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Wednesday 26 October 2011

Sluttishly Vegetarian: Rajma (Kidney Bean Curry)

Today is Diwali, a festival of light celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains. It is a celebration of all that is good in the world. All over the world people will celebrate the occasion with food, gifts, sweets and fireworks. So, all things awesome really.

I am fortunate to be gaining some insight into the family celebrations of Diwali as my boyfriend is Hindu. Like most celebrations food is important to the festivities, particularly vegetarian foods in this instance. So today I am sharing a family recipe for Rajma, a kidney bean curry.

At first glance this unassuming dish does not necessarily captivate the tastebuds, but believe me, you really need to try this dish to realise how wonderfully delicious it really is. The flavours subtly work together, no one spice stands out over the other and the texture is very more-ish. It is healthy, low-fat, tasty and vegetarian - surely a winner on all counts?

Like most Indian dishes, and my cooking in general, the ingredient quantities are rough guides. Feel free to adjust to taste.

Rajma (serves 4)

You will need:
  • 1 tbsp Oil
  • 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1 Onion, finely chopped and diced 
  • 1 tin Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 tsp of chopped Garlic
  • 1.5cm of chopped Fresh Ginger
  • ½ tsp Turmeric
  • 1 Fresh Chilli
  • Several pinches of Salt
  • 2 Tins Red Kidney Beans
  • Bunch of Fresh Coriander
Make it!
  • Heat the oil in a pan on a medium-high heat and add mustard seed.
  • Just as they start to crackle and pop stir in the onion. Cook until the onion turns a gorgeous caramel colour.
  • In a blender, whizz up the chopped tomatoes until smooth and add to pan. Bring to a slow simmer.
  • Add the garlic, ginger, turmeric, chilli and salt. Give it a good stir.
  • Drain some of the water from the kidney beans (but reserve a little of the juice for the sauce) and add to pan. Use your own judgement here for consistency but I also added another cup of water.
  • Bring to a rolling simmer, reduce the heat and stir. Allow to cook until the kidney beans are soft (think baked beans consistency). I let mine cook for half an hour.
  • Top with a sprinkling of chopped coriander and serve with either a bowl of steaming rice or a warm chapatti.

Happy Diwali!


  1. This looks delicious - I love the colour. Could I use passata instead of blitzing the chopping tomatoes? I'm never sure if passata tastes different (sweeter?), or if that's just in my head.

  2. Yeah, the boyf reckons passata tastes different, but I say it is just as good. It is so much more convenient than whizzing!

  3. Fab! We've just gone veggie and I'm busy raiding your archives for the vegetarian recipes

  4. Stop Press!
    The boyf's Mother has been on the blower and she says No to Passata - it is too sharp and the wrong consistency. Stick with the tin if chopped tomatoes, the cheaper the better. She specifically recommends the Tesco ones, and it the cooking time should be reduced to 10 minutes. My Sainsbury's tin meant a longer cooking time of 30 minutes. Who knew?!

  5. Yep, I was just gonna say what Elizabeth said - for Indian food the easiest cheat on chopped tomatoes is CHEAP/BASIC tinned tomatoes. Italian ones taste different. I usually buy mine from the section of the supermarket with Asian-marketed brands like Natco, East End etc' - cheaper and a better taste.


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