Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Rajma aur Sherry!!

Few years ago I was completely ignorant about north Indian cuisine…Even during college time, the only north Indian dish I knew was Butter chicken which is now quite pan-Indian. Its so popular at restaurants in Trivandrum that this sardar I know says, a few minutes at Kalavara restaurant reminds of his paaji in Jalandhar. Even the cook out there is called Cherian Singh!

And after getting acquainted with many friends from north, I became familiar with things like Paratha…palak paneer…dahi vada….gajar ka halwa….The problem with this kind of naming is that they wouldn’t possibly be able to name something like Avial !!

Though I enjoyed these delicacies, I never really ventured into cooking any of em myself.. So last week I decided to make a typical north Indian dish called Rajma masala…Talking of Rajma, I was not familiar with this dish either…Imagine a few years ago, if someone actually quipped from the kitchen..

’Do you know where is Rajma’

I would have said...’I have no idea…I don’t even know her!!’

Rajma was simply a girl’s name for me …like in Rajma Chowdhary or something.

So it was with much apprehension when I saw Rajma for the first time at Dostana supermarket in Hamburg...Popular know as kidney beans this is supposedly be very healthy which made me extra cautious coz I have strange medical condition of being allergic to such food…But on that instance, I didn’t care much and ‘transplanted’ the kidney beans to my shopping cart. I reaching home carrying approximately 500 such kidney beans that evening. The racket was soon busted when my roommate saw the 500 kidney beans hidden behind the shelves and he asked me the dreaded question that a man would fear most at such times.

‘Do you have any idea what to do with this stuff?’

You know, there are the times when you simply wish that a meteor would pass by so that you could divert the topic. But that day I couldn’t count on my luck for such possibilities and had to rely on the life saver of our times, the internet.

I searched in youtube and found a beautiful Pakistani lady making Rajma masala. After watching that for approx 10 min, I saw another Pakistani girl doing the same…and then another……Since I found it very interesting I began searching in youtube for “Pakistani girls making Rajma masala”…Finally I realized that youtube is the wrong place for searching recipes and decided on regular websites…Again I ended up mixing several recipes to suite my taste. So this a mix all recipe.

The problem here is that if you want to make this curry today, you have to start thinking of it yesterday and keep the beans soaked in water overnight…In other words you should be a far-sighted person to make this curry…and you need a vision and immaculate planning!! Such remarkable qualities enable you to make this wonderful dish…I did it!! hic...hic….;-D

Pressure cook the beans(abt 300 gms) along with 2 tbsp of toor dal for around 5-6 whistles…

Heat oil in a pan and do the usual thing with mustards and jeera….add 1-2 red chilies as well.
Sauté the onions(sliced thin 3 nos) along with 2 green chilies until sufficiently fried and add the ginger-garlic paste(3 tsp)...Now add 2 cardamoms, 3 cloves and 1” piece of cinnamon…Once the raw smell goes, add a paste of 3 tsp of coriander powder, 1tsp turmeric, 1tsp pepper powder and half tsp red chilly powder with 2 tbsp of water to avoid the masala’s getting burned. After 2 min add the sliced tomatoes(2 nos) and allow it to cook…When the oil starts separating out and the mixture of onion and tomatoes are smashed properly. Add salt to taste and a pinch of garam masala…Now reduce the flame and add 2 tbsp of curd to it….Finally add the cooked Rajma along with water remaining in the pressure cooker and cover the lid for 5-10 min or until the masala mix has blended well with the Rajma…Check the spice and salt level and adjust maadi accordingly!!

I thought the curry came out decently well...infact way beyond my other words this time I haven’t accumulated miles unlike the last time when the kadala curry created a record of sorts by earning me 10000 miles in a span of few days….and a frequent flier card to the loo!!

P.S. The chappatti is ready made...


nish said...

Or you could use the ones which comes in cans... turns out equally good... busy mom (who forgets to soak rajma on the previous night)talking here... :D

Sakshi said...

When u look out for a gal to marry plz add the part that she should not have any experience in the kitchen, not only for cooking but no idea whatsoever abt the ingredients! We don't want to loose a gem of a cook to marriage na? Just looking at the pic of the rajma curry is giving me a hangover...u sure u didn't add some kind of alcohol as a secret ingredient?? Btw thank god the cook was not called Chorian Singh!!!

Varsha Vipins said...

Were you actually looking for Pakistani gal or Rajma curry..lolol..The curry looks yet to get the sherry part tho..;)

Madhumathi said...

I'm glad to have discovered your blog..I like your write-up..Its hilarious :)

Anonymous said...

Maths,LOL and lol...For all those pinching notes..ha ha..From Rajma" the girl to the search for "pakistani girls making rajma" ha ha..(here also we have some kinda know even i search and go crazy like this..ha ha)
now,the mere mention of "kalavara' made me nostalgic..You know maths,kalavara situates near to where i was studying that time..naturally our fav food joint
love the mixed fried rice there...and truly the same for tandoor fish..oops drooling..One of my friends from london,who visited me there that time,was wondering how cheap the food at Kalavara was !! Can you imagine Maths,i had both my eyes completely out..only till i realise she was thinking in terms of Pound and yes,dreaming the "helathy' menu from london restaus...ha ha..(ottakku chirikkunnathu oru doshamaano sir ?)

mathew said...

