains. As long as they keep growing them and we still have the diversity preserved…

    • Oh! and tadka with ghee and jeera will take it to another level :).

  4. The saddest part about these beans is that the prettiness vanishes after you cook them and they turn plain. We get a double-bean variety in the Khadi outlet here which have splashes of maroon-purple against cream – cook them and they’re plain vanilla. The dish looks really good, it’s calling out to me to make it 🙂

    Yup, they do look like humdrum beans once cooked…but can beans ever be hundrum! Try them this way – good change, I assure you.

  5. Thool razma is my absolute absolute favorite. They taste so yumm and the fact that they are so hard to come by makes me want to NOT share them with anyone 🙂
    I had no idea what they were called in english. How did you figure that out?

    Google to the rescue! 🙂
    Now we have to find out which grocer Janaki is talking about so we too can get hold of some dried thool razma!

  6. Hi Anita
    Loving the new look! Really enjoyed last two posts as I’ve just come back from a friend’s wedding in Kashmir. We ate quince as part of the Wazwan – one person called it ‘fire apple’ and am now kiking myself for not bringing some back. I’m intrigued by the Cranberry Beans – I think they’re what we call Borlotti Beans in Europe

    Wow – you got to attend a wedding in Kashmir – lucky you! I haven’t been able to set foot in my homeland for almost 20 years!
    Can’t imagine you didn’t take your chance at picking some choicest quince! Well, at least you got to eat some!
    I Googled…looks like you are right about these being called borlotti beans in Europe.

  7. Thats looks enchanting. I remember seeing these beans somewhere but by what you describe it might have happened only in my dreams. The rice, the quince curry and the bean-potato curry all looks like a great feast Anita!

    You could very well have seen the dried ones…those can travel far away from the Himalayan region! It all made for a memorable meal.

  8. This is exactly what I’m going to make for dinner tonight. I have dried cranberry beans, which of course, won’t taste anything like the fresh ones, but it can’t be bad either.

    Dried are good enough. How did they turn out?

  9. Oh, finally! 🙂 I’ve been waiting for the Kashmiri razma recipe for a long, long time…I even tried using the masala from tcharvan-olu once, but it didn’t come out quite right(apparently, what balances liver overpowers a legume), but this is just perfect: delicate sweet-sour from bhuno’d onion-tomato and yoghurt, some lightly-roasted coriander seeds…absolutely lovely, and it’s nipply here too so you can be sure I’ll give this a run before long! 😉

    Don’t worry too much about the smaller quantities: before long your house will be full again I am sure, so enjoy while it lasts! 🙂

    This was actually my unauthentic recipe – a combination of the Punjabi and Kashmiri methods and spices! A very happy marriage indeed! Did you try?

    It took quite some time to learn to cook for just the two of us (instead of four) and not have leftovers for days. But, the son is headed home soon for all of 5 weeks! And not long after that, FIL will be back too.

  10. Hi Anita,
    I got some dried thool razma and dried tomatoes from the nearby Kashmiri shop and some incredibly pungent(mahekdaar!)heeng too. I was wondering whether I could use the dried tomatoes with the dried thool razma, and whether this is a Kashmiri way of cooking.

    Gosh, tell us who your grocer is! Isn’t that heeng something?!
    Kashmiris do use dried vegetables in the lean winter months and tomatoes are one of them. I am sure it will be a great addition of flavour – if you do, do tell us how you liked it!

    • Hi Anita,
      Tried the dried thool razma and it was very very nice. This recipe is for keeps! And uses only dried spices! So very easy to make too. Next round I will try with the dried tomatoes and will then let you know how the dish turns out.
      My Kashmiri grocer caters to the sizeable Kashmiri population in my colony in Gurgaon. So he stocks lots of Kashmiri stuff-including Veri masala! We also have a nanwai too who makes lovely Kashmiri biscuits and breads. I have tried few-very nice!
      Thanks for sharing this recipe-it is a fantastic one!

  11. u r so right about the weather,..beans are totally new for me ,..look yum,..

