This is one bean which has really confounded me with its reluctance to cook. I once bought a one-kg pack of the maroonish-black beans and they absolutely refused to cook inspite of being properly pre-soaked overnight and cooked in the pressure cooker for as many as 15 whistles. I have now grown to trust only the light brown ones with little maroon streaks and the small maroon ones. The small maroon ones are not so easily available and are sold as Kashmiri rajma and they are by far the most delicious in taste (I have used these today and have also used them in the photograph for illustration).
Now for the recipe… I have learnt this recipe from my dear friend Maneesha and use this recipe most often when I make rajma.
1 cup Kashmiri rajma,
1 large onion (chopped),
1 large tomato (chopped),
1 ½ tsp ginger paste,
1 ½ tsp garlic paste,
1 tsp red chilli powder (or as per preference),
1 tsp coriander powder,
½ tsp turmeric powder,
1 tsp cumin powder,
Salt to taste,
2 tbsps oil,
A big pinch of kasuri methi,
¼ - ½ tsp garam masala powder (I use home-made garam masala powder, but you can easily use the one available in the market)
Soak the rajma overnight after washing. It is always better to wash pulses before soaking as many of the nutrients from the pulses ooze out into the water they are soaked in. If they are already washed, you can use the water used to soak them to cook them as well.
Pressure cook the rajma with salt and water for three whistles on high heat. Turn off the heat and let the steam release on its own.
In the meanwhile heat the oil in a small pan and add the chopped onion. Fry till the onions turn pink. Now add the ginger and garlic paste with all the powdered spices except the garam masala powder. Fry this well till the oil separates, then add the chopped tomatoes and cook till tomatoes soften. Let this cool and grind it to a fine paste. Alternatively you can also use it as is (today I did not grind it).
Add this masala (either ground or whole) to the cooker, mix well and taste for salt. Pressure cook this again for about 3 whistles on high heat. Let it cool naturally. Once you open the cooker check it for consistency it should be like a thick gravy, if it is a bit thin cook it again and you can also crush some of the beans with the back of a ladle against the wall of the cooker. Once you get the desired consistency switch off the heat. Sprinkle the garam masala powder and the crushed kasuri methi.
Goes well with plain rice, rotis or parathas. Serve this with onion and lemon wedges.