This may be a very standard recipe but like the dal tadka, I've made it so often that I've kind of gotten to a stage where I have a fool-proof recipe to follow and it comes out well all the time. Even if I am at work anf giving instructions to VJ over the phone, it still turns out good. Now that's something to be proud of I guess :)
A few thumb-rules I've learnt about rajma:
- Soak it overnight, preferably in warm water. Throw away this soaked water
- Rajma has more of ginger and less of garlic in it. Some people even avoid using garlic
- You need lots of spicy green chillies for this
- Rajma also uses very little tomato in its recipe
- Use only MDH Garam Masala. I do not use any other brand and I swear only by MDH. It has the closest authentic taste to home-made garam masala. And this is a tip I learnt from a punjabi roommate of mine whose mom makes garam masala at home. So I believe in it whole-heartedly
- Slow cooking the rajma in the masala is the best way to get the closest restaurant/dhabha kind of taste
- Making rajma is not difficult at all, its actually a very easy recipe since its a staple punjabi curry/dal that's made very often at home
OK...onto the ingredients and the recipe itself.
Rajma - 2 cups
Onions - 2 meduim size
Tomato - 1/2 to 1 medium size (if you're using Roma tomatoes, although they are tiny, use just 1)
Green chillies - 4 spicy hot
Ginger - 3 inch piece
Garlic - 1 clove
Chilli powder - 2 tsp
Dhaniya powder - 1 tsp
Garam masala - 3 tsp
Cumin - 2 tsp
1. Pressure cook the soaked rajma with enough water (double its amount, in this case 4 cups) for 2 whistles and then 15 mins on LOW. Switch off and leave on hot stove for the pressure to release.
2. Cut the ginger into thin long strips, crush the garlic, slit the green chillies, finely chop the onions and tomato.
3. Heat oil in a thick bottomed vessel and splutter jeera in it. Then add the onions and fry for two mins.
4. Now add the garlic, ginger and green chillies and fry until the onions are a little browned around the edges. Adding salt at this step will help fry the onions quicker.
5. Add tomatoes and cook until it is well blended. Then add all the masalas, including the garam masala. Fry for a minute.
6. Add 1 to 2 cups of water (use the water that is left over from the rajma in the pressure cooker). Cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Make sure there is enough water.
7. Add the rajma to this, add salt and check for the seasoning. If the spices are lacking, you can add more garam masala at this stage. Mix well until well blended.
8. Set on LOW, cover and cook for 45 mins. Add more water in this stage based on how much of gravy you would like.
Serve with plain rice or jeera rice, pappad and plain dahi (yogurt) seasoned with jeera powder and salt.
I pretty much made up this recipe as I tried different variations. I don't have a particular source to cite.