Rajma: It’s been my favourite

Today is Mexican Day at SK Culinary Studio! While the culinary team is busy whipping up some delicious Mexican treats at the studio, the smell of refried beans makes me write about my favourite food combination rajma chawal. People from the North will identify with this meal instantly and totally! There is something about the texture of rajma in gravy with the fluffy steamed rice that makes it so endearing. There are not only childhood memories attached, there are also moments of comfort that tag along.

Good old home recipes
There are many variations of rajma that one can make…but they all begin with one most essential step: planning – that is soaking the beans overnight! There is no way one can fulfill the demand of rajma at a moment’s notice so better not to throw a tantrum…next best is to order from the neighbourhood restaurant but I doubt if they will have it on the menu…dal makhni yes, but rajma still has to take a noticeable slot!

So, it goes without saying rajma is a product of authentic home cooking. I normally make it very simple – with some onions, tomatoes, bay leaves, ginger-garlic, red chilli, coriander, turmeric, cumin, garam masala and lots of fresh coriander.

Dabba delights
A favourite dabba dish is a little spicy parantha made with mashed rajma. Alyona actually manages to roll them out thinly! Some mashed rajma, atta, two tablespoons of soy flour, red chilli, finely chopped green chilies, powdered anardana, some chopped fresh mint, and a tablespoon or two of tomato puree (gives a good colour). Another tip: rajma pulao! All you need are some well boiled rajma that you cook with Basmati and some onions, tomatoes and masalas

Boiled rajma makes a handsome salad with blanched tender French beans and boiled moong and white cowpeas (chawli). All this mix needs is fresh coriander, fresh mint, green chillies, salt, dash of lemon and chaat masala. Talk about proteins, fibre and iron here!

Rajma treats
Hummus too can take a new avatar with mashed rajma instead of chickpeas. The colour would be a little on the dark side but the change for the palate is welcome. Garnish with black olives and serve with crisp garlic bread!

As I always end with something new and delicious, this time here are some palate tickling rajma recipes

Rajma Galouti
  • Soak 1 cup rajma in five cups of water preferably overnight. Boil in sufficient quantity of water until soft. Drain and set aside.
  • Dry roast 8 cashewnuts, 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds and ¾ tablespoon poppy seeds. Grind to a fine paste using a little water.
  • Dry roast ½ teaspoon caraway seeds, 4 green and 2 black cardamoms, 2 cloves and 1 inch cinnamon. Cool and grind to a fine powder. Soak a generous pinch of saffron in quarter teaspoon kewra water.
  • Heat two tablespoons of pure ghee in a pan, add ½ inch finely chopped ginger and five cloves finely chopped garlic and sauté for a few seconds. Add 3 chopped green chillies and sauté for one minute.
  • Add rajma and cook for three to four minutes.
  • Add cashewnut paste and stir-fry for four to five minutes.
  • Add 2 tablespoons grated khoya, ½ teaspoon white pepper powder and salt to taste, stir-fry for four to five minutes.
  • Remove from heat. Cool and mash rajma to a smooth paste. (In case rajma paste is not firm, then cook paste further with addition of ghee till firm.)
  • Sprinkle powdered spices and soaked saffron. Adjust salt.
  • Add ½ tablespoon lemon juice and mix thoroughly. Divide mixture into equal sized portions and press them lightly.
  • Heat sufficient ghee in a frying pan and shallow fry tikkis until lightly coloured on both sides. Garnish with mint leaves and onion rings. Serve with chutney of your choice.

You can watch Alyona make a Rajma Salad here 



and also try out this recipe of my favourite Punjabi Rajma Chawal 

Punjabi Rajma Chawal

Happy Cooking,Happy Eating!

Sanjeev Kapoor