Pressure Cooker Rajma Masala| Kidney Beans Curry

Growing up, I was never a fan of Rajma Masala. It would be prepared occasionally at home by Amma then, with some very South Indian flourishes. 🙂 I wouldn’t mind it per se, but I didn’t really take to the dish till the husband introduced me to the Delhi version many years later. The city’s love for Rajma Chawal caught on to the husband too, and it became comfort food for him the many lonely days he spent in Delhi. I would accompany him on some of these work trips, and the cook at the office guesthouse taught me the proper North Indian version of Rajma Masala. Over the years, I have made it many, many times, falling in love with it a little more every time. Slowly, my own style of Rajma Masala emerged – a relatively simpler, easier and healthier one that perfectly suits my family’s tastebuds.

Today, I present to you my Pressure Cooker Rajma Masala recipe, which yields a hugely delectable result. I don’t use many whole spices in it, nor cream. All the flavour in it comes from the country tomatoes that go into it and the chana masala that I usually use in it. Once you have the rajma soaked and ready, the rest is a breeze, considering this is a one-pot recipe.

Kidney beans aka rajma is a legume full of health benefits, as I’m sure many of us are already aware. This curry is a delicious way to use them! It turns out just the right amount of thick and super flavourful. The husband likes this Rajma Masala with plain steamed rice, while I prefer it with rotis, parathas or pooris. These pickled onions are just the perfect accompaniment to it, I think.

The next time you consider making Rajma Masala, I hope you will try out this pressure cooker version. Do share your feedback!

Let’s now check out the recipe for Pressure Cooker Rajma Masala.

Ingredients (serves 4):

  1. 1 cup Kashmiri rajma (small red kidney beans)
  2. 1 tablespoon oil
  3. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  4. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  5. 4 large tomatoes
  6. 5-6 cloves of garlic
  7. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  8. 1 large onion
  9. Salt to taste
  10. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  11. Red chilli powder to taste
  12. 1 tablespoon chana masala or to taste
  13. 1 tablespoon jaggery powder or to taste (optional)
  14. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander

Method:

1. Soak the rajma for 8-10 hours or overnight, in enough water to cover it.

2. When the rajma is done soaking, drain out all the water from it. Transfer the soaked rajma to a wide vessel and add in just enough fresh water to cover it. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker. Pressure cook on high flame for about 5 whistles or till the rajma is cooked through. Let the pressure release naturally.

3. Chop the tomatoes roughly. Peel the ginger and chop roughly. Peel the garlic cloves. Grind the tomatoes, ginger and garlic to a fine puree without adding any water. Keep aside.

4. Chop the onion finely. Keep aside.

5. When the pressure from the cooker has entirely gone down, get the cooked rajma out. Retain the water it was cooked in.

6. Dry the pressure cooker you used to cook the rajma. Heat the oil in it. Add in the cumin seeds and asafoetida. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds.

7. Add the chopped onions to the cooker. Cook on medium flame till they start turning brown.

8. Add the tomato-ginger-garlic puree to the cooker, along with a little salt. Cook on medium flame till the puree loses its raw smell. This should take 3-4 minutes. You will need to stir intermittently.

9. Now, add the cooked rajma, along with the water it was cooked in. Add salt to taste, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, chana masala and jaggery powder (if using). If you feel the gravy is too thick, you can add in a bit of water at this stage. Mix well.

10. When the rajma begins to simmer, close the pressure cooker and put the weight on. Pressure cook on high flame for 3 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally.

11. When the pressure has gone down completely, stir the Rajma Masala gently. Sprinkle chopped coriander over the Rajma Masala. Serve hot.

Notes:

1. Adjust the time for pressure cooking depending upon the type of rajma you use. Different types of rajma take different times to cook, as do different makes of pressure cookers. I use the small Kashmiri rajma from Popular Essentials, and make this in a 5-litre pressure cooker. The above cooking times are just perfect for me.

2. Make sure the rajma is well cooked, but not mushy, when you pressure cook it for the first time. Only then you should add it to the onion and tomato gravy and cook it further.

3. Kitchen King Masala, garam masala or rajma masala can be used in place of chana masala. I love using chana masala in this recipe.

4. If the Rajma Masala turns out a little watery, you can simmer it for a bit after the pressure has gone down fully.

5. You can add in a bit of amchoor powder or lemon juice to the Rajma Masala for extra tanginess. Alternatively, you can mix in a little curd into the Rajma Masala, at the very end. I don’t use any of these ingredients typically.

6. You can mix in a little cream and/or crushed kasoori methi after the Rajma Masala is done. I usually omit the cream, and add the kasoori methi once in a while.

7. Ghee or butter can be used for the tempering in the Rajma Masala, instead of oil.

8. You can add the tempering at the very end too, after the Rajma Masala is fully cooked and ready.

9. You can make the Rajma Masala in a pan too. I prefer making it in a pressure cooker as it is easier and the flavours get better absorbed this way.

10. Skip the onions, ginger and garlic if you plan to make a Jain version of this Rajma Masala.

11. You can also grind the onion along with the tomatoes, ginger and garlic, to a puree. I sometimes use chopped onion in Rajma Masala, and sometimes puree it with the tomatoes. Both methods yield an equally delicious outcome.

12. Country (nati) tomatoes work best in this recipe. They add a lovely tart flavour to the Rajma Masala.

13. Whole spices like bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves and dry red chillies can be used in the tempering. I prefer keeping my Rajma Masala really simple, though, and using only cumin in the tempering.

14. Using the jaggery powder is optional, but I would highly recommend it. It doesn’t make the Rajma Masala sweet, but helps round out the other flavours beautifully.

15. This is a completely plant-based, vegan and vegetarian recipe. It can be easily made gluten-free as well, if you only omit the asafoetida used in the tempering and use chana masala that is free of any ingredients that include gluten.

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Did you like this recipe? Do tell me in your comments!

I’m sending this recipe to My Legume Love Affair #129. This is a monthly event started by Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook, the legacy carried forward for a long time by Lisa of Lisa’s Kitchen. This month, My Legume Love Affair is being hosted by Seduce Your Tastebuds.

I’m also linking this recipe to Fiesta Friday #281. Do hop over to see the other interesting recipes there!

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