Atul’s Favourite: Punjabi Rajma
Every Punjabi boy loves his mum’s rajma, a delicious red-kidney-bean stew, and I’m no exception. My mother is 80 now, and, though she’s pleased to have a son who’s a chef, she claims her version is still much better than mine – a strong lady, my mother.
250g red kidney beans (rajma)
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
Salt, to taste
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp butter
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tbsp ginger and garlic paste
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
½ tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp garam masala
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves
2 tbsp finely chopped ginger
1. Wash and soak the red kidney beans overnight. The next morning, drain and wash again and boil in a pot with 1 litre of fresh water, adding the cloves, cinnamon, bay leaf and pinch of salt. Either pressure cook or boil gently until kidney beans are well cooked – so they yield between the fingers.
2. While the kidney beans are cooking, heat the oil and butter in a pan. Add the cumin seeds and saute to make them pop.
3 . Add the chopped onions and cook until they are a light-brown colour. Add the ginger garlic paste and saute to cook the raw flavour of this paste.
4. Add all the spice powders, except garam masala, and cook through for 2-3 minutes. Add a few tablespoons of water if the mixture is too dry.
5. Add the tomatoes and some salt to taste. Cook for 5-7 minutes on slow heat until the tomatoes soften.
6. Add the cooked kidney beans with the stock, mix well and let it simmer for 10-12 minutes. Add the garam masala and simmer for a further 10 minutes. Add chopped coriander leaves and chopped ginger and serve hot with boiled rice.