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Homestyle Rajma Masala Curry

Homestyle Rajma Masala Curry

Rajma Masala Curry Recipe

A flavorful, simply-made bowl of rajma masala with fresh roti. Be ready for a creamy, not-too-spicy dish with a dollop of cream and a fried chili on top.

Rajma Masala is a popular North Indian dish made with red kidney beans. The beans are soaked overnight, then cooked to a creamy consistency in a spicy and tangy tomato-based gravy. It’s typically served with rice and commonly referred to as “Rajma Chawal” where “Chawal” means rice.

We are a family of dal-lovers. We were also a family who took many short road-trips, to get out of the city and feed some fresh air into our lungs when I was a kid. It was during one of those trips at a roadside dhaba, I ate the most flavorful and simply-made bowl of rajma with fresh roti from a tandoor. It was all that was promised – creamy, not-too-spicy and with a big dollop of cream and fried chili on top. I was an enthusiastic 11-year old, discovering new food (with the help of my mother) and that combination simply bowled me over. I still remember my school friends from Northern part of India just couldn’t understand the zealousness and what was such a big deal about it!

Until today, the memories of that first bite are fresh and this recipe for red beans curry with rice or bread is (and will be) my absolute definition for comfort food.

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Rajma Masala Curry Recipe


Step by Step Guide to Making Rajma Masala Curry


  1. Preparation of Beans:

    • For dried beans: Wash and rinse the beans 2-3 times and soak them overnight. The next day, drain and rinse again. Pressure cook with the green tea bag and whole spices for 3-4 whistles or until the beans are tender but still holding their shape. Once pressure releases, discard the tea bag and spices. Reserve the cooking liquid.
    • For canned beans: Drain the canning liquid and rinse the beans thoroughly before proceeding.

  2. Preparation of Masala Base:

    • In a pan on a low-medium flame, melt the butter. Add cumin seeds and hing. As they begin to sizzle, add onions. Sauté for a couple of minutes, then add the ginger-garlic paste and green chili. Continue to fry for another minute.
    • Introduce the spices: turmeric, salt, red chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala, and mango powder. Mix.
    • Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato puree. Cook until the tomatoes break down, forming a mushy consistency.

  3. Adding Beans and Liquid:

    • Pour in the reserved cooking liquid (about a cup). If using canned beans, use water or stock.
    • Add the beans and mix. Simmer on low heat for 5-6 minutes.

  4. Creating a Creamy Consistency:

    • Take a small portion of the simmering curry, cool it slightly, and blend into a fine paste. This helps thicken the curry.
    • Return the paste to the pot and mix. Stir in the cream. Adjust the consistency by adding more or less liquid as desired. Cover and simmer on low heat for 10-15 minutes.

  5. Serving:

    • Transfer to a bowl. Garnish with additional cream (if desired), coriander leaves, and fried green chilies. Serve with rice or roti, complemented by raw onion and lemon wedges.

Rajma Masala Curry Recipe

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Rajma Masala Curry Recipe

Homestyle Rajma Masala


  • Author: Siri Pulipaka
  • Total Time: 8 hours 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x

Description

A flavorful, simply-made bowl of rajma with fresh roti. Be ready for a creamy, not-too-spicy dish with a dollop of cream and a fried chili on top. Prep Time: 24 hours (if using dried beans).


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 cup dried red kidney beans (or use canned beans if short on time)
  • Whole spices: 1 small cinnamon stick, 3-4 whole black peppercorns, 1 bay leaf, 1 green cardamom, 2 cloves
  • 1 green tea bag
  • 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 green chili, chopped
  • 23 tbsp butter (or oil)
  • A pinch of hing (asafoetida)
  • 2 small or 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium-sized tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp red chili powder (preferably Kashmiri red chili powder)
  • 1 tsp mango powder (amchur)
  • 23 tbsp cream
  • Cilantro/coriander leaves (for garnish)
  • 2 slit, fried green chilies (for garnish)
  • Salt to taste
  • Water

Instructions

  1. Preparation of Beans:
    • For dried beans: Wash and rinse the beans 2-3 times and soak them overnight. The next day, drain and rinse again. Pressure cook with the green tea bag and whole spices for 3-4 whistles or until the beans are tender but still holding their shape. Once pressure releases, discard the tea bag and spices. Reserve the cooking liquid.
    • For canned beans: Drain the canning liquid and rinse the beans thoroughly before proceeding.
  2. Preparation of Masala Base:
    • In a pan on a low-medium flame, melt the butter. Add cumin seeds and hing. As they begin to sizzle, add onions. Sauté for a couple of minutes, then add the ginger-garlic paste and green chili. Continue to fry for another minute.
    • Introduce the spices: turmeric, salt, red chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala, and mango powder. Mix.
    • Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato puree. Cook until the tomatoes break down, forming a mushy consistency.
  3. Adding Beans and Liquid:
    • Pour in the reserved cooking liquid (about a cup). If using canned beans, use water or stock.
    • Add the beans and mix. Simmer on low heat for 5-6 minutes.
  4. Creating a Creamy Consistency:
    • Take a small portion of the simmering curry, cool it slightly, and blend into a fine paste. This helps thicken the curry.
    • Return the paste to the pot and mix. Stir in the cream. Adjust the consistency by adding more or less liquid as desired. Cover and simmer on low heat for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Serving:
    • Transfer to a bowl. Garnish with additional cream (if desired), coriander leaves, and fried green chilies. Serve with rice or roti, complemented by raw onion and lemon wedges.

Notes

While it is ideal to use all the spices in this recipe, you can make some substitutions if you cannot find these:

  1. Hing (Asafoetida):
    • This has a distinct flavor, but if unavailable, you can use a combination of minced garlic and onion (a small amount) to approximate its unique taste.
  2. Green Cardamom:
    • You can substitute with an equal amount of ground cardamom. If neither is available, it’s okay to skip. The flavor will be slightly different, but the dish will still be delicious.
  3. Mango Powder (Amchur):
    • This provides a tangy flavor. You can replace it with an equivalent amount of lemon or lime juice or even a little tamarind paste.
  4. Garam Masala Powder:
    • Garam Masala is a blend of various spices. If you can’t find it, you can make a simple one at home by blending cumin, coriander, cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon, and cloves. Alternatively, a mix of ground cumin and ground coriander can work as a basic substitute.
  5. Kashmiri Red Chili Powder:
    • This is known for its vibrant color and milder heat. You can substitute with a mix of paprika (for color) and cayenne pepper (for heat), adjusting to your preference.
  • Prep Time: 480 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Stewing
  • Cuisine: Indian

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/4
  • Calories: 310
  • Sugar: 6g
  • Sodium: 480mg
  • Fat: 12g
  • Saturated Fat: 6g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 5g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 40g
  • Fiber: 10g
  • Protein: 12g
  • Cholesterol: 25mg

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