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  • Rajmah
    Punjabi Kidney Beans

    YIELD: 10 CUPS / 2.4 L
    TOOLS: You’ll need a food processor; a heavy-bottomed, 6-quart / 6-L or larger stockpot; and an 8-inch / 20-cm skillet.

    Ask anyone who hails from North India and I guarantee they will tell you a nostalgic childhood story about rajmah, a dish eaten just about every weekend in Punjabi homes. Know that this recipe has been tested and approved by the toughest critics in our home—my two girls, Neha and Aria. Whenever we have rajmah in the house, my little one will insist on taking a Thermos full of it for the car trip to school, another for lunch, and a plateful after school as well.

    • 1 large yellow or red onion, divided
    • 1 (2-inch / 5-cm) piece ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
    • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
    • 1 large tomato, coarsely chopped
    • 1–3 fresh Thai, serrano, or cayenne chiles, stems removed
    • 3 cups /530 g rajmah (dried red kidney beans), picked over, washed, soaked overnight, and drained
    • 3 whole cloves
    • 1 black cardamom pod
    • 1 (3-inch / 8-cm) stick cinnamon
    • 2 cassia or bay leaves
    • 11 cups /2.6 L water
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • ½ teaspoon hing (asafetida)
    • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
    • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
    • 2 teaspoons Garam Masala
    • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
    • 2 teaspoons red chile powder or cayenne pepper
    • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons salt
    • ¼ cup /5 g chopped fresh cilantro
    • Brown or white basmati rice and Kheera Raita for serving
    1. In the bowl of a food processor, grind together ½ of the onion (mince the other half and reserve for use in Step 4), the ginger, the garlic, the tomato, and the fresh chiles until the mixture forms a watery paste.
    2. Combine the rajmah, the paste from Step 1, the cloves, the cardamom, the cinnamon, the cassia leaves, and the water in a heavy-bottomed, 6-quart / 6-L or larger stockpot over medium–high heat. This will seem like a lot of water, but the beans absorb a lot. Bring to a boil.
    3. Reduce the heat to medium–low and simmer, partially covered and stirring occasionally, for 2 hours, until the beans soften and break down slightly. Remove from the heat, cover, and set aside to cool slightly while you prep the remaining ingredients.
    4. In an 8-inch / 20-cm skillet over medium–high heat, warm the oil. Add the hing, turmeric, and cumin seeds and cook for 40 seconds, until the cumin seeds sizzle and turn reddish-brown. Add the reserved onion (minced) from Step 1 and cook for 4 minutes, until the onion is browned. Remove from the heat and transfer the contents of the skillet to the stockpot containing the rajmah.
    5. Add the Garam Masala, coriander, red chile powder, and salt to the stockpot and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat. Remove and discard the whole spices (you can leave the cloves if they are tough to find).
    6. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with the cilantro. Serve immediately with the brown or white basmati rice and Kheera Raita.

Indian For Everyone by Anupy Singla. Copyright © 2014 Anupy Singla. Published by Agate Publishing. All rights reserved.

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