There’s nothing more straightforward than beans – it’s filling, protein packed and extremely savory. The connaisseurs will tell you all of these at once, plus emphasizing the lusciousness of the rightly cooked dishes. The nutritionists will point out at the high levels of minerals, fiber and even antioxidants.
I have to admit that I wasn’t a big fan of the average white beans and most of the times I use to find it kind of heavy for digestion – in any case, heavier than lentils or chickpeas. However, discovering the red kidney beans and the black beans shaped my experience into a whole new thing. They both seem to absorb flavors really well and thus able to stand out with amazing cooked dishes and salads.
For now, I choose a popular Indian Rajma recipe, fairly easy to prepare and equally delicious, inspired from the Punjabi cuisine.
As with any beans, soaking for at least 8 hours is a must. If you have a pressure cooker, do use it now! It will turn your beans so soft and tender that you’ll completely leave behind the time consuming boiling method. Be aware that some of the beans will open up while cooking.
Now prepare the base: heat a bit of oil in a pan and saute (in this order) one bay leaf, cumin seeds, chopped onions, grated ginger & garlic and tomato puree (or simply cut in small cubes). Stir continuously until the water evaporates. You can choose to incorporate peppers (as I did) or carrots, but make sure that in the end they’ll turn out with the same smooth texture as the rest of the dish.
Before adding the rajma along with its water, sprinkle the powders (chilly, turmeric, cumin, coriander, garam masala – the hottest one you have) and mix well until all flavors come together, including salt.The water from the beans will absorb this beautiful gravy and render its distinctive flavor to the dish.
For a special serving, add some fresh mint at the end!
list of ingredients
- red kidney beans
- cooking oil
- bay leaf
- cumin seeds & ground cumin
- garlic & ginger
- ground coriander
- garam masala
- fresh mint