PUNJABI RAJMA

The other day I was talking to one of my ‘bestest‘ friends, B. Now married and living in the Middle East, she is one person who comes closest to being my replica. A fellow Capricornian, her traits are quite similar to mine. We have had our ups and downs, periods where either did not know what’s happening with the other, but, somehow, and mostly because of the effort she has put in staying in touch, we are still the ‘bestest’ friends.

Growing up, we have had numerous meals in each others houses- her mom, for me, is one of the best cooks I know and for her, the same holds for my mom. These days, both living the lives of housewives, our phone conversations have evolved from normal school bitching to talks about our housewive roles! Its quite funny to see both of us exchanging recipes on the phone- two people who never entered the kitchen before marriage! How life takes a turn!

B religiously views my blog. She wanted my mother’s rajma recipe. So here I am posting it for her.

Rajma Chawal (red kidney bean curry served with rice) is a dish very dear to north Indians. It was and still is one of my favorites. My bhua (my father’s sister) would make it for me every time we went to visit her. For long, I hardly used to eat rice. The only time I would serve myself some would be when there was rajma as an accompaniment (Yup, that’s how much I like rajma!). It’s also one of V’s favorite dish. In fact, I’m yet to meet someone who doesn’t like rajma chawal.

Its a very popular favorite Indian dish. Its comfort food in the true sense. A statement made true from the fact that at Vaishno Devi, the holiest Hindu temple, the staple food served is rajma chawal. After a tiring trek, getting piping hot rajma chawal is just purely heaven, especially when you are in God’s abode!

The trick to good rajma is the grating of the onions. I have tried both- with finely chopped onions and grated onions. The results have been significantly better with the latter. Go figure! I think its the “juice” from the grated onion that helps permeate the dish with flavor. I also think grated onions gives a thicker gravy. These are just my assumptions, and even though grating the onions is definitely more effort, I find the results worth it.

I have also learnt that the Rajma masala freezes really well. When you want to make the rajma, just remove the masala from freezer and put in pan on low flame. Pressure cook the soaked rajma with salt, and once beans are soft add the rajma masala and cook till you get the required consistency.

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