"Rasedar" means juicy or saucy and "rajma" means kidney or pinto beans. In this dish simple beans get the masala treatment! Simmered in a savory sauce redolent with traditional Indian spices these beans are spicy but mild in heat. A piquant dash of ajwain and cilantro are the final touches in this protein rich vegetarian recipe that pairs well with rice and rotis or can even be served with saltines like a bowl of American chili.
This delicious recipe is embellished upon and adapted from Neelam Batra's 1998 cookbook The Indian Vegetarian: Simple Recipes for Today's Kitchen. Ms. Batra's book has some great recipes but it is rather meandering in it's instructions and has no photos. I think the lack of photos and poorly written directions kept this book from being as successful as it should have been. So I rewrote this entire recipe, changed a few ingredients, and simplified the steps a bit. As I have written this recipe it should take about thirty minutes to prepare if using canned beans, an hour if cooking dried beans. (If my recipes are unclear in any way please leave me a note in the comments! I want to publish a cookbook of the recipes on my blog for friends and family at the end of the year that will be easily understandable by both novice chefs and experienced cooks alike.)
My family really likes this way of serving rajma, it's a nice change from the usually cumin heavy recipes for curried beans. The dish is spicy but not hot and the ajwain adds a interesting and very uniquely Desi accent to the flavors. If you don't have ajwain a bit of thyme is a good substitute, if you don't have or don't like thyme a pinch of whole cumin seeds will do. You can also make this dish as thick or thin as you like by varying the cooking times. Remember that traditionally thicker curries are served with rotis and flatbreads while soupier curries are preferred when serving with rice.
2 C dried kidney or pinto beans, or two 15 oz cans of kidney or pinto beans
3 TBS cooking oil
3/4 C onion, diced finely
1 tsp salt
1 TBS ginger/adrak paste
1 TBS garlic/lahsun paste
1/2 tsp ajwain seeds, bruised with mortar and pestle or dried thyme
3 TBS chopped cilantro/dhania leaves (optional)
Grind to smooth paste or chop finely and mix for masala:
2 C tomatoes, chopped finely
1/4 C yogurt/dahi
2 TBS ground coriander/dhania
1 tsp ground fenugreek seeds/methi
1 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1/2 tsp paprika plus 1/2 tsp cayenne powder)
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp turmeric/haldi
Here's what to do:
1) Rinse and cook beans with 6C water and 1 tsp salt in stock pot or with 3C in pressure cooker until tender. Leave beans in their cooking liquid while you cook the masala sauce. If using canned beans skip to step 2.
2) Grind or chop finely and mix all ingredients listed under masala until smooth. Set aside.
3) In a heavy bottomed skillet or kadhai heat oil with 1 tsp salt and fry diced onions until just beginning to brown. Add garlic and ginger pastes and fry for 2 minutes.
4) Add mixed masala paste from step 2 and bruised ajwain seeds to fried onion, garlic, and ginger mixture. Stir well and allow to simmer for 5 minutes or until oil separates from mixture.
If you don't have ajwain a bit of thyme is a good substitute. If you don't have or don't like thyme a pinch of whole cumin seeds will do.
You can certainly make this dish as thick or thin as you like by varying the cooking times. Remember that traditionally thicker curries are served with rotis and flatbreads while soupier curries are preferred when serving with rice.