I remember Rajma Chawal used to be one of our school lunches. Back in those days(OMG, I sound so old!)–ok let me rephrase that, when I was in school, lunch menu were not predetermined but would highly depend on the person preparing it. I used to love their rajma chawal and days that this dish was served I would buy lunch even though I would have boxed lunch from home. I was so obsessed that many a days I would walk home to forego my bus fare to buy lunch when rajma chawal was served. My sneaky mom found my secret and was so determined to replicate this recipe at home. I would commend her for her persistent trying, though the results were good, they were anything close to the ones I had at my school. I have tried numerous recipe in the past paying close attention to every single detail and following them to the T, but with no match to my school rajma. Today,when I was on my prowl in search of a good recipe I came across this one and was so skeptical to try this recipe because it called for adding raw onions and all the ingredients to be pressure cooked along with rajma. Out of morbid curiosity I gave this recipe a try, I was so glad with the results as they tasted exactly like my school rajma that I ended up being nostalgic with all my childhood memories. Many times simple things bring great pleasure, this simple recipe did it for me today.
Few pointers for getting a perfect rajma, soak the dried kidney beans in warm water for at least 8 to 10 hours. I do it overnight and cook them in the morning. A well cooked rajma is easy to digest too;) This recipe can be made in a slow cooker if you do not have pressure cooker. Although using a pressure cooker is easier way to cook this recipe, these beans can be cooked in a pot but would take 1-2 hours to get the same results. As a variation chole (garbanzo beans) can be substituted for kidney beans. I’ve not tried it but they should taste as delicious as this one. Enjoy!!!
- Rajma/Red Kidney Beans -- 1.5 cups (soaked overnight in warm water)
- Onions -- 1 cup (finely chopped)
- Medium Sized Tomatoes (preferably ripe) -- 4-5
- Ginger Paste -- 1 tsp
- Garlic Paste -- 1/2 tsp
- Green Chillies -- 1 or 2 (finely chopped)
- Cumin Seeds -- 1 tsp
- Red Chilli Powder -- 1 tsp (as per preference)
- Turmeric Powder -- 1/2 tsp
- Salt -- as per taste
- Butter or Ghee -- 3 Tbsp
- Punjabi Garam Masala Powder -- 1 tsp
- Dry Mango Powder/Amchur Powder -- 1 tsp
- Water -- 6 to 7 cups
- Coriander leaves/Cilantro -- for garnish
- In a big bowl soak rajma in warm water for at least 8 to 10 hours or overnight. In the morning drain the soaked rajma and rinse once.
- In a pressure cooker, add drained and rinsed rajma, onions, tomatoes, ginger paste, garlic paste, green chillies, cumin, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, salt, oil/butter/ghee. Do not add garam masala powder and dry mango powder now.
- Add 6 to 7 cups of water (adjust amount of water if needed) and mix everything together. Cover the lid of the pressure cooker and cook for 20 to 25 minutes. Check if the rajma is cooked well, if not return the pressure cooker back to the flame and cook until its done.
- Once the rajma is cooked, add garam masala powder, amchur/dry mango powder and mix. If the gravy is dry add more water and cook in low flame for 10 minutes. Check the taste of the gravy and adjust the spice as per preference. Cook for additional 5 minutes if needed.
- If the gravy is very watery then mash few cooked kidney beans and cook until the gravy thickens. This dish should neither be too water nor too dry but of a smooth consistency. Serve hot with rice or roti. Enjoy!!!
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