Punjabi RAJMAH…ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

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Punjabi Rajmah…among the various other advantages of living close both to my mommy’s  and sissy’s is that I get to OD on Punjabi Rajmah and  Chawal every Friday…why must I OD on World’s best comfort food there and not in my own home you may ask…well, ‘cause my hubz HATES HATES HATES it…why does he hate it…well, cause he isn’t a Punjabi, wasn’t born and brought in the North  and hence never grew up to appreciate the joy, the pleasure of this simple soul food…that and three years of eating it almost every single day while in a college in Delhi Uni hostel, has permanently put him off the one thing that I can’t live without…(Damn the hostel canteen)…so, I sit with my nephews every Friday afternoon and gorge on Rajmah Chawal…did I mention that the joy of eating Rajmah Chawal doubles when you have it with people you love, who love it as much as you do, if not more? Well it does!!!… I wasn’t able to go over to mom’s this Friday afternoon and was suffering withdrawal symptoms by night…ended up making it for myself for Saturday lunch…and then had it for dinner as well…and now, thanks to this blog thingy ( check  facebook page) having it again today…for lunch…and dinner…slurp slurp slurp slurp slurp!!!!!

Punjabi Rajmah (Kidney beans cooked the Punjabi way)

Ingredients

  • Rajma/ Rajmah/ Kidney Beans, 2 cups
  • Cloves, 3-4
  • Cinnamon, 1” stick
  • Black cardamom, 1
  • Bayleaf,1
  • Onions, chopped finely or grated, 2 large
  • Tomatoes, chopped finely or grated, 3 large
  • Ginger paste, 2 tsp
  • Garlic paste, 2 tsp
  • Coriander powder, 2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder, a pinch
  • Red chilli powder, 1 tsp
  • Kashmiri Red chilli powder, 1 tsp ( I use it to add colour.If you want, you can add about a tablespoon or two of store bought tomato puree along with the tomatoes instead)
  • Cumin powder, ½  tsp (optional)
  • Cinnamon powder, ¼ tsp (optional)
  • Nutmeg, a pinch( optional)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Oil, 3-4 tbsp
  • Garam Masala powder, ½ tsp (optional)
  • Desi Ghee/ Clarified butter, 1 tsp (optional)
  • Fresh Coriander leaves, chopped, a few

Instructions

Wash and soak Rajmah in plenty of water for about 8-10 hours/overnight. The next morning drain the water, wash thoroughly again to start cooking.

Option One

In a pan ( if you have nothing better to do or if you are one of those “ I will cook it the way it was meant to be cooked”  or simply because you don’t have a pressure cooker) or a pressure cooker cook the rajmah in about 6 cups of water with salt, cloves, cinnamon stick, black cardamom and bayleaf till cooked and soft.
In my pressure cooker it takes about 30-40 minutes after the first whistle on high and rest on low flame.

If you want you can fish out all the whole spices after this. Don’t discard the water – this is what makes the curry what it is.

Heat the oil in a pan heat oil, add onions and fry light golden.
Add the garlic paste and fry for about 30 seconds.
Add tomatoes and ginger paste, mix well.

All the spice powders go in next at lowest heat- dry coriander powder, red chilli powder, kashmiri red chilli powder, cumin powder, cinnamon powder, turmeric powder, nutmeg and salt.

Stir cooking till oil separates – remember low heat as otherwise the spices will burn.

Add this entire masala mix to the cooked rajmah.

Mix well, let it come to a boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes, Check for consistency of the gravy you want – shouldn’t be too thin or too thick since this has to be eaten with rice.

Add garam  masala powder, desi ghee, fresh coriander leaves and switch off the gas.

Serve hot with steamed rice and raw onions.

Typically onions are not peeled for serving and are just smashed up…but white plates deserved removing the peel…I couldn’t resist the smashing bit though!! J

Option Two

Heat the oil in a pressure cooker and add cloves, cinnamon stick, black cardamom and bayleaf.

When fragrant add onions and fry light golden.
Add the garlic paste and fry for about 3-40 seconds.
Add tomatoes and ginger paste, mix.

All the spice powders go in next at lowest heat- dry coriander powder, red chilli powder, kashmiri red chilli powder, cumin powder, cinnamon powder, turmeric powder, nutmeg and salt.

Stir for a couple of minutes and add the soaked and drained out rajmah.

Saute again for a couple of minutes, increase the heat to high and add about 6 cups of water. Pressure cook till done.

Uncover and mash some of the rajmah with the back of the spoon.

Add garam  masala powder, desi ghee, fresh coriander leaves and switch off the gas. Serve hot with steamed rice.

Notes

  • Sometime rajmah have a slight bitter aftertaste, do a taste check once it is almost ready and add about half to one tsp sugar.
  • If you forget to soak the rajmah overnight or there is a sudden craving : soak them for about an hour , wash, add water and in the microwave for 10-15 minutes OR after the soaking, washing, pressure cook with a tray full of ice cubes added.
  • If cooked completely in ghee or butter it tastes even more amazing – if for health/weight/guilt reasons you don’t want to use either cook using regular oil and then top it up with a little ghee in the end, like I have.
  • Tastes good even without all the spices mentioned as ‘optional’ so if you don’t have all of them, it’s absolutely fine.
  • There are three and different kinds of rahmah/kidney beans available here, the taste and cooking times varies a bit with each. *Edit 1st Oct ’16 :The curry that you see below has been made with ‘Chitra’ one and the new picture posted above has been made with the ‘Red’ one.

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