There is something about the texture of rajma in gravy with the fluffy steamed rice that makes it so endearing. There are not only childhood memories attached, there are also moments of comfort that tag along.
Good old home recipes
There are many variations of rajma that one can make... but they all begin with one most essential step: planning — that is soaking the beans overnight. There is no way one can fulfill the demand of rajma at a moment’s notice so better not to throw a tantrum. Next best is to order from the neighbourhood restaurant but I doubt if they will have it on the menu…daal makhni yes, but rajma still has to take a noticeable slot!
So it goes without saying rajma is a product of authentic home cooking. I normally make it very simple — with some onions, tomatoes, bay leaves, ginger-garlic, red chilli, coriander, turmeric, cumin, garam masala and lots of fresh coriander.
A favourite dabba dish is a spicy parantha made with mashed rajma. Alyona actually manages to roll them out thinly! Some mashed rajma, atta, two tablespoons of soy flour, red chilli, finely chopped green chilies, powdered anardana, some chopped fresh mint, and a tablespoon or two of tomato puree (gives a good colour). Another tip: rajma pulao. All you need are some well boiled rajma that you cook with Basmati and some onions, tomatoes and masalas…
Boiled rajma makes a handsome salad with blanched tender French beans and boiled moong and white cowpeas (chawli). All this mix needs is fresh coriander, fresh mint, green chillies, salt, dash of lemon and chaat masala. Talk about proteins, fibre and iron here.
Hummus too can take a new avatar with mashed rajma instead of chickpeas. The colour would be a little on the dark side but the change for the palate is welcome. Garnish with black olives and serve with crisp garlic bread!
As I always end with something new and delicious, this time here are some palate tickling tikkis.
(The writer is a master chef, author and television host. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org )