What takes time to cook is not necessarily complex. That statement is so true of rajma masala. To the uninitiated, this dish might give the impression that sophisticated culinary jugglery went into creating it. In truth this is one of the simpler gravies you could make in the Indian cuisine.
Like channa masala, rajma is eminently suited to party time bulk preparation. You just need to plan ahead and give it enough cooking time. Also like channa masala, it tastes better the next day!
- Rajma (red kidney beans) – 1 cup
- Tomatoes – 4
- Onions – 1
- Ginger – 1-inch piece
- Garlic – 6 cloves
- Green chillies – 2, slit vertically
- Chilli powder – 1/2 teaspoon
- Coriander powder – 1 tablespoon
- Cumin powder – 1 teaspoon
- Garam masala – 1/2 teaspoon
- Oil – 1 tablespoon
- Salt – to taste
Soak the rajma in five cups of water for at least 6 hours (longer if you are using large-sized rajma beans).
Drain. In a pressure cooker, boil the rajma with four cups of water and a large pinch of salt. Let the first whistle come on high heat, then pressure cook on low heat till the rajma is soft enough to give way when pressed with a spoon (about 20-30 minutes). The time of cooking will depend on the size of the kidney beans and the make of your pressure cooker. I was using large red kidney beans, mine took 30 minutes to get done.
Grind the onions, garlic and ginger together to a fine paste.
Heat the oil in a flat-bottomed pan. Pop in slit green chillies. When the chillies change color, add the onion-ginger-garlic paste. Fry on medium-high heat till the paste turns golden-brown.
Add coriander powder, cumin powder and red chilly powder. Mix well and cook for a minute.
Puree the tomatoes. Turn the heat to high and mix in the tomato puree along with some salt. Cook, stirring frequently till the oil begins to leave the sides of the pan (8-10 minutes).
Mix in the boiled rajma at this stage along with a cup of the water it was cooked in – add more if you want a thinner gravy. Cook covered for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. When nearly done, stir in garam masala.
On individual bowls of hot rajma, sprinkle finely chopped onions and coriander leaves. Serve rajma masala with plain yogurt and a steaming bowl of rice.