Rajma Chawal — kidney beans and rice

We have been getting unusual amounts of rain this time of the year in Los Angeles. It has been raining almost daily for the last 10 days. On days like these all I want to do is eat and feed my family one of my favorite childhood foods. Rajma or Rajmah chawal as it is known in India or kidney beans and rice. YUM! When made right – I pour it over some rice and I am in heaven.

Kidney beans are popular globally! Every cuisine has some variation of it whether it is chilli or frijoles but this version of it and I love it and so do my 3.5 year old and my 1 year old. My 1 year old eats the beans as finger food and absolutely loves this dish.

Kidney beans are a great form of fiber and since they don’t give insulin spikes it makes a lot of sense to include them in your diet if you have gestational diabetes. They are a great source of protein if you are a vegetarian. I cup of kidney beans has 13 gms of protein.

You can use canned or dried beans. I prefer using dried kidney beans but that requires a little bit of planning as they need to be soaked overnight. I soak them overnight and I also use my pressure cooker to cook them. I get them soft and tender in about 5-10 minutes in the pressure cooker. If dried beans are not your thing – just use canned beans. I wash them and rinse them prior to adding them to my dishes.

Here’s how I made it:

2 cups rajma or kidney beans (use either canned or beans cooked in the pressure)
2 potatoes
3 tbsp cooking oil
2 tomatoes
1 medium sized onion
1.5 inch ginger
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp amchur (if you don’t have it you can substitute 1.5 tbsp lime juice)
salt to taste


1)      Cook the potatoes and kidney beans before making the rajma. You can do it two ways. If you are using dried beans. I would toss the beans and the potatoes with water (about half an inch of water more than the food level in the pressure cooker) in the pressure cooker and cook them for 3 whistles. This should take about 5-10 mins. If you are using canned beans, I would microwave the cubed potatoes (cube them before!) in water for about 5 minutes.

2)      Cube the tomatoes and the onions.

3)      Cut the ginger into small pieces.

4)      Heat oil in a deep sauce pan over medium heat.

5)      Add half of the cut tomatoes into the pan and cook for 5 minutes or till the tomatoes are cooked (they look withered/wrinkled).

6)      Add the onions and sauté them till they are translucent. Should take 4 minutes or so.

7)      Add the cut ginger, turmeric powder, coriander powder.

8)      Toss in the cooked beans and potatoes and the remaining tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes. Add water to adjust to the desired consistency. Add salt to taste.

9)      Add amchur if you have some, if not then add 1.5 tbsp of lime juice. Amchur is dried mango powder that is often used in Indian foods. It serves the same purpose as adding lime to a dish.

Serve warm with rice.. and enjoy!

Try it and let me know how it turns out.

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