Third time lucky

Mallika Basu - Third time lucky

Posted 10th January 2007

rajmah.jpgMuch as I’d love to pretend that I effortlessly churn out recipe after recipe in my cool-as-ice monochrome kitchen, the truth is somewhat different.

Every now and again, my patience is severely tested with recipes that won’t, for the love of food or money, work! Rajmah was one of them.

I had to make it three times before it came out the way I wanted – too much tomato the first time and too much onion the second. This could have been a real deterrent to future attempts. But what’s a bit of extra tomato or onion when you love eating curry?

I was fixated on Rajmah because of Mangs. In the early days of my blog, Mangs took to trying out virtually every vegetarian recipe I posted despite being a self proclaimed cooking hater. She’s been fairly quiet lately so I hope she hasn’t lost interest.

In a bid to revive her interest, I am responding to her request for a recipe for Rajmah, a wholesome red kidney bean curry that is hugely popular in North India.

Perhaps she’s just away and I am overreacting? The effort would still be worth it, though. I think…

In my recipe, I use canned kidney beans because cooking them from scratch is not quick and . The dark black colour when cooking it from dry beans be missing, but you will get to see your favourite reality TV programme so what the heck.

This recipe serves 3. You can use as much water or as little water as you like to get the consistency you prefer:

240gm tin kidney beans (drained weight)
Half an onion, chopped fine
1 large tomato, roughly chopped
2″ ginger
4 garlic cloves
2 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp cummin powder
Half tsp black pepper
Half tsp chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
Half tsp garam masala
Whole spices: 1 bay leaf, 4 cardamoms, 4 cloves, 1″ cinnamon
1 tbsp sunflower oil
Water, as needed
Salt to taste

Mince the ginger and garlic in a food processor. Heat the oil and add the whole spices. When they sizzle up, add the onion, ginger and garlic and fry until golden brown.

Add all the dry powdered spices, apart from the garam masala powder. Fry for five minutes and add the chopped tomato.

Fry this masala mixture until the pungent aroma of the spices goes. Then add water to cover, lower the ehat and simmer until you see oil coming out in little pores in the mixture.

Now, drain the tin of red kidney beans and add it to the masala. Stir, add water to cover and simmer until you can smell the beans in the mixure and the onions disintegrate.

To finish, mix in the garam masala and salt. Serve hot with anything you like.

21 responses to “Third time lucky”

  1. Asha says:

    Yummy dish! I love it.I have it too!:)) Enjoy the Rajma with rice unlike me who thought you eat it with Parathas!Got scolded by some Punjabi readers and had to pay penalty by making Spinach Pakodas for them!:D:D

  2. I’ve been having a craving for Rajmah – I will give this a try!

  3. Trupti says:

    I can never get this dish right.(darn Gujju habit of adding sugar to everything)… I gave up…BUT will try your version since it worked for you…and thanks for liking my new look on my blog.


  4. Mangs says:

    mallika! what are the CHANCES i got bored? pretty slim,i’d say! i’ve just been.. stocking up. i’ve bought now green moong, yellow moong, rajma, chana daal and red daal, toor daal… JUST SO i cd make diff lentils everyday… plus green chillies plus frozen spinach..all before reading your last two posts.. so yes, i continue to be.. a faithful reader and a faithful step-by-step follower. i’m so happy about the rajma recipe but have to say more happy about the spinach… because i have my new frozen spinach to try out! yay!

  5. Scott says:

    I’ll be trying this out this weekend. You should write a cookbook- I’ve got a big stack of printed recipes from your site. Having it all bound together on nice paper would be so much better. It’s an underserved market too- all the Indian cookbooks I have are full of recipes that start out with things like “soak the dal for 3 hours”. Not very useful when you’re looking for something to make at 7:00pm.

  6. Mangs says:

    exactly. i’ve only been saying that for 3 months now. not just those heading home at 7; but hapless students just disembarked on foreign soil as well. Call the British Council and have them add the site on their (useless, thus far) final checklist for students brochure, is what i say!

  7. Mallika says:

    I would love to write a cookbook Scott and Mangs. Any publishers listening????

    Thanks for your kind words – almost helped me forget I was ageing.

  8. Mangs says:

    ps: this was lovely but i made mine too dry

  9. Sach says:

    Wanted to throw something together for my mum as she is working late tonight and I had the day off and stumbled upon your site (and this recipe!) worked out really well.. lets hope she likes it!! Thanks! Great site too!

  10. Marc says:

    I tried this tonight with my Pepper Chicken Curry from your other post. It turned out WAY better than the chicken did, and the chicken was awesome.

    I did a little last minute improv with this though. I wanted it to be a thicker sauce than it was shaping up to be (I did control the amount of water I added, but it was still coming out thinner than I wanted), so I pureed some kidney beans and added them to the pan to help it thicken up.

    Voila! It turned out great!! My wife and I were VERY impressed with the flavors.

    At the very end, when I added the garam masala and the salt, I fished out the whole spices so there weren’t any surprises… I don’t like those whole spice surprises…

    Thanks again!! Can’t wait to try more!


  11. jessica says:

    dyamm ppl how water do i add…goshhhh..???

  12. Judy says:

    I LOVE this dish. Thank you! It made 3 tasty lunches and so inexpensive, too. Love your blog, have tried several recipes and enjoyed them all.

  13. elizabeth says:

    This was so yummy and quick! It was so good and it was a great ‘meatless’ meal! Mallika, your recipes look so great! I will be coming back for more… Thanks for the comment- it was like gold to me!!

  14. Jamie Collins says:

    Now I soaked the beans last night and cooked them in the morning with the pressure cooker.
    What do I do with them? So good old internet the packet had the Indian name of Rajma(red) I guessed correctly it was red beans – they look red la. In seconds I have numerous recipes at hand, yours was a quick meal so in no time Rajma Vindaloo, I might of added a little more chillie powder and the two green chillies just for luck. Being greedy yes used all the onion!! Now it’s a toss between my home made chappati or usual rice ooorrrr both. Might just call this chilli con carne with a kick….

  15. Shelley says:

    Delish! Exactly what I was craving. Savory, spicy, perfect! Thank you for the fast and easy recipe.

  16. stephane says:

    A classic! I love it. I just made it for the Nth time and I know its gonna be delicious. I can’t find good bread to go with it in beijing so I just serve with a simple green peas/curry leaves pulao.

    I usually double it. I just double everything and adjust the water to make sure the texture is good, I like it quite thick.

  17. Gulia says:

    Can i eat this with chapati instead of rice? Is it will be still tasty?

  18. Bibaswan says:

    Hi, I was looking for some easy and fast recipe for lunch with beans, and I chanced upon your recipe. It is brilliant!! Only changes I made: added potatoes( yes I am a potato addict), and some paprika, a bit of cajun spice( big fan of that too) and a little bit of crushed oregano. It was so good I started eating this straight off the pan! 😀

    Thank for sharing this. Awesome stuff!

  19. hemangini says:

    I’m still reading ten years later 🙂
    … and following!

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