How to Make Rajma Chawal: Punjabi Kidney Beans and Rice
Rajma are red kidney beans, and when you use them to prepare a curry or gravy dish it is called rajma curry.
Rajma chawal is a dish in which boiled rice and rajma curry are each prepared separately and then combined to create a single dish.
Rajma chawal is a traditional Punjabi dish, as well as a popular street food. Usually, medium-sized rajma from Jammu, in India, are preferred—as these beans have the best taste. However, you can use any rajma you have on hand, and this dish will still taste wonderful.
Kidney beans are a high-protein food that provide a number of health benefits, as well.
To make this dish easier to make, I have simplified the recipe so there is no need to roast the spices separately. The resulting recipe is a two-pot preparation: one for the rajma curry and one for the rice. You will therefore be able to taste the range of flavors of the spices used in each dish.
Do try this dish and give your feedback in the comments section below.
Ingredients for Rice
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1.5 cups rice + sufficient water for soaking
- 3 cups water + 1/4 cup
- 1 medium sized onion, sliced
- 1 tsp jeera (cumin seeds)
- 2 tejpatta (bay leaves)
- 1 black cardamom, coarsely crushed
- 3-4 cloves
- 1/2 inch cinnamon
- 1.5 tsp sendha namak (rock salt), or table salt
Instructions to Cook Rice
- Pre-soak the rice for 30 minutes before cooking.
- Pace a kadahi (wok) over medium heat and add oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions and saute them until they turn pink. Then add the cumin seeds, bay leaves, cloves, and cinnamon. Keep sauteeing the onions until they turn medium brown.
- Brown the onions so that the rice gets a brown tinge while cooking. If you wish to keep the rice white, do not brown the rice. When the onions have browned, add about 1/4 cup water and stir a few times.
- Add 1.5 tsp salt and stir a few times. Add the soaked rice without the water. Add 3 cups water and mix well. Keep the heat on high and let the water come to a boil.
- When the water starts bubbling a bit, cover the rice with a lid and reduce heat to low. Cook until the added water dries up and keep checking a few times in between. This should take about 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes of cooking, all of the water should have boiled off. The rice is ready, but put the lid back on and let the rice sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Ingredients for Rajma Curry
- 1 cup rajma (kidney beans), soaked in water overnight
- 2 medium-sized tomatoes, chopped
- 1-2 tbsp oil
- 1 inch ginger, crushed
- 1 green chili, finely crushed
- 10-12 garlic cloves
- 2 medium sized onions, sliced
- 1 tsp kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
- 1/2 tsp deghi mirch (red chili powder)
- 1/2 tsp haldi (turmeric powder)
- 1/2 tsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp sendha namak (rock salt), or table salt
- 1 liter + 1 cup water
Instructions to Cook Rajma Curry
- In a pressure cooker, add the rajma, onions, tomatoes, crushed ginger, green chili, garlic cloves, garam masala, haldi powder, deghi mirch, salt, coriander powder, and oil. Add 1 cup water and stir to mix.
- Keep the heat on high. At the first whistle, reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes more. Open the pressure cooker when the pressure subsides.
- The rajma should have softened. Keep the heat on high and stir until the water dries up; then add the kasuri methi. Roast the rajma for 8-10 minutes stirring constantly.
- Add 1 liter of water and mix well. Close the pressure cooker, and keep the heat on medium. At the first whistle, reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let the pressure inside subside.
- Open the pressure cooker. The rajma will be soft. If the curry is thin, let it boil over a high flame and keep stirring it in between, until it reaches the consistency you want. Our curry took about 5 minutes to reach the desired consistency.
- Rajma curry is ready. Set aside.
Assembling the Rajma Curry Dish
To assemble the rajma curry dish:
- Put the hot rice on a plate.
- Pour the hot rajma curry over it.
© 2018 Rajan Singh Jolly