    Beans and rice make a great meal for winter! It seems we should be able to find them, at least the dried kind, around us if we look hard enough!

  12. Sometimes when the daughter keeps me awake almost all night, I wonder how it will be when I get my life back after 18 years … Im sure I’ll miss her terribly then, but until then be or not to be 🙂

    I just loves me my beans and I can just imagine the gorgeous color before the yellowing … loving the recipe, with potatoes that too .. ah, bliss!

    Yes, you will miss her terribly! Much before she is 18 too… 🙂 Enjoy it while it lasts!

  13. I am now inclined to make varyamuth for dinner tonight!!

    ‘Tis the season! With some turnips maybe!

  14. came across your site thru sheetal’s, your name & u r from delhi made me look at your profile which said architect made me think u might be my school friend anita……but no regrets I found a good blog, specially from delhi-ite. I’ll be back.

    So, I guess, we are not classmates then?
    Thanks for stopping by, Spice.

  15. You’d have thought I would’ve caught that! I forget about the no onions-garlic thing in Kashmiri cuisine… nice fusion here! I just made a simple lobia- onion tadke, plus haldi-adrak-lal mirch; when that’s over, I’ll give this thool razma-olu recipe a whirl. Didn’t an Umrikani gentleman send you these very beans awhile back? 😀

    When I received them I didn’t even realise I have had them before! 🙂 But, truthfully, I made the connection only after I did the search for ‘pink striated beans!’ The beans did get recorded on the blog in that post on rajma… I ought to add ‘thool razma’ to it!

  16. They’re so beautiful

    Even though not the freshest they could have been…

  17. Made this yesterday; I was torn between using Kashmiri or Punjabi G.M….so I used 1/4t of each, and also broke into the ghee-jar for a little dabbing- way yum, Anita!

    🙂 Thank you! A happy fusion, isn’t it! But then the two states have been good neighbours with a lot of interaction…Kashmir was ruled by the Sikhs for a long time and there is much brotherhood.
    I rarely have ready Kashmiri Garam masala and susbstitute with Punjabi all the time, with an additional dash of cinnamon! But have been thinking about keeping some handy – will get to it this week.

  18. Guess..first time here, you have a great space with all exciting recipes…will be visiting often:)

    Thanks for sharing such wonderful recipes:)

  19. You made me grow radish pods this year so that I could try your recipe. And now seeing those cranberry beans with rice, I cant resist it. So I guess you will make me grow cranberry beans next year. My favourites from your blog are baakar bhaji, collard greens and radish pods. Thanks for your wonderful blog. Always a pleasure to read your post.

  20. That sounds funny.
    I mean when we say “thodasa dal chawal khaneka ichha ho raha hai” its OK but when we make the literal translation “feel like having beans and rice ????”

    • Welcome to the party, Joe! I am known to throw my weight around here and scare some of Anita’s readers from time to time. But since this blog was mine for a day, I kinda think I have that right!

      Speaking of literal translations, are we discussing what you translated? Hmmm. Sure, dal starts off as beans, but they have usually been hulled and/or split since. To me, dal does not translate to beans, especially literally.

      Ever heard of the expression rajma chawal – Anita will say razma – but what the heck. She says writes zeera for jeera but let’s not hold that against her. 😀

      Also, did you know that beans and rice is staple food for several cultures? Esp Latin America, even though rice is not native to that continent. Interesting, huh?

      Always good to have one more party-goer who jumps right in. Sri Gogji will make an appearance soon enough, as will all his other evil siblings, I am pretty sure! 😀

      • I do not visit here often, but being a Kashmiri who misses Kashmiri food sometimes I substitute by reading.
        In Kashmiri, rajmah is razma and jeera is zeera. It is actually zyur, so Anita is being very accomodating in calling it zeera.

    • I really am not sure what you are alluding to here, Joe – the expression “beans and rice” is pretty staple (standard) English as far as I know, and not a translation of dal-chawal.

  21. u and indo are my bean goddesses. I always find out one more new beans from u!! u think this recipe will work with any other beans? i moved and now indian stores are not so close that i read a blog and go running to buy it!!

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