A little bit of tanginess. A hint of sweetness. And lots of flavors. When these three things combine, then we get a delicious Punjabi rajma (kidney bean). This is literally a true love for everyone. If you don’t know about True Love – Try Rajma Chawal.
My husband is a Punjabi and I am from Uttar Pradesh. Both of us love Rajma Chawal a lot. And both of us had a very different kind of rajma while growing up. In my home, we used to have a slightly sweeter rajma. But not like those sweet gravies/curries which you get in Gujarat. On the other hand, Jatin’s mom makes it very simple, with more tomatoes and less onion, and fewer spices. Both were absolutely different in taste and both are undoubtedly delicious.
When we got married and made Rajma for each other, we just couldn’t enjoy it as much as we did earlier. Making two different versions of rajma as per our individual liking was off the table. Then I started experimenting more with Rajma to get the taste that we both can enjoy. It took several attempts but finally, I did it. Now Jatin loves my rajma so much that sometimes he even licks the plate. Yay. It has a hint of sweetness that he doesn’t mind and a little bit of sourness I love. That’s the secret of our happy marriage – A Perfect Rajma 😀
If you don’t have time, watch the video instead.
TIPS TO MAKE IT RIGHT
- Soaking Rajma: I always prefer to wash the kidney beans/rajma first and then soak it overnight. If you soak it first and then wash, the red color of rajma also washes out. Hence, wash it well 2-3 times and then soak (with 3 inches higher water) overnight or for at least 6-8 hrs. If you don’t have much time, soak it in hot water for 1 hour.
- Boiling Rajma: The rajma should be boiled perfectly. It should be soft enough that you can easily press it with your fingers. The water level is very important while boiling. If the water is not enough, the skin of rajma will come off and it will become mushy and won’t look good. Keep the water level at least 2-3 inches above the level of Rajma.
- Brown Onions: Make sure that the onions get completely brown while sautéing. It should not be burnt. Add a little bit of water to avoid burning. Browning of onions caramelizes them and makes them slightly sweeter. It tastes very good in Rajma.
- Gravy Color: To get a nice red color gravy, add red chili powder and turmeric powder (haldi) with tomato puree itself. It cooks for a long time and gives a very nice color to the gravy.
- Gravy Consistency: The gravy thickens as it cools down. Hence, keep the consistency depending on when are you going to eat it.
ADJUSTMENTS – YOU MAY WANT TO MAKE
- Onion Paste: In the recipe, I used chopped onions but you can also make a paste of it.
- Tomato Puree: If you don’t have a grinder, you can also grate the tomatoes using a grater. The gravy will turn out just nice.
- Ghee: If you are a vegan, replace ghee with an equal amount of any cooking oil.
- Rajma: You can even use canned rajma but make sure they don’t have sugar added to it. It makes the rajma quite sweet.
Now let’s grab all the ingredients because we are ready to make one delicious meal – Rajma Chawal. Make it for lunch or brunch over the weekends. It is quite easy, healthy, and like I said – A True Love. By the way, if you never tried rajma with aalu paratha, try it with the leftover rajma. It tastes so very good.
If you try this recipe, please share the photos on Instagram and tag us too @marriedfriends. We love to see your recreation of our recipes.
MORE RECIPES TO TRY
Authentic Punjabi Rajma Recipe
A Recipe for Happiness.
- 1.5 cup Rajma (Kidney Beans) presoaked
- 4 cup Water to boil rajma
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 2-3 Cloves
- 1 Black Cardamom
- 1 inch piece Cinnamon
- 4-6 Black Pepper
- 1 Onion large, chopped
- 3 Tomato large, ground
- 4 clove Garlic
- 2 inch piece Ginger
- 3 Green Chilli
- 1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1 tsp Red Chili Powder
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp Coriander Powder
- 2 tbsp Ghee or oil
- 1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
- 1/4 tsp Garam Masala
- Fresh Coriander Leaves chopped, to garnish
- In a pressure cooker, add soaked rajma with water, extra water if needed, bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, black pepper, black cardamom. The water level should be 2 inches above the level of rajma.
Total water = water in which rajma has been soaked + extra water.
- Add 1 tsp of salt. Close the lid.
- Pressure cook till they are soft and completely cooked. It may take 20-25 minutes. Cook on high flame and after one whistle, let it cook further on low flame.
- Once cooked, switch off the flame and depressurize the cooker on its own.
- Heat ghee in a pan/kadhai, add cumin seeds. Let them sizzle for a few seconds.
- Add chopped onions and cook till they are brown. If they start to burn, add a little bit of water and cook till they are completely brown & caramelized. They will become mushy too. It will take around 5-7 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a mixer-grinder, grind - tomato, ginger, garlic, green chili.
- Once the onions are done, add the tomato paste as prepared.
- Add salt, red chili powder, and turmeric powder. Mix. Cover. Let it cook on medium-low flame. Keep stirring in between. Cook till all the moisture is evaporated and you get a thick red paste of onion-tomato. It may take around 10 minutes.
- Add coriander powder (dhania powder) and mix it well.
- Add boiled rajma along with its water. Mix everything well.
- Cover and let it cook on medium-low flame till you get the desired consistency of the gravy. It may take around 20-25 minutes.
- Switch off the flame. Add garam masala & chopped coriander. Mix well.
- Serve hot with rice or parathas. Don't forget some onions in salad. Enjoy.
There are different kinds of kidney beans / rajma. You can use any of these two to make a delicious Punjabi Rajma:
- Red Kidney Beans – It gives a nice red color. Takes a little longer to cook.
- Chitra Rajma – This is light in color and has some spots on its surface. It tastes good and cooks faster than red kidney beans.
Some people like chitra rajma or some like red kidney beans. I mostly prefer red one because it makes a beautiful red colored gravy which I love.
Although Rajma is rich in proteins and fibers and very healthy to eat. But it may upset your stomach if you consume it for dinner. If you have digestion problems, avoid eating it over dinner.
Wash and soak rajma overnight or at least for 6-8 hrs. If you don’t have time, soak it in hot boiling water for 1 hour. Add the soaked rajma in a pressure cooker along with water. Make sure the level of water is 2-3 inches above the rajma level. Cook on high flame and after one whistle, lower the flame and cook it further for 15-20 minutes. Overall time to cook rajma completely is around 25-30 minutes. Time may vary depending on the type of Rajma used.
Before cooking rajma, always wash and soak them first for at least 6 to 8 hours, if not overnight. Then use any of the following methods to soften them completely:
- Pressure Cooker: Add the soaked rajma in a pressure cooker along with water. Make sure the level of water is 2-3 inches above the rajma level. Cook on high flame and after one whistle, lower the flame and cook it further for 15-20 minutes. Overall time to cook rajma completely is around 25-30 minutes. Time may vary depending on the type of Rajma used.
- Pan: This method takes a lot of time to soften rajma. But if you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can surely try this. Make sure to cover the lid of the pan. It fastens the cooking process. You can also add baking soda. It softens the rajma well. Keep stirring and checking in between. After cooking on medium-low flame for around 30-40 minutes, take a bean and press it between your fingers. If it gets mushy, your rajma is well cooked.
- Instant Pot: This method is quite easy. Add all the ingredients in the pot. Close the lid. Press the button for bean/chili. It takes 30 minutes to cook.