Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Rajma ~ Red Kidney Bean curry and a recycled cardboard remote tray

Some of you might be wondering what a recycled cardboard tray has in common with rajma. Nothing really....... it is just that I came across an idea recently, and I could not resist sharing it with my readers in this post. Cardboard boxes always got flattened and dispatched to the recycle bin in my home..... until recently, when I came across this idea to reuse carboard boxes in different avatars around the home.

Once this idea entered my head I could not shake it off and had to try it asap. Luckily for me, I had a few cardboard boxes that had managed to escape my recycle bin, and I tried making a few things with them. One of the items I made was this remote tray. All I used for this was a little glue and fabric scraps leftover from an earlier sewing project and voila...... the cardboard box got transformed into an environment friendly remote tray :-)

 DIY Remote Caddy

Moving on to rajma. Rajma refers to a classic red kidney beans curry from north Indian cuisine. There are many variations of this curry, but personally I prefer a simpler version of rajma. So I make mine with a minimum of spices so that the spices do not overwhelm the taste of the red kidney beans completely. This simple curry is very versatile, it works just as well for simple family dinners as it does for parties or entertaining guests.

Rajma ~ Red Kidney Bean Curry | Veg Inspirations

 Red Kidney Bean Curry~Rajma | Veg Inspirations

Click here for a printable view of this recipe

Ingredients and Method to make Rajma
2 cups dry red kidney beans soaked for 8 hours or so in plenty of water with a pinch of baking soda (soda is optional) (see notes)
1 large onion cut very fine (pyaaz)
5 small tomatoes (or 3 medium ones) cut very fine
1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp minced ginger (adrak)
3 Thai or Indian variety of green chilies cut fine (or to taste)
1/2 tsp minced garlic (lehsun)
1/2 tsp red chili powder (or to taste)
1/2 tsp garam masala (or to taste)
to make your own garam masala check out this post
salt to taste
handful cilantro (coriander leaves) cut fine for garnish (optional) ( I did not use it this time)

Heat oil in a large heavy bottomed pan. Add onions and saute until transparent. Add green chilies, minced ginger and garlic and stir for a few seconds.

Add tomatoes and cook until soft and mushy. While the tomatoes are cooking, drain the bean soak water and keep the soaked beans aside.

Add garam masala and red chili powder to the cooked tomatoes and stir a few times.

Now add the soaked beans, water as required and bring to a boil. Lower heat and allow the beans to simmer and cook until soft but not mushy adding water if required (see notes). Add salt as required and allow to simmer for a few more minutes for the flavors to blend.

Garnish with finely cut cilantro leaves if using and serve hot with plain steamed rice or some Indian bread like rotis or naans.

If you want to know why I soak beans with a pinch of baking soda and the reason why I drain the bean soak water check out  this post .

In case you run short of time, you can soak the red kidney beans in water that is a little hotter than just warm for about 5 hours, it works just as well as the usual 8 hour soak.

You can also precook the beans in a pressure cooker or on the stove top and add to the pan after adding the garam masala and red chili powder. If you precook the beans, you can add salt immediately after adding beans to the onion+tomato mixture and then allow to simmer for a few more minutes, remove from heat and serve hot.

This curry with red kidney beans is off to the MLLA Event the 27th edition being hosted by Susan
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