Updated: Sep 19, 2020
Another Jammu delight, and another one not many people would be familiar with outside the region. Most people are surprised to know, much like Ambal, that Rajma can be prepared in a sweet and sour way. And while we're drawing parallels with Ambal, the other interesting thing about this dish is that the process and ingredients are essentially the same. The only difference is that because pumpkins are naturally sweeter than Rajma/Kidney beans, so the amount of Jaggery you need is a tiny bit more. Alright, let's get down to business.
Much like the ambal blog post, I'll split this into 3 sections - aromatics, spices and everything else, so it's easy to follow along.
Fenugreek/Methi seeds 0.5 tbsp
3ish small-medium dried red chillies
Asafoetida/Heeng - 2 to 3 pinches
Garlic - 1.5 cloves. Finely diced
Ginger - 1 inch knob, cut into fine matchsticks.
Onion - 2 medium sized onions - Cut into juliennes.
I've asked my elders for the amounts, and as you know with Indian cooking and them, everything else is just instinct, so adjust accordingly dear readers
Garam Masala - 0.75 tsp
Turmeric - 0.75 tsp
Red chilli powder - Adjust the quantity based on how sharp your dried red chillies are.
Salt - to taste
Coriander powder - 0.75 tsp
Rajma beans - around 1.5 cups, wash, drain and then soaked overnight in water,
Jaggery - this is the sweet component - 6 tbsp but adjust to taste
Tamarind paste - 2 tbsp, but adjust to taste. I'll add a footnote to this blog on how you can extract this paste at home if you don't want store-bought paste.
Mustard oil - "2 ladles" was the measure I was given.
4 glasses of water (the elder instinct measure was to have 2 inches of water above the surface of rajma, so however many cups of water it takes to get there.)
Down to business
We take the soaked rajma beans and put them in a pressure cooker.
Pressure cooker goes on high heat and we wait for the whistle.
After the whistle, we lower the flame and let things remain for 15 to 20 mins. After the 15 to 20 minutes have elapsed, we can turn off the heat.
Next, heat up the mustard oil on high heat. We've talked about this before, but as a reminder, this is done to temper the pungency of the mustard oil. Once it's at its smoke point, lower the heat to a medium and bring the temperature of the mustard oil down a bit (to around 150 degrees celsius).
At this point, introduce all the aromatics. Sauté the aromatics until they start to release their aroma. This usually takes around a 30 seconds to a minute. Be careful not to burn the garlic; it can happen rather quick.
Heat goes back up to high and now the rajma beans and more water can be introduced along with the spices.
Sauté everything and we bring everything to a boil. Lower the heat for a bit, and then raise it again until it's reduced to a thickness you desire.
Now, the tamarind paste and jaggery can be added.
Heat goes back up to high and we bring everything to a boil.
Once it's come to a boil, we're done, and we can turn off the flame.
Garnish with coriander, dry chillies and some of the juliennes of Ginger, and we're done!