Rajma or red kidney beans do not need any introduction, it is a popular lunchtime menu in almost entire North India. Red kidney beans cooked in a rich tomato based gravy and served with rice, called as Rajma Chawal. It is our all-time favourite comfort meal and it is actually among those few dishes we both relish with equal joy. During afternoon time if you cross by Punjabi neighbourhood few of the kitchens chimney blowing out the pleasant aroma of rajma simmering in the pressure cooker and the whistles of the pressure cooker breaking the afternoon silence.
This recipe of rajma masala was passed on to me by my mother-in-law and trust me when I say this, it is the quickest and delicious of all the recipes of rajma masala I have tried so far. Earlier I use to soak my Rajma overnight and then cook them but my kidney beans always tasted bland as if they have not soaked the richness of gravy then my MIL shared this trick with me, no need to soak Rajma overnight or for a long time, just soak it in water 1-2 hours before cooking. Though not pre-soaking beans definitely take longer than usual time to cook but the beans well absorb the flavour of the curry. There is no tedious process of roasting spices involved in this recipe and yet the end result is so flavoursome and bold.
Punjabi Style Rajma Chawal Recipe
Red kidney beans cooked in rich based tomato gravy and served with rice, together the combination is called as Rajma Chawal
Rinse and soak the red kidney beans in enough water for 1 - 2 hours. After 2 hours, discard the water and drain beans in a colander. Set aside.
In a pressure cooker heat oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, asafoetida and ginger-garlic paste, saute till onion turn caramelized and light brown in color. Keep on stirring the onions while sauteing them, for uniform cooking and also so that they don't get burnt.
Next add the drained beans in the pressure cooker (Buy it here) along with salt, red chili powder and turmeric powder. Stir to combine and saute the mixture for 2 - 3 minutes.
Add the 4 Cups of water to the pressure cooker, close the lid, put the weight and let beans cook over medium heat for 2 - 3 whistle. Turn the heat to low and release the steam from the pressure cooker manually. Open the lid and add the chopped tomato along with garam masala. Stir to combine.
Once again close the lid and cook the beans in the pressure cooker (Buy it here) for 3 - 4 more whistles over low heat. Turn off the heat. Let the steam release naturally from the pressure cooker. Check if the rajma is cooked or not by taking a bite or pressing a bean. If they are not fully cooked completely, then pressure cook again or simmer over low heat for few more minutes. Meanwhile add some water if required to adjust the consistency of the curry.
Simmer without a lid for 10-12 minutes or more till the curry thickens slightly, it should not be watery. Mash a few rajma beans with the back of the spoon, this helps to thicken the curry.
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Serve Rajma Masala with steamed basmati rice or jeera rice for an indulgent family lunch.