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Sunday, 30 June 2019

Rajma Masala

Rajma masala is a healthy and delicious red kidney beans curry from the Punjabi Cuisine. Basically, it is a mildly spiced, creamy thick gravy with onion tomato base in which soaked and cooked rajma (kidney beans) are simmered with basic Indian spices. Rajma masala can be served for lunch or dinner with any flat bread like chapati or naan but tastes best when paired with steamed rice. Rajma chawal is a soulful meal not only in North Indian households but can be found served as street food and in road side dhabas there. Here is a vegan and gluten-free recipe of simple yet flavorful rajma masala from my kitchen.

To make Rajma Masala, raw red kidney beans are soaked and then pressure cooked until soft. This cooked rajma is further simmered in a spicy onion tomato gravy to give an utterly delicious rajma masala curry. The recipe is very simple to follow. Only care to be taken is to cook the rajma really well. For that, the kidney beans have to be soaked overnight or at least for 8-9 hours. Canned kidney beans may also be used instead. On pressure cooking, you should be able to mash the rajma between your thumb and index finger. Both whole spices and the ground spice powders add to the aroma and flavor of this Rajma masala. I have not added any cream to the dish. You may add to get that Restaurant style creamy texture to your curry. Both chopped tomatoes and blanched tomato puree are added in this recipe. The onion tomato base has to be sauteed really well to get rid of the raw taste of onion and garlic. This curry can be made in either ghee or oil. I have used sunflower oil, you may use mustard oil for that typical Punjabi taste if you wish. I have used red kidney beans/ kashmiri rajma t make this Rajma masala as the beans retain the red color and hold their shape well after cooking and take up the flavors of the masala very well.

I have been surrounded by North Indians for the most part of my married life and this can be easily seen by the number of North Indian dishes, especially the Punajbi dishes on my blog. Even my son has a special liking for this food. He prefers taking different types of parathas laced with butter in his lunch box and has a spark in his eyes when I cook rajma, chole or Kadhi Pakora for lunch. Punjabi people are jolly and kind at heart and believe in living life to the fullest. This is clearly reflected in their lavish weddings and off course their calorie-rich food laced with ghee and butter. 

Punjab is one of the most fertile regions in India due to the presence of abundant water sources and fertile soils. It is rightly called as the Granary of India or India's Bread-Basket as it produces 19.5 % of India's wheat. Located in the Northern part of India, it is bordered by the Indian states Jammu Kashmir to the North, Himachal Pradesh to the East, Haryana to the South and the Pakistani Province of Punjab to the West. The five tributary rivers of the Indus River from which the region took its name are Sutlej, Ravi, Beas, Chenab and Jhelum Rivers.

Punjabi Cuisine has a rich tradition of many distinct and local ways of cooking. Tandoori cooking is one such form which is not only famous in other parts of India but also many parts of the world. As Punjab is a major producer of wheat, rice, and dairy products, these products form the staple diet of the Punjabi people. Punjabi Cuisine is distinctively known for its rich, buttery flavors along with the extensive vegetarian and meat dishes. 

By now, regular readers of this blog must have guessed that it is month end and the time when i post regional Indian recipe for the Facebook Group Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge which i am a part of. This month we were on our virtual trip to the Indian State of Punjab. I have been staying in Mohali, Punjab for the last 2 1/2 years and i was super excited for this theme. My partner for this month was the very charming Sujata Roy di who blogs at Batterupwithsujata. Do check out her blog for some melt in mouth Bengali sweets. I am awed with her awesome bakes made with healthy ingredients. Sujata di gave me kasuri methi and coriander powder as my secret ingredients and i cooked this delicious and wholesome Rajma Masala using them. In return, I gave her nutmeg and bay leaf and she cooked creamy rich Dal Makhani using the two secret ingredients. 

                                                  Ssshhh Cooking Secretly

Before moving ahead, let's look at the health benefits of eating Kidney Beans a.k.a. Rajma.

Kidney bean is a variety of the common bean (Phaseolus Vulgaris). It is named for its visual resemblance in shape and color to a kidney. Kidney beans are a rich source of folic acid, calcium, carbohydrates, fiber, and proteins.

