May 29, 2009

Cooking Rajma (red kidney beans) in the cooker

I have to admit, all my attempts to make rajma in the past have been disastrous. It would either be a clumpy mess or so full of spices and ginger-garlic-onion paste that you couldn’t taste the yummy beans.
On my last visit to India, my mom made yummy rajma curry in the pressure cooker and her secret she told me was just onion, tomatoes and rajma masala.
I am not a stickler for following any recipe step by step, so of course I had to make my own modification. But the end result was worth it and I know my mom will be proud.
I used MDH Rajma masala that I found in our Indian grocery store but my mom tells me, Averest or Dash brands are also good for this recipe.
Since I have to do the dishes here instead of a maid coming twice a day in India, I try to use as little pots and pans as possible. This recipe works great if you have a 3 liter pressure cooker.


1 cup Rajma, soaked overnight in 3 cups of water
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
1 tsp Rajma masala
1 tsp corrainder – cumin powder
½ tsp Red chilli powder

Heat the pressure cooker pan and sauté the onions in 1 tbsp of oil till they are soft and translucent. Add the Rajma masala and coriander-cumin powder. Sauté on low heat for a minute till the raw smell of the spices turns fragrant.
Add the tomatoes and let them soften on medium heat. Add some salt to release the juices. This should take about 7 – 10 minutes.
Turn off the heat and transfer this mixture to a blender. Let it cool before you process it.
Meanwhile, cook the soaked rajma beans in the pressure cooker for about 4-5 whistles. Turn off the heat and wait for the pressure to cool off.
After opening the cooker, add the pureed onion-tomato paste to the beans and stir to mix. Put the lid back on for one more whistle.
As soon as you can open the lid, Rajma is ready.
Serve with rotis, naans or rice.
One word of caution though. Wait for a few minutes before you taste it to adjust salt. I tried to taste it the minute the cooker opened. A bean burst in my teeth and the steam burnt the roof of my mouth. But the curry was worth it.

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