Ask any Punjabi Indian what their favourite comfort food is?  Undoubtably, rajma and rice will be at the top of the list.  And, to kick this comfort food up a notch is to add cream and extra butter as done in most restaurants. 

At S&S, we are committed to bringing you the tastiest recipes with maximum favour while minimizing empty calories.  The recipe below is no different.  Here, we designed a recipe where the curry base is developed with time and persistence, and the payoff being, no need to add extra cream or butter.

rajma curry recipe

Benefits of Kidney Beans

Fiber – Kidney beans, as with most other beans, are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering insoluble fiber. 

Protein – naturally high in protein, and when combined with whole grains such as rice, they provide high quality protein.

Mineralsexcellent source of trace mineral, molybdenum, an integral component of the enzyme that is responsible for detoxifying sulfites.  Sulfites are a type of preservative commonly added to prepared foods like salads found at the deli counter and/or salad bars.

Energy high soluble fiber content helps stabilize blood sugar levels while providing steady, slow-burning energy.  High in iron – unlike red meat, kidney beans are virtually fat-free and low in calories. 

Benefits of Curry-base—Tarka

Tarka is the curry base of most indian dishes.  Its made by tempering a collection of healthy herbs and spices added to an onion, tomato, ginger and garlic base.  Tempering spices is a traditional method to extract the full flavour from spices by heating them in hot oil/butter and then added to a dish.  Furthermore, ingredients in tarka contain many health benefits along with adding delicious flavour to often boring legumes and vegetables.

Sofrito sauce — EVOO, garlic, onion and tomato is not only a speciality of the Indian kitchen but also the base of many other cuisines including Spanish and Italian.

Onion Health Tip: the flavonoids in onion tend to be more concentrated in the outer layers of the flesh.  To maximize on this, peel off as little of the fleshy, edible potion as possible when removing the onion’s outermost layer. 

Benefits of the Tarka base ingredients include but not limited to:

  • combination of these ingredients increase bioavailability (absorption in the stomach) of each other.  Example, onions helps to increase bioavailability of lycopene, found in tomatoes.  Lycopene is a well-studies, health-promoting carotenoid.
  • decrease risk of oxidative stress and chronic inflammation in blood vessels.
  • high anti-oxidant content including many polyphenols.
  • linked to good heart health—lower cholesterol.
  • boosted immunity, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.
  • improve digestion, prevent flatulence, diarrhea and acidity.

Rajma — Kidney Bean Curry Recipe

1 cup of dry red Kidney Beans

1 large white Onion – finally diced/chopped

3 cloves of Garlic – grated

1 inch piece of Ginger – grated

2 large Tomato – finally diced/chopped

1 tbsp Tomato Paste

2 tbsp of EVOO

1 tbsp of Butter

1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds

1 tbsp + 1 tsp of Garam Masala (store bought or homemade mixture of spices)

1/2 tbsp of Turmeric

1/2 tbsp dry fenugreek leaves (optional)

1 tbsp salt (to taste)

1/4 tsp cyanine pepper (substitute black pepper for mild spice)

Cilantro leaves for garnish

Cooking Beans

Sift through kidney beans to remove any broken pieces or small rocks.  Wash the beans 2-3 times to remove any dirt or grit.  In a large bowl, cover beans with 2x the cold water, and soak overnight.  The beans will double in size, make sure the pot is large enough not to spill over water.

Next day, discard soaking water and add beans plus additional water (cover beans by 2 inches) to cooking pot. 

Pressure Cooker – Add beans, along with water to the pressure cooker.  The beans will not puff anymore but make sure there is extra water, around 2 inches above the beans to cook in. 

Cook beans as per pressure cooker instructions, once the whistle starts to blow, cook for additional 20 minutes.  Let the pressure drop (~10-15 minutes) and/or being extra carful, remove the pressure safely by following manufacture instructions.  

Make sure the beans are completely cooked through by mashing them with a fork or squeezing one between your thumb and finger.  It they are still hard or have some give, cook them a little more, add more water if needed. 

Stove-top method – As above, add beans and enough water to cover the beans by at least 2 inches.  Bring to boil, drop heat to simmer, cover pot and cook until beans are fully cooked and can easily mush with a fork, 1 to 1.5 hours.

Cooking Curry Base — Tarka Masala

In a large pot, heat oil, butter and cumin seeds. 

Add in chopped onion, ginger and garlic.  Cook 5-10 minutes until onion is translucent, careful not to burn. 

Add in turmeric, garam masala, fenugreek seeds, salt and pepper, cook for 2 minutes. 

Add in the chopped tomato and tomato paste.  Cook mixture until oil starts to separate from the mixture.  If mixture starts to dry up, add a tablespoon of water from the beans liquid or just plain water and continue to cook the masala.  The more you stir and cook the masala, the deeper the flavour develops. 

Cream is often added to many restaurant-style dishes to provide a richness and gravy-like viscosity.  Continuously cooking tarka creates flavour depth of used ingredients, making addition of cream unnecessary.  Hence, cook this tarka for up to 15 minutes, adding water as needed.

Add fully cooked beans, without the liquid, to the masala mixture and mix.  Add leftover liquid from the beans to the mixture, 1 cup at a time and mix to desired consistency, approximately  4-5 cups will yield a nice curry.  Simmer the curry without a lid for 8-10 minutes, until it thickens.

Finishing steps mix in 1 tsp of Garam Masala, and garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and serve with Brown Rice Pilaff


Learn more about benefits of above mentioned herbs and spices at:

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