Friday, January 21, 2011

Rajma- the Indian Chili

We are all familiar with Chili--- you know, the thick and chunky stew made with beans, meat and spices. There is the Indian "Chili" too that I make sometimes, more commonly known as Rajma. I make it with either dark kidney beans or the light ones and then slow-cook the beans along with onions, tomatoes, garlic, ginger and spices. The end result is a very delicious, lovely dark colored thick stew- yep, similar to Chili, minus the meat.

I like to soak dry red kidney beans in water overnight and then cook them the next day. Sure you could use a couple of those cans of red kidney beans available at the local grocery store if you are on a serious time-crunch. Then you don't have to bother about the overnight soaking. But if you want that authentic taste going on, then I suggest you soak the dry beans and cook them the next day.

Previous Night Prepping: Soak some dry red (dark or light) kidney beans in water and leave it soaking overnight.

 Dry Red Kidney Beans

Next Day: 

Note: When I am going to make Rajma for a party, I grind onions+ginger+garlic+tomatoes in the food processor and then fry the whole paste and then add the beans to this.......(ref previous post- the "real" egg curry). But if it is just for us, I simply chop the onions and tomatoes and coarsely smash the ginger and garlic. Saves me time and energy! 

Red kidney beans/Rajma ready to be cooked

  • So I get my beautiful pressure cooker out (if you don't own one, please do yourself a favor and buy one) and set it on the stove and get the heat going.
  • Add some oil followed by cumin seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, maybe even a couple cloves (pretty much any of those wonderful spices you can get your hands on!).
  • Then I add the chopped aromatics and the tomatoes (or tomato paste) into this and quickly sautee it a bit. 
  • And then I add the soaked beans, including the water to this. 
  • I add salt, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and garam masala.
  • I usually have to add some extra water (those beans need a lot of water to cook well). 
  • I then give it a final taste before closing the lid. 
  • After about 5 minutes, the pressure cooker starts releasing steam and at this point, I immediately lower the stove flame to the least setting and let it all slow-cook for 30 minutes. 
  • Once the 30 minute timer goes off, I switch off the stove and let the cooker cool down so I can open the lid.
  • After the cooker has cooled down (which means there is no more steam under pressure and it is safe to be opened), I go ahead and open it and it is ready to be served! 
Yummy Rajma or Indian Chili!

Some like to eat Rajma with bread/rotis while some others prefer their Rajma with rice. Then there are some others who don't care and eat their Rajma with either bread or rice or both!

 Rajma served with Jeera (cumin) rice and a little side salad

See? This is basically chili, sans the meat. I am sure you can add some meat to this and perhaps some bell pepper and ta-da! it will in fact be Chili, only spiced up the Indian way!


Mol1 said...

Nice thali, makes me hungry ;) Btw, I use the slow cooker sometimes for rajma curry. Overnight cooking, ready when you wake up!!

Dreamer said...

;) Oh the slow cooker will be perfect for parties!