July 27, 2009
The first one to try this recipe and post your feedback on this site gets an hour complimentary cooking lesson with me! If you post something non-Indian or different you did with the recipe that most of us wouldn't do I'll use it in my book!
Spicy North Indian Kidney Beans
Rajmah – North Indian version of chili or red beans and rice
Slow Cooker: 5-quart round or oval
Settings and Cooking times: high 11 hours, makes 6-9 cups (depending on water added)
Rajmah is the quintessential comfort food for Punjabis (North Indians). Ask anyone from that region and they’ll tell you they grew up eating these hearty beans over rice in their home as a quick Sunday lunch or in their college hostel.
It’s not a dish that’s usually considered refined enough to be found on a restaurant menu, but it is a classic – made better only when served over a bed of rice with some savory, tangy yogurt on the side.
I remember one buddy (yes, Amit, that's you!) in graduate school at the University of Hawaii/East West Center had just arrived from India and was so eager to eat rajmah that in lieu of tomatoes he substituted ketchup.
I wouldn’t recommend such short cuts nor would I recommend using canned beans or cream as some recipes suggest. Keep it simple and I guarantee you’ll make this dish over and over again.
2 cups red kidney beans, washed thoroughly
1 medium yellow or red onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
2 medium-sized tomatoes diced (about 1 cup)
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped or grated (2 tablespoon)
3 cloves garlic, chopped or minced (1 tablespoon)
2 - 4 green Thai, Serrano or cayenne chilies, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon whole cumin seed
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
3 whole cloves
1 tablespoon red chili powder
1 cinnamon stick (2-3 inches long)
1 tablespoon salt
6-8 cups water (less if you want more of a chili effect)
1 bunch fresh, chopped cilantro (1/2 cup)
Place everything but the cilantro in the slow cooker. Cook until the beans break down and become thick and somewhat creamy.
When finished, take out the cloves (if you can find them!) and cinnamon stick. If the rajmah is not creamy enough, take an immersion blender and press it about four times to break up some of the beans. If using a blender, take out about a cup and process in the blender, then put this back in the slow cooker. Be careful not to process all of the beans. Most of the beans should remain whole.
Stir in the cilantro.
Enjoy over bed of basmati or brown rice with a side of raita and an Indian salad.
Try This! After cooking, add 1 cup of plain yogurt, stir well and let the slow cooker sit (on off) with the cover on for about 10 minutes. This adds a unique tang to the dish.
Mini Slow Cooker (For all you swingin' singles)
Cooker: 1-quart mini
Settings and Cooking times: (one setting) 10 hours, makes 3 cups
½ cup red kidney beans, washed thoroughly
1 heaping tablespoon chopped yellow or red onion
1 heaping tablespoon chopped tomato
1 heaping teaspoon ginger, peeled and grated or chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped or grated (1 teaspoon)
1 green Thai, Serrano or cayenne chili, thinly sliced
½ teaspoon whole cumin seed
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon red chili powder
1 whole clove
1-inch piece cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups water
1 heaping teaspoon fresh, chopped cilantro
Place everything but the cilantro in the slow cooker. Cook 10 hours until the beans break down.
When finished, take out the clove and cinnamon. Break down the beans a bit by mashing them (2 to three times) with a large spoon against the sides of the cooker. Stir in cilantro.
Serve over bed of basmati or brown rice with a side salad and plain yogurt or raita.