Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Rajma, pressure cooker method (Red Kidney Beans Curry)

Yesterday, two items in two different sections of our newspaper caught my eye, one was in the Business section and the other in the Style Section on the page for kids - Kids Post.

The headline from the former read "Silicon Valley Wants to Stay On the Road to Prosperity" - discussing how lack of investment in science, technology, engineering, math (STEM being the industry jargon) is putting the US at a competitive disadvantage compared to countries like India and China. While the heading from the Kids Post read "Homework Debate -Kids Parents and Teachers Disagree on How Much is too Much" - some parents argue how an hour of homework for a elementary school is considered too much. There in lies the paradox.

Parents and for that matter Kids in India (I know that for a fact) and I bet in China too have no choice about the amount of homework the kids get. In my opinion, the quality of work DD brings home from school is far higher than what I took home. More than what is brought as homework the discipline and planning that is required to get the work done is something that has to be developed early in life and will come very handy when the same kids go to college and decide if STEM will be their thing or something else. Seeing these two articles in the same newspaper got me thinking thats all.

I first heard of Rajma pretty late when I started working on my first job, yup! never heard the word till then. This girl a co-worker announced that she brought Rajma for lunch and a bunch of oohs and aahs followed her. I was curious enough to follow them into the lunch room and get a table close enough to take a peek into her lunch. From the looks of it the curry was worth all the oohs and aahs it got. I did not know the girl well enough to ask for a taste, which I regret it to this day. I knew red kidney beans alright but the dish that goes by the name Rajma was what I had not known. Well it took another 5 years before I actually tasted it. Rajma - the word describes the dish as well as the beans correct? I utilize the pressure cooker to reduce the time it takes to cook the dish.


1. 1 Cup of Red Kidney Beans soaked overnight (DO NOT precook the beans)
2. 1/2 Onion chopped fine
3. 1-2 tomatoes chopped fine or run through a food processor
4. 2 tsp grated ginger
5. 6-7 garlic pods chopped
6. 4 green chilies slit
7. 2 tsp of chicken masala (you can use any masala of choice)
8. 1 tsp each of red chili powder and coriander powder
9. 1/2 tsp cumin powder
10. 1/2 tbsp aamchur powder
11. seasonings - curry leaves and mustard seeds
12. 1-2 tsp of oil
13. salt to taste
14. chopped coriander leaves a handful

1. Heat oil in a pressure cooker, add the mustard seeds and curry leaves when the mustard starts to pop add the onions, garlic and ginger and saute till the onions start to turn translucent.
2. Now add the powders (aamchur, chili, cumin and coriander powder) mix well and add the chopped tomatoes.
3. Wash the soaked beans well in 2-3 changes of water and add to the onion tomato mixture.
4. Now add 2 cups of water, close the pressure cooker and cook for 2 whistles, let it cool.
5. Now add the salt and coriander leaves and let it cook for a few more minutes or till the required consistency is reached.

Rajma is traditionally served over rice but we like to eat them with chapatis.
This will be my entry to My Legume Love Affair Seventh Helping hosted by Srivalli an event started by Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook


  1. Lovely curry, looks gorgeous, i love this pressure cooker version, will try soon..

  2. I Love Rajma.. Pressure cooker saves lot of cooking time..
    Rajma curry looks delicious..


  3. That looks delicious (and anything with fresh coriander is a guaranteed winner with me!)

    Kids in China certainly don't get any choice over how much work they have to do - or whether they later specialise in STEM, so far as I can tell. They get pushed towards what they're good at.

  4. I WANT the teachers to give Tushar some home work everyday or else I will give him some of my own which he does but other parents argue and make the teachers not to give any!! Strange land! :D

    Rajma is always made with Rajma beans which are Kidney beans, pressure cooker is the best to cook it. Have you tried Rajma with Kashmiri Rajma? They are so small and very flavorful, love it.
    Looks great Indo, nutritious too for kids. Trisha likes Beans, so it's easy for me! :))

  5. Rachel, you can add as much fresh coriander leaves as you want, adds to the taste.

    I am amazed everyday at the array of (career) choices available to the kids in the US but most of them pick on the easy courses because of the lack of hard work that might be required for STEM. I hear Medicine is also lacking quality candidates.
    In China kids are forced whereas in India an education other than Medicine or STEM is certainly looked down on.

  6. Asha, I am with you on the homework bit, I made DDs do some extra work at home. I can get the parents who argue with the teachers to go easy on the homework and in the end crib that their kids do not do well at school. StrangeLand indeed!!

  7. I agree with you on the homework part - in my kids school too they do not get to do any HW till 5th, and then when they have to do even a page it becomes a burden! I always had HW for them at home - not much just a few things to get into the discipline of following an order, and sticking to time limits! Worked on my daughter but I have to nag my son despite all the practice!!

