June 11, 2012

Rajma Masala Recipe | Rajma Chawal Recipe | STEP BY STEP

Rajma Masala is a great side dish for chapati and roti and goes fantastic with a hot bowl of jeera rice too. Apart from the soaking of the rajma (red kidney beans), this recipe requires very little time to prepare. If you buy canned rajma, you can avoid even that long step. 
I am in New York for a week and as is the norm, after a total travel time of 28 hours (including a 6-hour delay in Frankfurt), I feel brain-dead. The euphoria of being in New York again helps but not enough to bring me out of my migraine-induced coma.

But wait, I should have written this in the past tense because it's been 1.5 days since I got here and I am better. Not yet perfect, but better. And as Mondays have the tendency to come sooner than later, I am at work, taking a quick coffee break.

So a quick post this shall be.
Rajma Masala | Rajma Chawal | Rajma Rice Recipe

Rajma Chawal (kidney beans gravy in rice) has often been described to be as comfort food. Not so much to me because I didn't grow up on rajma. In fact, my sis introduced Rajma to my mom a few years back and she called it Rajamma for the longest time :D

Anyway, while dal chawal and I have become fast friends, I don't turn to rajma chawal for comfort. But it's still a great dish to cook up when you are short on time.

Rajma Masala | Rajma Chawal Recipe

Preparation time: 8 hours
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves 2-3
Adapted from: Tarla Dalal

1 cup of rajma / red kidney beans
1 cup of rice, cooked
1 large onion, sliced thin
1/2 tsp of cumin / jeera
1" piece of Indian cinnamon, powdered
1" piece of ginger, grated
2-3 green chillies, chopped (or 3/4 tsp red chilli powder)
1/4 tsp of turmeric powder
1 tbsp of coriander powder
1 tsp of amchur (dried mango powder) or use a little tamarind as a substitute
1 tsp of chaat masala
2 tbsp of oil
Salt to taste
1 tomato, sliced (optional but recommended if you plan to serve as rajma masala with rotis)

How to Make Rajma Masala for Rajma Chawal:

1. Soak the rajma (kidney beans) for at least 8 hours or overnight. Pressure cook for 3-4 whistles until soft yet not mushy. Set aside.

2. Heat oil and add the cumin seeds. When they sizzle and begin to change colour, add the onions. When they turn pink, add the powdered cinnamon, ginger, and green chillies. Fry for 2-3 mins.
Rajma Masala | Rajma Chawal | Rajma Rice Recipe

3. Then, add the coriander powder, amchur or tamarind, and turmeric. Mix well and cook for another 3-4 mins. My onion-masala mixture is red because I used red chilli powder instead of green chillies.
Rajma Masala | Rajma Chawal | Rajma Rice Recipe

4. Add the cooked rajma along with the water used to cook it in and the sliced tomato. Mix well and let simmer for 5 mins.
Rajma Masala | Rajma Chawal | Rajma Rice Recipe

5. When the gravy thickens a bit, add the chaat masala and salt. Mix well, bring to boil again and turn off heat.
Rajma Masala | Rajma Chawal | Rajma Rice Recipe

You can stop at this step, serve this in a bowl with rotis and call it rajma masala. Or, you can go ahead and make a one-pot meal out of it. Add cooked rice and mix gently.
Rajma Masala | Rajma Chawal | Rajma Rice Recipe

Garnish with chopped coriander leaves (cilantro) and serve warm with some yogurt. Rajma chawal thayyaar!
Rajma Masala | Rajma Chawal | Rajma Rice Recipe


1. You can cook the rajma and rice together too. For that, make the masala as above and add the soaked rajma and washed, uncooked rice to the pressure cooker and cook for 4-5 whistles. I wanted to make sure I could adjust the spices and taste so didn't opt for this the first time. Maybe next time that's what I will do to save time.

2. Using canned rajma (red kidney beans) will make this a super quick dinner idea. Or even otherwise, if you remember to soak the rajma in the morning, making it for dinner on a weeknight is a breeze.
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