Kaddu Rajma: Pumpkin with Red Kidney Beans

1 Aug

Kaddu Rajma - Pumpkin Red Kidney Bean Curry

Pumpkin (kaddu) and red kidney beans (rajma) make a hearty, richly flavored kaddu rajma curry. Dry red chilies give it heat, tamarind lends it tang, jaggery balances it all.

Pumpkin is so versatile that, even when pairing up within the legume family, it can take on entirely different avatars depending on which legume, what recipe. "Will you get together with the pliant yellow moong in a sambar-like curry?" Yes says the pumpkin, and becomes pumpkin moong dal. "Will you combine with the dense kidney bean in a Bengali-spiced curry?" Yes agan, says the pumpkin, and morphs into the dish I’m writing about today.

Pumpkin Red Kidney Bean

You Need:

  • Pumpkin – 400 grams
  • Red kidney beans – 1/2 cup (if using dried), 1 cup (if using canned)
  • Tamarind – 1 lemon-sized ball
  • Jaggery – 1 teaspoon
  • Pepper powder – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Salt – to taste
  • Red chili powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Coriander seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Dry red chilies – 3
  • Garlic – 4 cloves (~1 teaspoon when crushed)
  • Cinnamon – 1-inch stick
  • Cloves – 4
  • Cardamom – 4
  • Panch phoron – 1 teaspoon
  • Mustard oil – 1/2 tablespoon
  • Coriander leaves – for garnishing

Whole Spices, Pumpkin, Garlic, Tamarind

In the picture above (from top-right): cardamom, cinnamon, dry red chilies; pumpkin; garlic, tamarind.

How To Make Kaddu Rajma:

1. Boil the rajma

If using dried kidney beans, soak the kidney beans overnight in 3 cups of water. Drain. Place the kidney beans in a pressure cooker along with 2 cups of water. Cook on high heat till the pressure cooker whistles, then lower the heat and cook for another 15 minutes.

Let the pressure cooker release its steam naturally till the lid comes off.

Kidney Beans in Pressure Cooker

2. Prepare the ingredients

Snip the dry red chilies into small pieces. Crush garlic coarsely.

Soak tamarind in half a cup of water for 30 minutes. Extract its pulp, discard seeds.

Cut pumpkin into 1-inch cubes.

Pumpkin, Cut into Cubes

3. Cook it all together

In a pan or kadhai, heat mustard oil. When the oil is hot, add these ingredients in quick succession: panch phoron, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon stick, garlic, coriander seeds, dry red chilies.

Whole Spices, Frying

When the dry red chilies turn dark, add pumpkin cubes to the pan. Mix.

Pumpkin Cubes with Whole Spices, Cooking

Cook covered on medium heat for 5 minutes.

Add the dry spices to the cooking pumpkin: turmeric powder, red chili powder, pepper powder.

Turmeric, Chili, Pepper Added to Pumpkin

Mix well and continue to cook.

Pumpkin Cubes Cooking with Spices

When the pumpkin is 3/4th done, add tamarind pulp, salt, jaggery, boiled kidney beans along with half a cup of the water it was cooked in. Adjust the quantity of water depending on how runny you want the gravy.

Kidney Beans and Tamarind Added to Pumpkin

Mix well and bring to a boil. Lower heat, add chopped coriander leaves.

Coriander Leaves in Kaddu Rajma

Cover and cook till all the ingredients have come together and the pumpkin is fully done.

Kaddu rajma (pumpkin and kidney bean curry) is ready.

Kaddu Rajma - Pumpkin Red Kidney Bean Curry

Serve kaddu rajma warm with chapatis.

Pumpkin Kidney Bean Curry with Chapatis

Meal today: kaddu rajma, aloo sahjan (potato and drumstick curry – recipe coming soon), chapatis (the green specks in the chapatis are fenugreek leaves).

Kaddu Rajma, Aloo Sahjan, Chapatis


For a no-garlic version of kaddu rajma, replace garlic in the recipe with a pinch of asafoetida.

For more legume-tamarind combos, try chaulai dal, khatti-meethi masoor dal, palak toor dal.

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