One of my all time favourite comfort foods that never ever disappoints no matter the occasion is Rajma Chawal.
If you just read that and said 'huh?' let me translate it for you. Rajma is what the Indians refer to as kidney beans. It is prepared as a curry and usually eaten with a big bowl of steaming rice. If you want to get fancy, you can chop up onions and tomatoes to add as a garnish but I really like to keep it simple.
I have been spending more time in the kitchen lately (thanks pandemic) and learned how to make this classic (and surprisingly simple) dish. If you want to get technical with it, kidney beans are an excellent source of plant based protein. They're also rich in various minerals, vitamins, fibres, antioxidants, and other unique plant compounds. These beans may aid weight loss, promote colon health, and moderate blood sugar levels.
1 cup rajma (kidney beans)
6 cloves garlic
2 green chilies
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tablespoon oil
salt to taste
Soak the rajma in five cups of water for at least 6 hours (I just do it overnight). Drain and put into a pressure cooker with three cups of water and a pinch of salt.
Close the lid and place on high heat. After the first whistle, adjust to low heat until the rajma is soft enough to give way when pressed with a spoon (about 20 minutes). (The time of cooking will depend on the size of the kidney beans and the make of your pressure cooker.)
While rajma is cooking, peel and chop the onions, garlic and ginger. Place chopped onions, garlic and ginger together in a blender. Grind to a paste.
Heat the oil in a flat-bottomed pan. Pop in slit green chilies. When the chilies change color, add the onion-ginger-garlic paste. Fry on medium-high heat till the paste turns golden-brown. Add coriander powder, cumin powder and red chili powder.
Puree the tomatoes. Turn the heat to high and mix in the tomato puree along with some salt. Cook, stirring frequently till the tomato color deepens and merges well with the frying spices (8-10 minutes).
Mix in the boiled rajma at this stage along with a cup of the water it was cooked in (add more if you want a thinner gravy). Cook covered for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. In the end, stir in garam masala.
*This should be enough for the entire family or you can store it for leftovers.