Simple Rajma Curry

Rajma is a popular North Indian vegetarian dish consisting of red kidney beans in thick gravy. They are cooked along with onions and tomatoes in array of aromatic spices.  Served along with rice (Rajma Chawal) or roti it is touted as a favorite comfort food. 

I have posted one version of Rajma before; now this one is rich as it has paneer/ cashew paste in it and is comparatively complicated. So this is something which I won’t make it on a weeknight.   I taste is awesome though and I reserve it for special days or on days when we have guests at home. 

This version is however a simple home style Rajma curry that can be put together quickly even on week nights. The recipe inspiration for this came from my colleague when she had brought Rajma Roti for lunch. What impressed me was the fact that there was no overwhelming usage of spices, but just tomato onion gravy, laden with lots of ginger garlic giving it a warm appealing taste. Let us just say to maintain some civility I had to use all my will power to stop myself from finishing off her lunch box. :-) 

Note: There are three different types of kidney beans; I use the dark red smaller variety. They are easy to handle and cook much faster.

Serves: 3-4 

Ingredients:

   

 

  • 1 cup Red Kidney beans/ Rajma  [ I use the small variety]
  • 1 onion (peeled and chopped)
  • 2-3 ripe tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp ginger + garlic paste
  • 2-3 green chillies slit
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder (optional)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp dhaniya powder/ coriander powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 2 tsp butter (optional)
  • Coriander leaves for garnish 

Method: 

  • Wash and soak rajma for at least for 6-8 hours. (Kidney beans will get double in size after soaking).
  • Pressure cook the soaked rajma in about 3 cups of water until rajma it is soft (but still retains its shape). Do not drain the stock as it can be used for the gravy.
  • Heat oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds. Add ginger garlic paste and fry till it is cooked.
  • Then add the chopped onions, green chillies and sauté it till the onions turns to golden brown.
  • Add chopped tomatoes for a minute then add the cumin powder, garam masala powder, chilli powder (optional) and coriander powder and sauté it till tomatoes become soft.
  • Add the boiled water to this. Then add the boiled rajma to this along with salt. If needed add more water to this.
  • Cover it with lid and let it simmer it for 20 minutes stirring in between.
  • Garnish it with few chopped coriander leaves and serve with hot rice or rotis/chapathis.

Easy Chickpeas Salad


Off late we have been experiencing moderate weather unlike the scorching heat we get during this time of the year. It does not mean that we are completely out of the woods yet, there are some spikes and we still have days on which the temperature climbs over the 100F. On such days, I don’t feel like staying in the kitchen more that I have to and I resort to quick and easy salads of this type for lunch/dinner. 

With good amount of protein and fiber this salad is a winner. I love the colorful and healthy combination of beans and veggies. Onion and pepper add good crunch and complement the soft garbanzo. The tomatoes and cheese add the right amount of sweet and tanginess making it very flavorful. 

This salad is pretty versatile, so you can add any veggies or fruits to cater to your taste. You can add cucumbers, chopped celery, grated carrots, apple, pomegranate etc. 

 Apart from this method, I sometimes give this salad an Indian twist. I sprinkle some chaat masala alogng with red tamarind chutney and green chutney (instead of lemon and cheese). Let me warn you the taste is pretty addictive that you will not believe that you are actually eating a salad.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chick peas/garbanzo (rinsed and drained )
  • 1/2 cup red onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup red pepper chopped (optional)
  • 1 jalapeno seeded and chopped
  • 1 tomato (seeded and chopped )
  • handful cilantro, chopped
  • 1-2 Tbsp feta cheese
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice/vinegar
  • Salt to taste
  • ¼ tsp Pepper powder /crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbsp oil

 

Method:

  • If using canned chickpeas then drain the liquid and rinse the beans. Drain water completely.
  • Else you can soak the chickpeas overnight and pressure cook the next day. Drain the cooked liquid (or use it for something else) and use only the cooked beans.
  • In a big bowl add the veggies first and toss it gently. Add the chickpeas, cilantro and combine them.
  • Add salt, lemon juice, pepper powder and stir well.
  • Let it sit aside for an hour or so, so that veggies soak up all the goodness. Sprinkle the cheese before serving.

 

Cabbage Rice – a lunch box recipe


I am usually on the lookout for new and interesting ideas to pack for my lunch. I prefer light lunches that way I continue feeling alert in the afternoons. 

This rice recipe with cabbage works well, as it is light and not too heavy. It is easy to make and does not take a long time. If there is some left over rice from the previous night, then this gets done in a jiffy. All that is needed is to season and sauté the vegetables and then mix the powder and rice. 

I use the readymade MTR brand Vaangi Bhaat powder (easily available in the Indian store) for this dish. It is so flavorful and enhances the taste of cooked vegetables. Some people, who do not like cabbage, prefer eating this rice without problems. In this dish I do not add onions or garlic or tomatoes, but you can add it if you choose to. 

I change the vegetable depending on what is available in the fridge it could be capsicum, cabbage, eggplant, potato or even carrots.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rice (raw)
  • 3 cups finely chopped cabbage
  • 1 Tbsp vaangi bhat powder ( I use MTR brand readymade)
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 Tbsp urad daal
  • 2 Tbsp peanuts
  • 5-10 curry leaves
  • 2 Tbsp coriander leaves (for garnish)
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp jeera seeds
  • Juice of half lemon (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • Salt to taste 

Method:

  • Cook the rice separately either on stove top or pressure cooker using enough water. Make sure it cooks well without getting mushy.
  • Take a plate and spread out the rice, add little oil and make sure there are no lumps.
  •  Heat a big skillet on medium and add oil on medium heat. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves and urad daal.
  • After the urad daal is very lightly cooked add the peanuts and roast until it becomes crispy.
  • Add the chopped cabbage, salt to this and stir. Cover with lid and let it cook.
  • Add the chilli powder, vaangi bhaat powder and mix again. Again little oil if it is too dry.
  •  Add the rice and mix thoroughly. Cover the lid and let it cook for a minute or so. 
  • Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and juice of lemon (optional). Serve hot.
  • Tastes delicious as is or with side of raita and some roasted pappad.