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Rajma Nu Shaak (Kidney Bean Curry)

Manju Patel
  • Serves: 4
  • Preparation: 10
  • Cooking: 20
  • Passive: 360+
  • Ready: 30

This gluten and nut-free dish is so full of flavour that it’s worth the time it takes to soak the dried kidney beans before making the curry.


For the beans

  • 160 g dried kidney beans
  • 700 ml boiling water
  • pinch of salt

For the curry

  • 50 ml sunflower oil
  • ½ tablespoon carom seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon asafoetida
  • 1 teaspoon chickpea flour
  • 250 ml canned chopped tomatoes
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon red chilli powder
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
  • chopped fresh coriander, to garnish
  • ½ teaspoon Ginger, Garlic and Chilli Paste (see below)

For the Ginger, Garlic and Chilli Paste (makes about 150 g)

  • 12–13 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 5–6 cm/2–2½ inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
  • 20 green chillies
  • pinch of salt

To serve

  • rotli
  • your choice of rice dish


To make the curry

Tip: If you are using canned kidney beans, make sure you drain and wash them thoroughly before use.

Place the dried kidney beans in a bowl and add the boiling water. Set aside and leave to soak for 6–8 hours but preferably overnight. When ready, drain the kidney beans in a sieve and wash them thoroughly under hot running water from the tap.

Place 450 ml water in a pressure cooker* with the salt. Heat until the water starts to simmer, then add the kidney beans. Close the lid and cook until the pressure. cooker whistles 3–4 times.

Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Without opening the lid, lift the whistle to release any pressure and then open the pressure cooker. Check if the kidney beans are cooked by pressing a bean in between your finger and thumb; if it crushes easily, the beans are ready. If the beans are still not cooked properly, return the pressure cooker to the heat until the cooker whistles once.

Heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat for 90 seconds. Check if the oil is hot enough by placing a few carom seeds into the pan; if they sizzle, the oil is ready, otherwise heat for a further 30 seconds and check again.

Add the carom seeds to the oil and stir for 30 seconds. Add the asafoetida, mix quickly, then add the chickpea flour. Reduce the heat to a low heat and mix quickly until the flour turns a slightly red colour.

Add 240 ml water and the chopped tomatoes and stir gently for 2 minutes. Add the turmeric, coriander, cumin, salt, chilli powder and ginger, garlic and chilli paste and stir until all the flavours are combined. Add the garam masala and stir for a further 30 seconds.

Add the cooked kidney beans and tomato ketchup and stir until the curry comes to a simmer. Cover and cook for another couple of minutes.

Remove the lid and take the pan off the heat. Leave the curry to cool slightly, then place in a serving bowl. Garnish with chopped coriander.

Serve with rotli, your choice of rice and side dish.

If you are not serving the curry straight away, store it in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days, then reheat until piping hot.

*Note: To cook dal without a pressure cooker you will need to use a large, heavy-based saucepan with a tight-fitting lid and simmer until the lentils are tender. Since more steam is likely to escape from a regular pan, you will need to keep topping up with hot water. Timings and the amount of water required may vary but the lentils should be cooked until very soft.

To make the Ginger, Garlic and Chilli Paste

Place all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and blitz to a smooth paste. Add a little water if needed to loosen. The paste can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3–4 days. Just add to curries as required.

Additonal notes

Recipe taken from Manju’s Cookbook by Manju Patel, published by Ryland Peters & Small (£22)

Photography by Clare Winfield © Ryland Peters & Small



Book cover for Manju's Cookbook

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