Rajma chawal (red kidney beans with rice) is a vegetarian delight, its rich flavor and appetizing aroma has something special to offer. Rajma Chawal is a meal in itself, capturing the nutrition and taste of authentic Indian cuisine. Extremely popular in North India, this dish is a must have at every house and restaurant . Rajma is same as the Red Kidney beans known in United States. Red Kidney Beans or Rajma, is not only tasty Indian recipe, is a rich source of anti-oxidants and contains cholesterol-lowering fiber. The best rajma – chawal (rice) can be had at the obscure stores alongside the highways all over North India. This dish is undoubtedly the main attraction on the dining table.
Most of the North Indian families eat rajma chawal as a complete meal on a tired or a lazy Sunday afternoon. This one meal dish served steaming hot is so delicious; the flavors get absorbed in the rajma and combined with rice brings back that lost energy in you and wakes your senses up.
The Origin of Rajma
RAJMA CURRY is the quintessential North Indian dish, but its chief ingredient — the red kidney bean — is not of Indian origin. It is native to the New World-Central Mexico and Guatemala, to be precise. The Spaniards and the Portuguese brought the bean back to Europe.
The dry seeds were a valuable source of protein for sailors, and ships soon carried the kidney bean to Africa and Asia. It had a special place in the diet of Native Americans. The amino acid profile of the pod complemented the amino profile of corn, the staple of most tribes. Some predominantly vegetarian tribes of Central America avoided malnutrition by incorporating the red seed into their daily corn recipes.
The nutrition profile of Rajma
The term “kidney bean” refers to the shape of the bean, but it is also true that Native Americans used the bean to treat a variety of kidney and bladder complaints. The bean paste was a vital ingredient in ointments for rheumatism, sciatica, eczema and common skin infections.
About 100 grams of boiled beans contain 140 calories, with 5.7 grams of protein, 5.9 grams of fat and nearly 17.8 grams of carbohydrate. Like most plant protein, the bean’s amino acid profile is deficient in some essential amino acids. Eating cereals like wheat or corn along with beans helps get around this problem, as the Native Americans found out over 1,000 years ago. Apart from being energy rich, the beans are also rich in soluble dietary fiber. This type of fiber helps lower blood cholesterol levels.
The seeds are also a valuable source of minerals like potassium, manganese, zinc, copper and iron. If you are a typical South Indian who isn’t used to eating rajma, chances are that your first encounter with it will bring on a bout of flatulence. The way to avoid this is to restrain your taste buds and introduce the bean to your gut gradually (a few seeds per meal). Soaking the beans overnight destroys lectin, a toxin. Raw seeds can be toxic as they contain inhibitors of protein-digesting enzymes. These enzyme inhibitors can cause diarrhea and vomiting, but cooking destroys them.
Kidney beans are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber, as are most other beans. In addition to lowering cholesterol, kidney beans’ high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, making these beans an especially good choice for individuals with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia. When combined with whole grains such as rice, kidney beans provide virtually fat-free high quality protein.
* 2 cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed under running water
* 2 tbsps vegetable/canola/sunflower cooking oil
* 1 tsp cumin seeds
* 2 medium-sized onions chopped fine
* 2″piece of ginger jullinned
* 6 cloves of garlic minced
* 2 large tomatoes chopped into 1″ cubes
* 2 fresh green chillies chopped fine
* 2 tsps coriander powder
* 1 tsp cumin powder
* 1 tsp garam masala
* 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
* Salt to taste
* A pinch of asafetida
* Chopped coriander to garnish
* Heat the oil in a deep pan and add the cumin seeds. When they stop sizzling, add the onion and fry till soft.
* Add the ginger and garlic and fry for 2 minutes.
* Add the green chillies, tomatoes, coriander, cumin, turmeric and garam masala powders and fry till the oil separates from the masala.
* Add the red kidney beans, 4 cups of warm water, asafetida, salt to taste and cook till beans are very soft (approximately 10 minutes).
* Mash some of the beans roughly (this thickens the gravy).
* Garnish with coriander and serve piping hot with plain boiled rice and Kachumbar salad and a pickle of your choice.