Red beans and rice, also known as ‘rajma chawal’ is a comforting meal from the northern states of India. Red beans simmered in tomato based gravy with Indian spices is served over hot basmati rice. It makes a perfect family weekend meal.
Red kidney beans and rice is an all time favorite dish and perfect for the colder months. Rajma masala or curry can be served with roti/chapati or rice. The leftovers can also be used in tortilla wraps.
In this recipe, I have used raw kidney beans. But, you can also use canned kidney beans. I feel the dish tastes better when you use raw beans. If you use raw beans, you need to do some planning. You have to soak the beans for atleast 8-10 hours, discard the water and then cook until the beans are tender. And, then make the dish. A long process, but worth it as you can make a big batch and refrigerate it for the whole week. I usually soak the beans at night around 8-9 PM and the next day morning, cook in the pressure cooker for about 7-8 minutes.
I have used store bought rajma masala for this recipe. It is the only spice I use in this dish. If you plan to buy, you can get it from any Indian grocery store. You can also substitute it with a mixture of coriander powder, turmeric powder, chilli powder and garam masala. But for the authentic flavor, it is worth buying rajma masala powder. Now, the recipe..
1 cup basmati rice
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida powder
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, minced or finely chopped
1 tablespoon ginger, minced or finely chopped
11/2 tablespoon rajma masala powder (See notes on substitute)
2 medium tomatoes, pureed or finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint, unpacked
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped unpacked
2 cups red kidney beans, cooked (See notes on cooking kidney beans)
2 cups plain water or kidney beans stock
2 teaspoon salt, divided
- Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan on medium heat.
- Add cumin seeds and asafoetida powder. When the cumin seeds crackle, add onion, ginger and garlic. Saute for few minutes, about 7-8 minutes, until the onions have browned.
- Now, add the rajma masala powder and tomato puree. Fry until all moisture has evaporated. This could take about 8-10 minutes.
- Add the mint, cilantro, and kidney beans, give a quick mix and cook for about 3 minutes. Mash a few beans with the back of a spoon to thicken the sauce.
- Add water more or less depending on the consistency you prefer and cook on medium-low for about 20-30 minutes. Keep stirring once in a while every few minutes.
- Meanwhile, boil 4 cups of water in a big pot with a teaspoon of salt. Add basmati rice and cook on medium-high flame until the rice is done. It could take about 5-7 minutes. Strain the rice and discard the water.
- Serve the red beans with rice. Enjoy!
- Rajma masala substitute – 1 teaspoon coriander powder + 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder + 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder + 1 teaspoon garam masala + 1/2 teaspoon dry mango powder.
- Cooking raw kidney beans – Soak the beans for 8-10 hours. Discard the water and rinse the beans. Pressure cook for 5-7 minutes until the beans are tender and get crushed when mashed in between fingers.