July 27, 2009 16 Comments
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.
September 29, 2012
Have made this re cope multiple times and am amazed every time on how good the rajma turns out. No oil, no fuss and a delicious recipe. I have found 7 cups of water wok perfectly for me.
February 09, 2010
EVERYONE…I NEED TO REALLY BE CLEAR HERE BECAUSE OBVIOUSLY EVERONE ELSE MAKES COOKING BEANS SEEM SOO SOOO CUMBERSOME. YOU MAKE ALL MY RECIPES FROM DRY BEANS. TANYA AND LUCKIEST1 THANKS FOR YOUR POSTS AND INTEREST IN TRYING THIS RECIPE. IT ACTUALLY WORKS WITH DRIED BEANS. I NEVER EVER USE CANNED UNLESS IT'S FOR A SALAD…AND DON'T SOAK 'CAUSE THEN I NEVER GET TO IT AND THEY GET RANCID. I'M TYPING IN CAPS BECAUSE I FEEL SO SO STRONGLY ABOUT THIS -THE TOPIC OF BEANS – IMAGINE THAT. I HAVE TO SAY THAT SOME FOLKS BELIEVE THAT BEANS SHOULD BE SOAKED TO TAKE OUT THE GASEOUS ELEMENTS. I NEVER FELT THAT IT REALLY MADE ANY DIFFERENT. IN THAT CASE IT'S UP TO THE INDIVIDUAL TO DETERMINE WHAT THEY LIKE BEST.
June 11, 2010
I tried the dal mahani — delicious, and now in demand at my house. But I'm making them wait because I want the ramjah, which goes in the crock pot tomorrow morning.
Thank you for these delicious and healthy recipes — delicious and healthy AND SIMPLE!
January 16, 2011
I just ordered copies 3 and 4 of your cookbook to give to friends. I made a batch of ramjah overnight Friday to take to a potluck yesterday and it was delicious! I almost could have eaten the entire batch myself.
One note is that the recipe in the book called for 2 tablespoons of salt which seemed like way too much. I cut it back to 1 tablespoon and then added a little more to taste after it was done cooking. I notice here on this post you just use 1 tablespoon, but then you use 2 cups of beans instead of 3. In any case, making it with 3 cups beans and about 1T + 1 teaspoon of salt is about right.
This was the first recipe I’ve cooked from the book since I got it and I’m happy to say it more than lived up to my expectations!
February 04, 2010
Hi again! I have another question. Do you cook this on high or low?
February 04, 2010
Sorry I didn't read closely enough. I can see that you clearly posted that the dish should be cooked on HIGH. Thanks.
September 08, 2009
We had the opportunity to taste this dish last Friday, and we love it!! The rajmah is packed full of flavor and the spice is not too overwhelming. The beans were cooked perfectly. We are definitely going to be cooking this dish for the long cold winter ahead. Not sure if anything else is needed to an already perfect dish, but here are my suggestions, toast the spices, sautee the onion and maybe add vegtable/chicken stock. But since this is for a crock pot cooking, less complicated and less cleaning, the better.
February 01, 2010
Do you need to soak the beans overnight before you add them to the slow cooker? Thanks.
February 04, 2010
I have the same question as Tanya about the beans….I have never used unsoaked, dried beans in a recipe before. Would love to try this, once you can clarify!
July 29, 2009
Hello Indian Apple Pie:
You can also use Rajmanh with whole wheat pita, Trader joes's whole wheat tortia & not to forget traditional indian whole wheat chapati. Also with Nan but keep in mind nan is made from enrich flour and is not healthy!
July 30, 2009
So mom. I have a question. Did you grow up eating rajmah with anything but rice? I only ask because we've pretty much alwasy eaten it with only rice not roti. Thanks…Anupy
July 29, 2009
Okay…So I cannot wait to get home and try my crockpot version of Rajmah (my FAVORITE!). Thank you so much, 'Nupes. I'm sure it's fabulous, but I'll post tomorrow for sure.
July 29, 2009
That's great Deborah. I can't wait to get your feedback. I'm still tweaking the recipe. So check the site before you cook. I'm making tiny changes…like 10 hours cooking instead of 8. etc. nothing major. but i'm remaking all my recipes to perfect them. your experience making this will certainly help in the process.
Also mom…I love your suggestions. Keep writing. And keep posting your thoughts. Everyone – I've learned everything I know about the crockpot from my awesome MOM!!! Go MOM!!!!
July 28, 2009
Like your website.
July 29, 2009
Suggestion Indian Apple Pie:
Do tarka in 1tbsp+ of heated cold press olive oil and 1tspn of cummin seed, when slightly brown add to the crock pot & mix.
And garnish with 1tspn+ flax seed oil with lignin when serving, thus getting the essential fatty acid of the day!..taste yummy!
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May 31, 2023
April 21, 2023 5 Comments
January 18, 2011
Hello…I appreciate the feedback on salt. I am working on a post to address some of the questions I’ve received about the book. One is salt. In the Intro on page 31 I talk about White Salt, and that in all of my recipes I used kosher or sea salt. Thus, when using regular table salt the quantity should be pulled back just a bit. Also, when I refer to a teaspoon or tablespoon of salt it is a level spoon unless I say heaping. At the end of the day…salt levels are discretionary. I think you did the right thing to take it down a notch and then add more as needed. I wrote the recipes so that I didn’t have to add any more salt when I sat down to eat (even my mom had to come around on this). Please stay tuned to the blog…I will be reviewing a few other discrepancies in the book (sigh, writing a book is not a perfect process)…but there are things that we have cleaned up for subsequent printings. But…I want everyone that has the book to have the updates now…
All the best to you…please keep the questions coming!!