 Health Benefits of Kidney Beans: Source
  • Lowers Cholesterol - The high content of complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber in kidney beans lowers cholesterol levels in the blood.
  • Good for Diabetes - The low glycemic index of rajma balances the sugar content of the body.
  • A powerhouse of protein - Kidney beans have high protein content and can serve as a great substitute for meat in vegetarians.
  • Helps in weight loss - Kidney beans keep one full for a longer time due to a large amount of dietary fiber. Also, the low-fat content makes it a wholesome low-calorie meal.
  • Strengthens the bones - The manganese and calcium present in the kidney beans make the bones stronger and help in preventing osteoporosis.
Preparation Time: 6-8 hours
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4

  • 1 cup kidney beans/rajma ( i have used red kidney beans/ kashmiri rajma)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 2 green cardamom
  • 2 cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onions 
  • 2 tomatoes finely chopped
  • 1 cup tomato puree (made from 3 blanched tomatoes)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic chili paste( grind 2 green chilies, 1/2 inch ginger and 3 garlic cloves)
  • 1/2 teaspoon amchur powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon roasted cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon kasuri methi / dried fenugreek leaves)
  • 2 tablespoon fresh coriander leaves, chopped
  • Salt to taste
  1. Rinse the kidney beans and soak them in enough water for 8-10 hours or overnight. Next day discard the water and rinse the beans in fresh water. Transfer the beans to a pressure cooker with 3 cups water and one bay leaf.

2. Pressure cook the rajma on a medium flame for 15 minutes or 5 whistles. While the rajma is getting cooked, make the tomato puree, chop the onions and tomatoes and make the ginger garlic green chili paste.  Open the lid when the pressure settles down on its own. To check whether the rajma is cooked well, press a bean between your thumb and index finger. If it is easily mashable, the rajma is done. If it is hard, pressure cook for another 10 minutes. Strain the rajma and keep aside until use. Reserve the stock as we will use it later on.

3. In a pan, heat oil. Tip in the whole spices, bay leaf, clove, green cardamom, black cardamom, cinnamon, and cumin seeds. Let the spices sizzle for a few seconds in oil before adding the chopped onions.

4. Saute the onions until they turn golden brown. Keep stirring the onions to ensure they do not burn. Next, add the ginger garlic chili paste and fry for another 30 seconds.

5. Now add the chopped tomatoes followed by the tomato puree and saute for 2-3 minutes.

6. Once you see oil oozing out from the onion-tomato mixture, lower the flame and add the spice powder- turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, roasted cumin powder, garam masala and amchur powder. Stir the spices with the onion-tomato base and saute the whole curry masala very well.

7. Add the strained cooked rajma to the masala. Stir and saute for 1-2 minutes. Next, add the reserved stock ( around 2 cups) to the rajma.  Add salt and stir the curry.

8. Simmer the curry for around 10 minutes or until the gravy thickens. Do not cover it. Mash few rajma beans with the back of the spatula to get the typical thick creamy texture of rajma masala. Just before switching off the flame, add crushed kasuri methi to the rajma curry. Lastly, garnish it with finely chopped coriander leaves.

  9. Serve the delicious rajma masala with naan, paratha or steamed rice. I have served it with Jeera Rice.

Recipe Notes:
  • On pressure cooking, you should be able to mash the rajma between your thumb and index finger, for that the kidney beans have to be soaked overnight or at least for 8-9 hours. Canned kidney beans may also be used instead. 
  • I have not added any cream to the dish. You may add 2-3 tablespoon cream just before switching off the flame to get that restaurant style creamy texture to your rajma masala.
  • I have used red kidney beans/ kashmiri rajma t make this Rajma masala as the beans retain the red color and hold their shape well after cooking and take up the flavors of the masala very well.
  • This curry can be made in either ghee or oil. I have used sunflower oil, you may use mustard oil for that typical Punjabi taste if you wish. 

If you ever try this recipe, do share your feedback with us in the comment section below.
Follow us on #Facebook  #Instagram ,  #Twitter#Pinterest and #Google+  for more recipes and new updates. 

Check out the following popular Punjabi dishes from this blog


Friday, 28 June 2019

Tomato Rasam

Tomato rasam is an aromatic, tangy and spicy South Indian dish. It is basically a thin soup prepared with fresh ripe tomatoes, spices and herbs. Tomato rasam aids in digestion and can be had as a soup or as a side dish with rice. There are many variations to make this tomato rasam but this is one of the easiest and simplest recipes which does not call for use of tamarind, rasam powder or cooked dal (lentil). Fresh coriander, ground spices like black pepper and cumin seeds and the rich ghee tempering adds to the flavor of this tomato rasam.

