Like most recipe sites, Dassana’s Veg Recipes has succumbed to the SEO horror. The end result is presumably good for stickiness, but terrible to following a recipe. End result? I’m writing up my own notes for Rajma!

  • kidney beans (see below)
  • green chilies (2 – 4)
  • root ginger (2 – 3cm chunk)
  • garlic (4 cloves)
  • oil / butter (1 tsb)
  • purple onion (medium size, approx 150g)
  • ripe Tomatoes (2 or 3, approx, 200g)
  • cumin seeds (1 tsp)
  • mango powder (1 tsp)
  • chili powder (1/2 – 1 tsp)
  • turmeric (1/4 – 1/2 tsp)
  • garam masala (1/2 tsp)
  • asafoetida / hing (1/4 tsp)
  • salt (1/4 – 1/2 tsp)
  • kasuri methi / dried fenugreek leaves 1 tsb)

I’m cooking kidney beans in a pressure cooker after soaking them for at least 24hrs. The thing with Rajma is that the beans need to be well cooked all the way through, close to the point where a few of them have skins cracked. It would probably work pretty well wish good quality canned. We usually cook more than are needed, but i guess that one, or one and a half cans would be about the right balance.


  • finely chop the onion and tomato.
  • crackle the cumin seeds in the oil, and start to slowly fry the onions. they need to be soft.
  • while the onions are frying grind the chilies / garlic / ginger into a paste (it doesn’t need to be smooth, and probably wont be!)
  • when the onions are soft, add the chili / garlic / ginger paste, let it cook for a minute or so – until the raw garlic smell goes
  • add the tomatoes, let them cook for a couple of minutes and start to break down
  • add the ground spices (mango powder, chili powder, turmeric, garam masala, hing) mix well
  • now you need to cook this masala until the oil starts to come out of the mixture. it’ll probably take longer than expect, but don’t let it dry out.
  • add the kidney beans, mix them into the masala
  • add 1 – 2 cups of water, or the cooking liquid from the pressure cooker, add salt, mix well
  • cook on a low simmer for around 10 minutes. the sauce will thicken, you have to make a decision about thick you want the rajma… the longer you let it simmer, the thicker it’s going to be. if you’re eating it with rice leave it a little thinner, with naan / chapati thicker. have noticed i tended to let it thicken too much in the first couple of attempts
  • crush the kasuri methi, and stir well

The whole “until the oil starts to come out” stage of cooking the masala seems to be the key to getting a good curry. You’re basically making a roux to thicken whatever comes next, and if you don’t let cook well things won’t end well!

The original recipe has a step about adding a couple of tablespoons of cream right at the end. Have never tried it with cream, but yogurt also works, just make sure it isn’t too sour. It doesn’t really add too much – but i’m not into that whole “restaurant style” thing, prefer to keep things “rustic”.

† – the garam masala that i’m using (TRS brand) kind of sucks… it’s so strong that you either use so little that you may as well not bother, or you don’t bother! When i forget and put it in… regret. Should probably try some other mixes. All the other spices are kind of integral to the experience – the mango powder providing extra sourness, and the asafoetida doing that thing that is does with beans / lentils… which is kind of indescribable. Sorry.

Chickpea and Kale Curry

For a while i’ve been trying to perfect my chana-masala. A couple of times it got close, but it’s generally really difficult to get ‘just right’. Getting the curry to the right consistency to coat the chickpeas is definitely an art. Just need to keep practicing!

This is a variation on the theme, adding kale. It is consequently a little more earthy / hearty than a traditional chana masala.

  • 1 large onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 10cm of fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp Coriander powder
  • 2 tsp Cumin powder
  • 1 tsp Tumeric powder (optional)
  • 2 – 4 Red Chilis (preferably fresh…)
  • Chickpeas
  • Kale
  • 1 can Tomatoes
  • salt (to taste)
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 Lemon / Lime

Slice the onion, chop the garlic and chilis, grate the ginger. In a *large* pan cook the onions in vegetable oil and a little salt until they’re getting soft (about 10mins), add the garlic, chills, and ginger, let them cook for another minute or so. Add all the spices, and mix them through the onions for another minute. Now add the chickpeas (we soak them overnight, and cook them in a pressure cooker, but a drained can would be fine) and the tomatoes, rinse the tin out with a little water. Stir and cover for around 15mins. It can get pretty dry / thick, but don’t worry, the kale will thin it down again.

Wash and clean the kale, taking out any large stems. Chop it though, or shred it if it looks tough. Add the kale into the top of the pan. Put the lid back and let it steam for a few minutes before attempting to mix it into the curry. Depending on how young / fresh the kale is, it’ll take 5 – 10 mins to soften.

Stir in the Garam Masala, and serve with lemon / lime juice. The sourness really brings out the spices. If you used fresh tomatoes it probably wouldn’t be as important, but the tinned ones are pretty sweet.

Oh, and the Turmeric is optional as sometimes it turns a little bitter if you don’t get it into hot oil. Not good.

As usual, i should have taken a picture. Next time!