Rajma, otherwise known as Kidney beans are maroon coloured lentils that are traditionally cooked in North Indian. When combined with plain white rice, it's a hearty meal in itself. Contrary to popular belief, the origins of this traditional curry is from Southern America, probably central Mexico. The basic prep of soaking - boiling the beans and adding a few spices is adapted from Mexican chilly bean recipes.
Rajma beans are an excellent source of a trace mineral known as molybdenum that fights inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. They are also a good source of folate, dietary fiber, copper, manganese, phosphorus, protein, vitamin B1, iron, potassium and magnesium. The traditional north Indian recipe requires loads of onion and tomato to make a rich gravy. Prepping onions isn't an easy task at all, most of the time, we are reduced to a teary mess thanks to the chemical irritant known as syn-propanethial-S-oxide that stimulates the eyes' lachrymal glands so they release tears. Quite frankly 90% of Indian gravies consist of the onion-ginger-garlic base.
My family loves Rajma Curry and it's something I enjoy serving over the weekend. But peeling and chopping onions for this was just too much effort for me. So, after much trial and error, I adapted this particular version with 'no' onions' and trust me, when I served it no one even noticed the missing ingredient. Do give it a try and don't forget to tag #saffronbowl in your social posts.
1 cup dry rajma/kidney beans
1 tsp ginger paste
2 tsp garlic paste
Himalayan Salt to taste
1 tbsp Red chilli powder
2 tbsps vegetable oil/ margarine (or for non- vegans ghee /butter)
3 medium sized ripe tomatoes
1 tbsp garam masala powder
2 tsp vegan cashew cream or Fresh Cream (optional for garnish)
finely chopped coriander leaves for garnish
Clean and wash the rajma beans. Soak it in 4 cups of water for 8-10 hrs or overnight. Cook rajma beans with 4 cups of water along with salt, red chilli powder and ginger paste. Bring it to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for until it's completely cooked and tender. Bend the 3 tomatoes into a rough puree. Melt the butter/ vegetable oil or margarine in a thick-bottomed pan and add the garlic paste diluted in some water. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring continuously. Add the tomato puree, garam masala powder, rajma beans (along with any extra water) and slow cook it for 20 minutes on a low heat until some oil forms on the top of the curry. Stir occasionally, check the seasoning and simmer for another 5-10 minutes. The consistency of this curry is quite thick. Top off the curry with swirls of margarine (or ghee), cream and coriander leaves and serve hot with steamed rice or pulav.
Tip- By using a pressure cooker for cooking the beans reduces the cooking time to half. This rich curry can also be served with indian flat breads like naan's, roti's and parathas. I have also combined this with couscous and found it absolutely delicious!