This tomato rasam is tangy and spicy in taste and is aromatic due to the spices and herbs used. Fresh coriander with leaves and tender stems is ground along with garlic, cumin seeds and black pepper are added to this rasam. Also here instead of adding chopped tomatoes, a puree of tomatoes is added which gives a smooth texture to the rasam. This is ideal for people like me who do not like the tomato skin in the rasam. It hardly takes 15 minutes to make this flavorful tomato rasam from scratch.

I tasted rasam for the first time, 11 years back during our stay in Hyderabad. My office colleagues used to bring rasam daily in their lunch box. gradually I developed a liking towards this tangy soup and learned to make garlic, black pepper, and tomato rasam. My husband and son are not fond of tangy food and there are no takers for rasam in my family, but I do treat myself with a bowl of hot piping rasam whenever I have a sore throat and mostly during cold winter and monsoon nights. I do add cooked pigeon pea (arahar dal ) in my rasam many times though.

Rasam is a classic South Indian soup and comfort food for sure. As it is a staple food in South India, rasam powder ( a blend of roasted spice mix) is kept handy and used in making a variety of rasam. Freshly roasted and ground spices definitely add to the aroma and flavor of rasam. This recipe is very simple and most of the flavor comes from the ground cumin seeds and black peppercorn. So without any further ado, let's get started with the recipe of tomato rasam.

Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients for Tomato Rasam:
  • 2-3 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves / lasan
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds/ jeera
  • 1 teaspoon skinned and split black gram/urad dal
  • 3-4 black peppercorn/kali mirch
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder / haldi
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds /rai
  • 1/8 teaspoon fenugreek seeds/methi dana
  • Pinch of Asafoetida / Hing
  • 2 dry red chilies, broken and seeds discarded / lal mirch
  • 1 small bunch of coriander leaves with tender stems/ dhaniya
  • 1 sprig curry leaves/kadi patta
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • Salt to taste
  1. To begin with making tomato rasam, in a grinder jar take coriander leaves and stems, 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, black peppercorn and garlic. Grind it to a coarse paste without adding water. keep aside. In the same grinder jar add chopped tomatoes and make a fine puree.

2. Now heat a saucepan or wok and add ghee to it. Next, add the mustard seeds. Once the seeds splutter add cumin seeds followed by fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, and black gram. Fry the spices for few seconds. Next, add broken red chilies and fry for another 30 seconds on low flame.

3. To this add the ground coriander garlic paste and saute until the raw smell of garlic is gone. Now add asafoetida and turmeric powder and saute for few seconds.

4. Next, add the tomato puree and stir well. To this add up to 1 cup water as per the desired thickness of the rasam. Add salt and allow the rasam to boil. Now simmer for another 5-7 minutes and then put off the flame.

5. Garnish the tomato rasam with finely chopped coriander leaves and serve piping hot. One can have this delicious rasam as a soup on its own or serve it with rice. I have served it with steamed rice topped with ghee and Beetroot Thoran for a soulful meal.

  Recipe Notes:
  • Recipe Source
  • I have pureed the tomatoes as we do not like the tomato skin in our rasam. You may add chopped tomatoes if you prefer.
  • I have not added ginger in this rasam. The original recipe has. You may grind 1/2 inch ginger along with garlic and coriander if using.
  • To make a vegan rasam, replace ghee with Sesame seed oil or peanut oil.
  • For a gluten-free version skip adding asafoetida.
Taking this tomato rasam recipe to the Healthy Wellthy Cuisines Facebook group of which i am a member. Here we post recipes every fortnight depending on the pre-decided theme. The theme for this fortnight is #FlavorfulRasam. Monsoon has arrived in many parts of India and nothing can be as comforting as sipping a piping hot rasam on a cold rainy day. Here are some more flavorful rasam recipes for you to check out from fellow bloggers.


If you ever try this recipe, do share your feedback with us in the comment section below.
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Monday, 24 June 2019

Fajeto / Gujarati Ripe Mango Kadhi Recipe

Fajeto is a mango flavored kadhi from the Gujarati Cuisine. It is basically a ripe mango and yogurt based curry that is ghee tempered with basic spices to give a mildly sweet, tangy and hot dish. Fajeto is utterly delicious and tastes great with steamed rice. It is mostly served as a part of the Gujarati ras poori meal. Make this flavorful Summer special Fajeto while the mangoes are still in season.

