Rajma masala is a healthy and delicious red kidney beans curry from the Punjabi Cuisine. Basically, it is a mildly spiced, creamy thick gravy with onion tomato base in which soaked and cooked rajma (kidney beans) are simmered with basic Indian spices. Rajma masala can be served for lunch or dinner with any flat bread like chapati or naan but tastes best when paired with steamed rice. Rajma chawal is a soulful meal not only in North Indian households but can be found served as street food and in road side dhabas there. Here is a vegan and gluten-free recipe of simple yet flavorful rajma masala from my kitchen.
To make Rajma Masala, raw red kidney beans are soaked and then pressure cooked until soft. This cooked rajma is further simmered in a spicy onion tomato gravy to give an utterly delicious rajma masala curry. The recipe is very simple to follow. Only care to be taken is to cook the rajma really well. For that, the kidney beans have to be soaked overnight or at least for 8-9 hours. Canned kidney beans may also be used instead. On pressure cooking, you should be able to mash the rajma between your thumb and index finger. Both whole spices and the ground spice powders add to the aroma and flavor of this Rajma masala. I have not added any cream to the dish. You may add to get that Restaurant style creamy texture to your curry. Both chopped tomatoes and blanched tomato puree are added in this recipe. The onion tomato base has to be sauteed really well to get rid of the raw taste of onion and garlic. This curry can be made in either ghee or oil. I have used sunflower oil, you may use mustard oil for that typical Punjabi taste if you wish. I have used red kidney beans/ kashmiri rajma t make this Rajma masala as the beans retain the red color and hold their shape well after cooking and take up the flavors of the masala very well.
I have been surrounded by North Indians for the most part of my married life and this can be easily seen by the number of North Indian dishes, especially the Punajbi dishes on my blog. Even my son has a special liking for this food. He prefers taking different types of parathas laced with butter in his lunch box and has a spark in his eyes when I cook rajma, chole or Kadhi Pakora for lunch. Punjabi people are jolly and kind at heart and believe in living life to the fullest. This is clearly reflected in their lavish weddings and off course their calorie-rich food laced with ghee and butter.
Punjab is one of the most fertile regions in India due to the presence of abundant water sources and fertile soils. It is rightly called as the Granary of India or India’s Bread-Basket as it produces 19.5 % of India’s wheat. Located in the Northern part of India, it is bordered by the Indian states Jammu Kashmir to the North, Himachal Pradesh to the East, Haryana to the South and the Pakistani Province of Punjab to the West. The five tributary rivers of the Indus River from which the region took its name are Sutlej, Ravi, Beas, Chenab and Jhelum Rivers.
Punjabi Cuisine has a rich tradition of many distinct and local ways of cooking. Tandoori cooking is one such form which is not only famous in other parts of India but also many parts of the world. As Punjab is a major producer of wheat, rice, and dairy products, these products form the staple diet of the Punjabi people. Punjabi Cuisine is distinctively known for its rich, buttery flavors along with the extensive vegetarian and meat dishes.