    Don't regret missing that rajma - yours is too good and I am the one who is drooling and regretting that it is an image:)

  8. I love Rajma too and though it was not a regular at home we did have a fair share of it as kids.
    Yeah Pressure Cooker, my savior in all beany and lentily stuff.

    Only I pressure cook the beans alone and then do the tadka and gravy in a Kadhai

    Your dish has that perfect color. have not joined the HW circuit yet because S doesn't get too much of it but i compensate by getting her do the workshhets. Got to do something to keep them busy

    BTW do check your mail

  9. looks very yummy.. nice alternative to regular rajma. good one.

  10. I always cook the rajam in pressure cooker.
    Yeah i totally agree about kids in India having toomuch homework.

  11. I've never made it this way.. the masalas must be better incorporated using this method.

    Yes.. i always wondered why pple here are so keen to stop after high school.. that was never an option to us in India. I think that makes a huge difference.

  12. I love the Rajma, I was curious to know why it got the name. When I first said I made Rajma, Appa made fun of him it sounded like a lady`s name.
    I wish kids could get the best of both when it comes to education. I like both the systems. It could be better if we can incorporate the best from both.

  13. my hubby treats rajma like chicken:) We all love it too. & like u I add some kind of powder masala to it, whtever is at hand.

  14. Its a strange situation for parents,students and teachers too...HW or no Hw,both way there are enough more or less HW is a relative term i guess.
    Regarding Rajma...the only fitting way i can compliment u is that it terribly reminded me of my mom,who cooks some amazingly creamy ,flavourful rajma and yeah we too eat it with chapati.So now just called my mom and invited myself to her place tomm. for eating rajma...yummmmmmm

  15. One of the moms in a community that I visit often, wrote this.

    My son is getting bad in maths. He asked his teacher for extra coaching by staying late and she refused. Should I complain? Or should we (we, the parents are maths wizards) take to coach him by ourselves??


    I was too dumbfounded by this question. So were many others int hat community. But it is just so obvious..if your child needs help, you should be the first one to help. But this woman was asking if she should go ahead and file a complaint about the teacher who refused to stay late and help her son.

    Strange world, indeed!

  16. I love kidney beans, they are so hearty and filling.

  17. I was never a fan of kidney beans till I tried them as 'rajma' -- now I'll have to get some dried beans to try your way ISG. Looks so tasty! :)

    Homework, please -- constant discussions about that in my house. It seems the HS teachers give lots of class time toward doing homework. I seem to remember having much more but maybe my memory is distored by age ;)

  18. Indo, you missed my Chettinadu Thali, girl. Check it out! :)

    Have a wonderful Super Bowl Sunday, I am off for shopping this evening.

  19. Looks delicious! Never tried with a pressure cooker. Will try your version soon.

  20. delicious Indo, My friend makes it in a pressure cooker too, using different spices. I have to try it this time.

  21. I follow the same method...I love rajma,they are the best ones:-) I prefer rajma to rajma chawal!

  22. i ll bring over chawal n we can hve it
    talk about self inviting ;p

    lovely recipe

  23. Indo..thats one lovely rajma..I still remember how I was introduced to this...:)

  24. Hi ISD, The debate is such a crucial one about kids and homework, and yet how is one to decide how much is enough. How can we arrive at a paradigm that will have the promise of quality in its quantity. Your rajma looks simple and tasty. Cheers.

  25. lovely comment on my place...n u really encouraged me

  26. Mesmerising curry, Lovely and gorgeous

  27. I made this and came out well...must say this one is a quickie...thanks a lot for sharing such an easy recipe :)


  28. I recently discovered rajma, cooked it without pressure cooker and loved it. I've just bought a new pressure cooker (modern European) and have discovered your great blog. Would love to try your version. Could you please explain the "cook for 2 whistles". How long would a "whistle" be using a non-whistling pressure cooker? Thanks for some mouthwatering recipes.

  29. Paul, pressure cookers are a great gadget to have at home.

    There are 2 ways you can count time in a non-whistling cooker.

    Always use medium to low medium heat.

    1. Close the lid but without the weight on wait for the steam and then place the weight and cook for about 8 minutes.

    2. Place the weight immediately and then cook for 10 minutes.

    These times are rough estimates, if the Rajma turns out too mushy reduce the time by 2 minutes, if too hard increase by 2 minutes.

    If there is too much liquid, let cook with the lid open till the desired consistency is reached.

    Hope this helps and let me know how it turned out.

  30. Many thanks, indosungod. I'll let you know how I get on. By the way, rajma's great for freezing!



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