How would a South Indian palate react to a very buttery-but-no-kick-even-after-a-mile preparation of a 'royal-urad' dal?? Well, just not very cordially. My first introduction to 'Raj' the royal 'mah' or urad dal was not all that friendly. Our erstwhile landlady in Amritsar had sent us this rich dish of plump kidney beans drowned in a combination of tomatoes, onions and butter. The beans I felt was such a hardy guy that the simple combination of tomatoes and onions did nothing but torture my palate. Rajma would definitely hold up to something stronger in the background I imagined. But I never liked the beans enough to explore other ways of preparing it. What started on a sour note ended up absolutely rancid during my hostel days! Folks at Sabarmati hostel in JNU had an uncanny knack to prepare an inedible version of Rajma and Kichidi. I am yet to recover from the 'Kichidi-treatment' but 'Rajma-treatment' I guess I have gotten over.
So what is the secret? The secret is Rasam powder. I know traditionalist would scoff-faint at the idea but well Honey sure liked it and that makes me confident that most 'south'ish palate would readily accept this version of Rajma better. What is more, this recipe is onion-garlic free! Yet so very tasty.

We will need,

Peanut oil/Butter  2tbsp 
Mustard seeds 1/8 tsp
Jeera 1/4 tsp
Hing a dash
Green Chillies  4  slit(adjust according to taste)
Turmeric a generous pinch

Tomato Puree  2 Cups
Rajma  2 Cups cooked
Jaggery 1 tbsp (Shhh!!! this is a secret!!)
Rasam Powder 2 tsp (adjust according to taste)
Salt to taste
Heavy Cream to garnish (optional)

  • Heat peanut oil /butter in a thick bottom pot. Throw in the mustard and the Jeera. Once they stop spluttering add the slit green chillies, hing and turmeric.
  • Follow immediately with the tomato puree. Stir and cook the mixture for a few minutes.
  • Add the rajma, and all other ingredients except cream. Add about a cup of water (left over cooking liquid) and simmer for about 10-15 minutes. If the mixture appears too thick add some more water to bring the curry to the desired consistency.
  • Adjust salt, remove from heat.  Garnish with cream if intended. Serve hot with warm Phulkas or rice.
If using canned beans, be sure to drain the beans and rinse it well under running tap water. For some reason, the beans straight out of can smells funky. If cooking rajma from scratch, pick and clean the beans and soak it in plenty of water overnight. Pressure cook it with some chopped ginger.Drain and reserve the cooking liquid. Use the cooking liquid in the curry. I generally cook an entire kilo / 2 lbs of beans and freeze it in big zip lock pouches. It will last me for at least 4-5 meals. I like these better than the canned version while enjoying the convenience of not having to plan ahead - soak -cook. 


Savi-Ruchi said...

rajma with rasam powder is interesting! As you rightly said, Indians from the southern part might love it.

Tina said...

interesting one..yummy.

Nammaruchi.blogspt.com said...

Wow very tempting pic..love rajma in any form yummm...

Priya Suresh said...

Super inviting rajma,nutritious..

Rumana Rawat said...

Looks very tempting:) and my favorite...

Myvegfare said...

Exactly Rajma and rasam powder is interesting, Love rasam and any veggies with it!.., lovely curry, must try it out sometime, thank you very much for visiting me and to your valuable comments

Prasad said...

Lol..being a Kannadiga...agree entirely with your starting comments on South Indian palate and Rajma Dal. It took me a long while to get used to the taste!