…..'A sense of humour lends you poise, it gives you balance and it helps you to bend without breaking'…..

(HH Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda)

Menomess; Was Once, But Now Is Not, Final Friday Feedstuffs

A re-post from two years back... I've been scheduling a heap of posts this month, partly because it helps my time management around other stuff, partly because I am having visitors this weekend (more in due course on that!), and partly due to the family situation. The only problem with so much pre-post is that sometimes the creative juices run dry and thus it becomes necessary to look back and think on what has inspired previously!  This one is prompted to some extent by a recent post by LBJ  which reminded me I had posted my own recipe for this dish. Only a couple of minor edits to the original post, to add links.


Red Beans Masala

This is truly one of my own all-time favourites.  Being vegetarian of course requires that a regular intake of pulses and legumes be ensured as they provide not just vitamins and minerals but also protein and excellent glycaemic index for energy sustenance.

Typical of most Indian cookery, there is no such thing as 'a recipe'; every family would have their own version.  If you follow this basic one from me though, then you can tweak it with things like the addition of turnips (a Kashmiri choice), extra tomato and add onion (Punjabi), black gram dahl (U.P. and Bengali)... 

If you are cooking for a larger group, or like myself, you use these as a regular staple, then it is worthwhile getting dry beans and preparing them appropriately (overnight soaking then ten mins of rapid boiling then 45 mins simmer - without salt! It toughens the skins) to ensure any aflatoxin risk is dealt with. As a 'rule-of-tumb', one cup of dried beans per two persons is a good enough guide if being used along with other food choices - or one cup per person if it is to be the only dish.

For 1-4 people, though, the canned variety are as good as anything. One can yields about two cups of product, so use two cans if more to be served; likewise two cans of toms. Double up, is the clue here! This dish freezes well.


  • 1 400gm can of kidney beans (different brands will of course give diff wgts - this is minimum)
  • 1 400gm can of chopped tomatoes (OR 3-4 fresh, chopped toms) and a tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dhania (ground coriander)
  • 1 teaspoon jeera (ground cumin)
  • 1/2 teaspoon adaraka (ground ginger)
  • 1/2 teaspoon mirchi (ground chili) - more if you have taste for it OR again you may use fresh chili in place of the dried
  • 1/2 teaspoon haldi (ground turmeric)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kalimircha (ground black pepper)
  • 1/4 teaspoon namak (salt - let others adjust according to their taste)
  • 1 teaspoon ghee and 1 tablespoon sunflower or mustard oil.
In a heavy-based pan, place the oil and ghee.  Melt them on a low to medium heat. Mix the masala powders together in a bowl or jug with a little water to make a paste.  Add this along with a tablespoon of the tomatoes to the heated fats.  There should be a light sizzle as the masala toasts.  Be very careful for if at this stage the toasting is overdone, there can be a bitter taste to the dish.  It only takes half a minute, at which point add in the remainder of the tomato.

Turn the heat down and allow this to temper; the mixture 'cracks' and the oils separate from the masala.  Now add the rajma plus two cups water. Check for moisture - if necessary add a little water to ensure no catching on the pan.  Bring to boil and then knock back to slow simmer, for minimum 40 minutes. This allows the masala to mature and there should be a thick, gravy-like consistency.

Serve either with roti or chawal (rice) and add a dollop of dahi (plain yoghurt) and fresh chopped coriander, some sliced cucumber......    

On the original post I mentioned that it could be transferred to oven for the remainder of cooking - but really, this is a pot dish and would only use oven if making a very large batch. This would be an ideal crock-pot/slow-cooker dish though!

For those who are interested in basics of beans and pulses, this BBC site has good info! At that site you will see Rick Stein's version of Rajma - he favours the Punjabi/UP version with onions and ginger... if you get a chance to see his tour of India (2014) programs, experimenting with all the regional tastes and understanding the culture of food according to faith and environment, do take it - heartily recommended!


  1. I would love this today... I bet it warms our stomach and our heart even when it is still darned cold outside :o)

  2. This sounds like a dish Phil and I would enjoy but I am a little confused. The dish is called Rajma but in the directions you say "add the rajma". What am I missing? Is it just adding the beans?
    Sorry to sound confused but it's easy done these days. xx

  3. I hope you can visit and teach me some things!!!!


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