Rajma (Red Kidney Beans)

Rajma (red kidney bean curry) is one of those dishes that I love, but always forget about.  It’s perfect for cold weather because it has so many warm spices and is so satisfying.   I like making it in big batches because I think the flavors really set in after the first day and it makes great leftovers.  You can eat it plain (like a chili), with breads (like roti, naan, etc), or with rice (my favorite).  I also modified the traditional recipe to include spinach, because I’m convinced spinach makes everything taste better!


2 tsp oil
1 tbsp cumin seeds
4 cloves
1 inch cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
2 cups onions, chopped fine
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp ground cumin-coriander powder
1/2 tsp ground red pepper
1 tsp salt
2 cups tomatoes, chopped
spinach, chopped
3 cups red kidney beans, cooked
1 tsp garam masala
2 cups water
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1/4 cup fresh cilantro (for garnishing)


1.  In a large pot, heat the oil on med-high.  When hot, add the cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon stick, and bay leaves and fry for 1-2 min (until the cumin seeds start to turn brown).

2.  Add the onions and garlic and saute for 5 mins until the onions turn light brown.

3.  Turn the heat down to medium, then add the turmeric powder, cumin-coriander powder, ground red pepper, and salt.  Mix for 1 min, then add the tomatoes.  Cook for 10 mins, stirring constantly (tomatoes will become paste-like).

4.  Add the spinach, red kidney beans, garam masala, and water.  Cover and simmer for 20 min.

5.  Mix in the grated ginger.  Sprinkle cilantro on top and serve hot.


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