The versatility of Indian cooking needs no introduction – with just a few basic spices at hand, the most important one being Garam Masala, you can mix and match your favorite ingredients to make stir-fry’s, curries or rice varieties that make for perfect lunch or dinner entrees. Beans are a staple food in many Indian kitchens, but the monotonousness of making all Dals the same way makes it uninteresting. So when I came upon this lovely adaptation of Rajma recipe in the Indian cookbook called 660 Curries by Raghavendra Iyer, I couldn’t help but try it out. After all, who could turn down a fuss-free comfort food recipe, right?
Kidney Beans, also known as Rajma in India, is a popular North Indian dish made with red kidney beans in a thick curry with lots of spicy flavors, generally served with Rice. Rajma-Chawal is a favorite North Indian food, and what you see above [Photo by Ashley] is a delectable adaptation of the recipe will let you enjoy it in a new light. The hint of cardamom flavor combined with the freshness of yogurt and cilantro make this a rich, creamy and flavorful dish, and the turmeric gives it a beautiful golden color that is refreshing to the eyes. I’m sure your family will love this recipe, just as much as mine did!
Notes: In order to cook any kind of beans, it is ideal to soak them overnight in water, then pressure cook until tender, about 2-3 whistles. Save the water in the cooker and add it to the curry, if you like. This way you will not lose any nutrients from the lentils, as well as add more flavor to your curry recipe!
Kidney Beans (Rajma) in Yogurt Sauce
1/2 tbsp oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
6 green or white cardamom pods
1 cup plain yogurt – blended
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
2 cups cooked kidney beans
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp cayenne
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
Heat the oil in a medium-size saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cardamom pods, and stir-fry until the onion turns light brown around the edges, 3 to 5 minutes.
Stir in the blended yogurt and continue to cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the watery liquid evaporates from the yogurt and leaves behind reddish-brown curd like pellets, 12 to 15 minutes.
Sprinkle in the turmeric and incorporate it into the tart sauce. Add 2 cups water and the beans, salt, garam masala, and cayenne. Bring the curry to a boil. Then lower the heat to medium and gently boil the sauce, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until it has thickened, 10 to 15 minutes.
When ready to serve, garnish with a bunch of chopped fresh cilantro, and serve with some plain or Jeera Rice!