Punjab (often regarded as the land of five rivers and the land of five crops) is famous for its delicious food. There is one dish cooked in every pind (village) of the state. The dish is a staple in all Punjabi kitchens and is cooked to perfection by almost all Punjabis.
As we all know, one of the best Punjabi food is Punjabi Chawal and Punjabi Rajma. But what if you could have both of them at the same time? Well, that is the beauty of homemade Punjabi Rajma Chawal, which roughly translates to “kidney beans with rice”. It is indeed a great combination.
“Maa ke haath ka Rajma chawal” is a misnomer. The Punjabi Rajma has a different taste and texture. There are many variations in the way the dish is made. Some like it without tomatoes, and some like it without onions. Some like it without garlic, ginger, and green chillies. Anyone who has spent time in north India, especially in and around Punjab or Delhi with its sizeable post-Partition Punjabi community, or had some exposure to Bollywood movies knows how comforting the food is.
It is a simple task if you have some patience. It is a tried and tested recipe that most Punjabis swear by.
Let’s talk about the dish and explore the various way that it is made.
What is Rajma?
Red kidney beans are known as Rajma in Hindi in India. To prepare Rajma masala, they are soaked, cooked, and then boiled with onions, tomatoes, and spices. Rajma is another name for it. It is a traditional North Indian meal served on weekends, at special events, and at weddings.
Rajma is low in calories and abundant in fibre, folate, and magnesium. The high fibre content improves digestive system health, while the folate and magnesium content makes them a heart-healthy diet. Red kidney beans are popular in India because of their health advantages.
How to make the best Rajma recipe?
My precise step-by-step procedure will assist you in producing the greatest Rajma dish ever. While I cooked the beans in a pressure cooker, they can also be cooked in a pan or an Instant Pot. The recipe card below outlines the instructions for cooking the beans using all three techniques.
Soak and cook Rajma beans/ Kidney beans
- Sort dried beans and discard any misshapen or discoloured beans. Rinse with water a couple of times. Place 1 cup Rajma in a large serving bowl & properly rinse with plenty of water again. Add new water, and soak for a minimum of 8 hours and a maximum of 12 hours. Soaking aids in softening them. It’s better to soak them a night before you cook (overnight). Do not cover the dish when soaking them. Because beans require fresh air while soaking, cover them with either a mesh basket or a thin permeable cloth. This keeps Rajma from becoming sticky.
- Remove the water and carefully rinse them before cooking to remove any leftover grit.
- Add the washed kidney beans (Rajma) to a 3-litre pressure cooker. Add -5 cups of water and blend it properly. Rajma should be pressure-cooked for 3-4 whistles and keep on flow flame for 25-30 minutes. (The cook time for your beans will differ depending on their quality and age.)
- Crush 1 large onion (1 cup finely chopped onion) and 2 large tomatoes (1 cup finely chopped tomatoes), then make the smashed ginger, garlic, and green chilli paste until the kidney beans are done. To produce the paste, crush or grind 1 inch of ginger, 5 to 6 tiny garlic cloves, and 1 to 2 green chillies in a grinder.
- When the pressure in the cooker has naturally settled, open the lid. Eat or squeeze a bean using two fingers to see whether Rajma is cooked. The cooked beans should be mushy and without a bite. Rajma beans should be well boiled. If they aren’t entirely done, pressure cook for another few minutes (adding extra water if necessary).
- Heat 3 tablespoons of butter (or 2 tablespoons of butter plus 1 tablespoon of oil) in a separate pan, pot, or Kadai. Maintain a low or medium-low heat.
Make the Rajma base
- When the ghee melts, add the chopped onions and 12 teaspoon salt. Saute the onions till they are golden on a medium flame.
- During the sautéing process, stir the onions often. This ensures both consistent cooking and that they do not burn. Take care not to burn the onions since this would give the Rajma curry a harsh taste. Furthermore, caramelised onions provide a delicious flavour to the meal and dissolve in the curry, giving it a thicker consistency. This procedure takes roughly 5-6 minutes.
- Add 1½ teaspoon ginger garlic paste, plus 1/2-1 green chilli (optional). Stir and cook for 20-30 seconds or until the raw fragrance of ginger garlic fades. (In the instant pot, use the saute and carry-on functions.)
- Add the finely diced tomatoes and thoroughly mix.
- Sauté the tomatoes for 2-3 minutes or until tender on medium flame.
- Mix in all of the spice powders.