Yeah….saw them in the shop..but then wanted to try from time I am gonna use the cans..:thanks for visiting.. :-)

LOL!! Yeah..i am not quite sure I added some beer for the sourness..:-P

oh..i just tried to give a poor rhyme to the old hindi flick ‘Reshma aur Shera’…and I thought some sherry goes well with the Rajma too..;-D

thanks you..and thanks for visiting!!:-)

Kalavara has long lost its old charm…and the cleanliness leaves a lot to be desired..I have fond memo-ries of the restaurant since it was like the ‘big thing’ during our college days…and fairly expensive with the limited budget we had back then…

Regarding the pricey thing it has happened the other way around too..when my parents were and when dad asked me the price of the coffee he just had at the airport…he was flabbergasted after the conver-sion:- 3:50 euro>> 200 rupees!!:-D

Philip said...

Yum..rajma is one of fav dishes. Rajma and ghee rice on a pouring monsoon night is just heavenly.

Divs said...


eljo said...

Hey,this is my fav north Indian subzi though hubz (like all pala achayans) don't go anywhere near this curry. Didn't know that you had so much vision and foresight ;-) Loved Dostana store. I am louving the salwar suits on display.

Deepti said...

"supposedly be very healthy which made me extra cautious coz I have strange medical condition of being allergic to such food" Me tooo ... And i really dont like kidney beans :((
Pakistani gerls making rajamma ... ya ya :D

anN-series said...

so u finally got down to making rajma....i love the rajma chawal...but the next day we may have a fart-attack!....

Make the Impossible...Possible said...

Nalla cook-um thanney elley???

Who is this Sherry, BTW?...Sherry Singh ayirukkum???...Or your room mate who shared this Rajma Curry??..hahaha

Take it easy, Just kidding

nish said...

i visit all the time... :).. you are rite abt kalavara... i used to love the chinese chopsuey they had... but this time i went did not a chance to visit kalavara... we tried the new taj residency though... they had a good spread for their lunch buffet...
btw 'pakistani girl making rajma' was hilarious!

mathew said...

oh yes..i think it will be an awesome combo!! should try it next time with rice..


hehe..nice to see your comment...btw I have to agree completely with Josu..given a choice we wouldnt even give it a fleecing glance if we saw some kappa and panni yerachi nearby!!;-D

Btw..Dostana store is not as impressive as their website..;-D

hehe..coz you have enough kidneys..?? ;-D

LOL!! I think i should try that too just for the heck of it!;-)

@Make the Impossible
Sherry would actually be some kind of wine..;-) nice combo with rajma..I just wrote it as a rhyme to Reshma aur shera..

thanks for visiting..

thank you..:-)
kalavara used to be one of the best restaurants in tvm..though it doesnt anymore have the past glory!

overtaken by newly sprouted joints...i should try the taj food...have heard its quite good...amongst the upmarket ones i like Muthoot plaza...they have a decent spread..

ashaan said...

Congrats on the Rajma masala success. You managed to stick to the cooking after watching all the youtube videos :D
I came across your blog yesterday..had a wonderful time going through your writing. Keep up the wonderful work!

Vrinda said...

Rajma masala is my fav curry and healthy too..

Pooja said...

Wow your curry is mouth watering and nice writeup :) I fell in love with Rajma after I started cooking. I have loved it ever since.

Jyothsna said...

An elderly aunt once asked me what was for lunch and I replied rajma and she said, "Raj ammayo??" :) Btw, usually rajma is not seasoned with mustard and cumin, maybe the sites u checked did that.

Seena said...

Rajma Chawdhary! Will surely remember you when seeing rajma.. :)I too think canned are easy to use.. :)

kicking.and.screaming said...

How could you be so evil? How could you be so evil? HOW COULD YOU BE SO EVIL?!

Arunima said...

it takes me about 20 whistles to get the rasjma cooked. 5-6 is good.

kochuthresiamma p .j said...

never really liked rajma- too bland for me-think i'll try out ur recipe since u swear by it:-)

DPhatsez said...

Rajma ennu perulla pennungal undennu njaan aadyamayittaanu kelkkunnathu :)

Congrats on your 'self-proclaimed' cooking success!

LOL @ Cherian Singh!

Supriya Nair said...

Hi Mathew, you have an amazing blog here...random thoughts and recipes do gell nicely here..:)

Pavithra said...

Looking good and i love rajma too.. visit my blog for rajma sandwich when u fing time

veena said...

Hi Mathew ...
Hw r u ...I am here after a long gap.Rajma curry looks simply delicious ..Will try this for sure ..keep in touch

Shreya said...

hi mathew, long since i visited, but been worth it! love the post, n the recipe:-)

Varsha Vipins said...

Knock Knck..we need some updates here..!!

BlowHotBlowCold said...


Ria said...

LOL! first time here! Had a tough time stiffling my laughter in office!! Had to stuff my duppatta in my mouth!! :D Nice Curry!

mathew said...

sorry for the late reply to comments here..

hehe..thanks a lot..

I dont like the healthy part though..;-D

yeah..i love it to...ocassionally..

LOL!! nice one...yeah i think i did the sauting as i do for everything..;-)

hehe...yeah..canned are easier..i have tried that too..

whats so evil about a rajma!;-D

yeah the one i got somehow was ready in that..;-)

oh yes..please try tastes good for a change..

cmon..they are such a common name..;-p

thanks a lot..and thanks for dropping by..

sure will check out that..

nice to see you back...hope you are doing good...

danke schon!;-D

yeah..coming the way..;-)

thank you..

thanks for the generous have an awesome blog too.. :-)

Mallugirl said...

rajamma is a fav joke in my kitchen too.
and kalavara brought back memories of college days when i used ot go there for the chole bhature.