I came to know about this dish recently when i saw posts from fellow bloggers about it. Mango flavored kadhi aroused my interest and i read more about this dish on the Internet. The recipe of Fajeto was a result of the need to use up the left over pulp on the mango seeds after making AamrasAamras is yet another mango delicacy where ripe mango pulp is flavored with saffron and cardamom. So the ladies of the family would wash the leftover mango seeds and peels(after making aamras) in water and use that water to make Fajeto. Now that Fajeto is a loved and popular dish by itself, it is made using ripe mango pulp.

Traditionally fajeto was made using Pairi variety of mangoes. Here i have used Kesar variety though. Even though , Fajeto has mango pulp, the sourness of the yogurt balances the sweetness of the mangoes and does not let it overcome the tangy taste of a typical kadhi. Gujarati people add sweetener to most of their dishes including soups and curries. Even in this mango kadhi little jaggery is added. I did not add it as my mango was sweet. You  can have this kadhi on its own as a soup or serve it with steamed rice. This is one of the easiest kadhi recipes. The kadhi is thinner in consistency than the Punjabi Kadhi and has a distinct flavor coming from the final ghee tempering, so do not skip that. Serve this flavorful Fajeto as a side dish for your summer party and awe your guests with yet another mango delicacy.

If you are a kadhi lover like me, do check out the following kadhi varieties from this blog.
Punjabi Kadhi PakoraMaharashtrian KadhiDubki Kadhi from Chattisgarh Cuisine.

Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 3-4

Ingredients :
  • 1 cup sour curd
  • 1 cup mango pulp
  • 2 tablespoon chickpea flour/ Besan
  • 1/2 inch ginger piece
  • 2 green chilies
  • Pinch of asafoetida / hing
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
To temper
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 2 dry red chilies
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1/8 teaspoon fenugreek seeds/methi dana
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds/ rai
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds/ jeera
  1. In a grinder jar add curd, ginger, green chilies, and chickpea flour. Pulse it until smooth. Transfer it to a thick bottom pan. 

2. Add asafoetida, turmeric powder and mango pulp to it. Give it a good mix. Now add 2 cups of water and stir everything very well. Add salt to taste and put on the heat. Allow the kadhi to cook for about 15-20 minutes on low to medium flame while stirring it intermittently.

3. Next in a small tadka pan, heat ghee. Add mustard seeds, followed by fenugreek seeds and cumin seeds. Let the seeds sizzle in ghee for few seconds. Next tip in curry leaves, and broken dry red chilies. Put off the flame after a few seconds.

4. Pour this tempering over the cooked kadhi and put off the flame. Delicious Fajeto is ready to serve.
It pairs well with chapati or steamed rice.

  • Traditionally pairi mango variety is used to make Fajeto. I have made it with Kesar variety.
  • Use sour yogurt to make this kadhi.
  • I have not added jaggery in this recipe. If you wish you may add 1-2 teaspoon jaggery powder.
  • I have garnished the fajeto with few chopped mango chunks. This is optional. You may garnish with fresh coriander leaves instead.
  • If serving this Fajeto to kids, skip use of the green chilies.
  • Fajeto is served with aamras poori but tastes great even with steamed rice. It can be had on its own as a soup.
Taking this Fajeto recipe to the #201th Foodie Monday Blog Hop where the theme for this week is #Jamva Chalo Ji. This is a Gujarati word which is a polite way to invite you to dine. This theme was suggested by Mayuri di who is a gujju herself. Mayuri di blogs at Mayuri,s Jikoni. Do check out her versatile blog for a wide variety of food recipes both Indian and International. I like her food styling, photography and writing style and also the exotic ingredients she uses in her cooking while she is travelling.


As per the theme we had to cook any Gujarati dish. I love Gujarati food and have many Gujarati dishes on my blog. For this theme, first i thought of making Handvo but on the second second, i felt handvo can wait but not Fajeto. So while the markets are laden with the king of fruits , i chose to make this mango flavored kadhi dish. Do check out my fellow bloggers posts as well on this theme for some lovely Gujarati dishes.

If you like this post do hit the like button below this post . If you ever try this recipe, do share your feedback with us in the comment section below. 
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For more Gujarati recipes, do check out the following from this blog