Mint and Potato Rajma


Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
There's a fat new cookbook in my kitchen, and it's not even vegetarian. But Raghavan Iyer's new 660 Curries has such an astonishing number of authentic and incredible Indian meatless recipes for bean and vegetable curries that many a vegetarian cookbook would be put to shame.

One of the most appealing features of Iyer's recipes is his assembly-line fashion of preparation and cooking using modern appliances, a restaurant-like approach that makes each of his dishes as easy to scale down for two people as it would be to scale up for a hundred. And if the picture of an assembly line seems aesthetically unappealing to the gourmand, try to picture instead the convenience for a parent who hasn't much time or who faces a lot of interruptions in the kitchen. Either way, there's no sacrifice of flavour or goodness in this book. There are more than a few interesting tips as well, such as whisking yogurt together with a little heavier cream before adding to heat to prevent curdling.

Rajma is a generic word meaning literally "red kidney bean," but which is applied more loosely as a name for the tomato-based red kidney bean curries found throughout northern India. In this version, adapted from one found in "660 Curries," fresh mint does not alter the spice of the curry but provides a pleasing added tone at the end of the palette after the tongue has savoured the spices. Potatoes are used here to provide a contrast in colour, taste and texture, but fried paneer cheese cubes could be substituted as easily and with as nice an effect — just add them during the simmer rather than before the boil.

This is my contribution to My Legume Love Affair, an event started by Susan and hosted this month by Sra of When my Soup Came Alive.
Mint and potato rajma

1 1/3 cups dried red kidney beans
1 large tomato, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 red cayenne peppers, stemmed
1/2 cup tightly packed fresh mint leaves
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
3-inch piece cinnamon, broken into pieces
2 tablespoons
ghee or a mixture of butter and olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 medium potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup whole fat yogurt
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 tablespoons fresh coriander or parsley, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste


Rinse the kidney beans under running water and soak overnight covered in several inches of cold water with a little yogurt whey or lemon juice added. Drain and discard the soaking liquid, and cover the beans in a medium saucepan with several inches of fresh cold water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the beans are tender but not falling apart. Drain and reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Set aside.

Using a blender, purée the tomato, onion, cayenne peppers, mint, ginger, peppercorns, turmeric and cinnamon until a smooth sauce, flecked with green and brown. Set aside.

Heat the ghee or butter and olive oil mixture over medium-high heat in a large saucepan. Toss in the cumin seeds and fry until reddish-brown, less than a minute. Pour in the puréed sauce, partially cover the pan, and lower the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the oil begins to separate from the sauce, 10 to 15 minutes.

Stir in the potatoes, kidney beans, and the reserved cup of the beans' cooking liquid. Raise the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender and the sauce has thickened slightly, 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the yogurt, sour cream and garam masala. Once the potatoes are cooked, fold in the yogurt mixture, cilantro and salt. Simmer gently uncovered for another couple of minutes.

Serve in warm bowls with hot white rice or fresh bread on the side. Serves 6.

17 comments:

Alexa said...

Oh, my... I would love to have this bean curry for dinner. I will have to check out this cookbook. I am crazy for Indian food. Lovely pictures!

sra said...

Lisa, I find the combination of pepper and mint really interesting. I sometimes find gravies challenging to make for various reasons but you seem to have got it just right!

Priya said...

Delicious Rajma curry...yummy yummm....

Sangeeth said...

delicious curry lisa...actually i do this without mint ..may b next time i'll try it with mint!

Usha said...

The addition of mint to rajma curry sounds very interesting...

Meeta said...

ok this just did it - i was putting off buying cookbooks for a while ( i think i am an addict) but this - this is getting me to drool and knowing that it comes from 660 curries makes me want to get it. lisa, thanks for sharing the recipe.

Kevin said...

660 curries! That will be a tasty exploration! This one certainly looks good.

Sara said...

Delicious! Thanks for sharing.

Mallika said...

What a lovely variation on the classic rajma! There's so much variation in vegetarian food, we meatarians don't even miss meat in a complete Indian veggie meal.

Holler said...

What a lovely winter's dish Lisa. I love all the ingredients in this one, so I am going to bookmark it. Although I will probably use canned chickpeas, I found some really good Indian ones.

Helene said...

I have bought this cookbook but haven't made anything from it yet. Thanks for the review of this dish.

maninas said...

wow, lisa, this is a fantastic dish! i'm so tempted to try it tomorrow straight away, but i have sth else planned instead. gorgeous. also, well done with the photo - curries are not easy to photograph at all!

Bellini Valli said...

This would be the perfect way to end my day Lisa:D

Lulu Barbarian said...

This looks just awfully good. Hmmm, when to make it? Soon!

Mike said...

Looks incredible... TELEPORT PLEASE

Helen said...

This looks really yummy. I really like the idea of the sour cream in there, I bet it gives just that little bit of tang over the yoghurt. There is something so deeply satisfying about a bean curry - I like mine with a chapati or roti.

Susan said...

What a sensation! When I read the title of the post, I wanted to swoon. Seriously.