- ½ to ¾ tablespoon red chilli powder ( Kashmiri recommended or cayenne pepper or paprika)
- ¾ teaspoon of garam masala
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder, toasted
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- Mix thoroughly again and continue to sauté the entire masala foundation on medium-low heat till the fat leaves the masala’s edges. The onion tomato masala will thicken, get glossy, and begin to clump together.
- Using a slotted spoon or a sieve, separate the Rajma beans from their hot broth and add them to the masala.
- Stir and cook for 1 minute.
Make the Rajma masala
- Pour 2 cups of fresh water into the pan. You may also use cooked Rajma stock rather than fresh water.
- Add the salt to taste and whisk the entire Rajma curry mixture.
- Simmer without a cover for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the curry thickens somewhat, on moderate to medium-low heat. Rajma curry shouldn’t be too liquid and must be thick.
- Using the spoon’s back, smash a few Rajma beans. This aids in thickening the Rajma gravy.
- Continue to simmer until you get a medium consistency in the curry, and continue stirring at intervals when the Rajma masala is simmering.
- The Punjabi Rajma masala has to thicken, and the curry has to be of the right consistency, which is neither too thick nor thin.
- Once the consistency is perfect, add 1 teaspoon crushed Kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves) and 2-3 tablespoons light cream. (If using heavy whipping cream, use only 1 tablespoon.) Mix thoroughly and cook for 30 seconds-1 minute.
- The cream is optional, and you may easily leave it out. The cream adds richness to the gravy, making it taste restaurant-style and balancing the tang from the tomatoes.
- Remove from the heat (stove). For instant pot, press cancel.
- Garnish with coriander leaves if desired for fresh flavour and colour.
How to make the best-steamed rice (chawal)?
- Place the rice grains in a bowl and rinse them under running water. Gently swirl your finger in the bowl to rinse the grains. Wash the rice grains until the water seems clean of starch.
- Give the rice grains a 20–30 minute soak in 3/4–1 cup. After the kidney beans have finished cooking in the pressure cooker, you may wash and soak the rice.
- Drain all the water from the rice and tuck it away after 20 to 30 minutes.
- Pour 2 cups of water into a thick, deep-bottomed pan for 1 cup of rice. Depending on the amount of rice, use a rice-to-water ratio of 1:2. (The quality and quantity of rice determine the amount of water required.)
- Some basmati rice variants cook rapidly and with little water. In this scenario, 1 cup of rice could be paired with 1.75 cups of water.
- Add 1/4 teaspoon salt or more to taste. You may also use 12 teaspoons of oil, butter, or ghee. Any fat, such as oil or butter, is optional.
- Bring the water to a boil over medium to medium-high heat.
- Pour in the rice.
- Move the grains of rice gently with a fork. You may also gently jiggle the pan to help the rice grains settle.
- Lower the heat and cook the rice until all the water evaporates and the rice grains are tender. Rice typically takes around 7 to 8 minutes to become sensitive, silky, and fluffy.
- The cooking time will vary depending on the kind or variety of rice grains, the pan quality, and the strength of the heat.
- Let the rice rest for 5 minutes once it has finished cooking before opening the cover. After that, take off the cover and fluff your rice with a fork.
- Cover the pan well with a cover. Check the rice once or twice while it is cooking. If the rice grains appear undercooked and the water has evaporated, add 2 to 3 teaspoons of boiling water. Stir with a fork gently.
Rajma with rice, often known as Rajma chawal, is a popular North Indian meal.
To serve Rajma chawal, first, pour hot steamed rice onto a serving platter. Make a nice rice bed. Pour the Rajma gravy over the rice and serve.
Enjoy your Rajma channel, and don’t forget to serve that with some thin slices of onions, lime wedges, a simple cucumber salad or mango pickle to add some flavour.
Serve your Rajma masala with Roti, paratha, or naan along with steaming basmati rice, saffron rice, jeera rice, or other rice.
Rajma, often known as red kidney beans, is India’s most popular vegetable. It is cultivated in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. It is also popular in Asian nations such as China, Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia. Rajma has a high protein content, as well as thiamine, folate, potassium, manganese, copper, zinc, iron, and calcium. Red kidney beans are extremely nutritious and high in protein. You can also use the Rajma in the preparation of various dishes like Rajma Makhani, Rajma curry and so on.
These are best served and consumed the most with rice (chawal). Best Served with Roti, paratha, or naan, and steaming basmati rice, saffron rice, jeera rice, or other rice.
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