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Rajma is the name for the red kidney bean on the Indian subcontinent. This is a north-Indian (also Pakistani and Nepali) recipe for them, also called rajma (much like the potato-and-cauliflower curries are called aloo gobi). I find this recipe a much more attractive dish than the vegetarian chilli you could also make with about the same ingredients. I also prefer it to chhole, because I'm not such a big fan of the chick pea, besides hummus and falafel.

The spices used can vary a bit, some leave out the cumin and ground coriander, or use whole spices like cloves, (ground) black pepper, cinnamon and bay leaves instead of garam masala. Ginger, some form of chili pepper and the aromatic spices are the common ingredients.

The recipe

Serves 2 with my appetite, maybe 3

1 15 oz. can of kidney beans
1 15 oz. can of peeled tomatoes
1 large onion, sliced
1 fat clove of garlic, crushed
1/2 inch of ginger, grated
1 green chili pepper, or more
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
Coriander leaves to garnish
Oil (sunflower)


Fry the cumin seeds briefly in oil. Then add the onion, garlic, ginger and chili and fry until the onion starts to turn golden. Take care not to burn the garlic. Then add the other spices, stir for one or two minutes before adding the tomatoes. Let them cook for about five minutes, allowing them to break down. Meanwhile, mash about half of the kidney beans. Then add the beans and the liquid from the can and let it all cook for about a quarter of an hour, until it's nice and thick. Season with salt and serve over rice, garnished with coriander, with perhaps a mint chutney.

Like chilli, even better the next day.

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