Basanti Beans

Still on my Sholay kick (with the Sholay chole), another bean recipe. Who doesn’t love Basanti? Plus, these beans are yellow. I experimented with mixed beans, and this was very tasty. Try it – yunki accha hai!

You need: 1/3 cup each black beans, red beans (rajma), and chickpeas (chana); 1 large yellow tomato; 1 medium red onion; 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste; 1 tbsp Kitchen King masala; salt to taste; 1 tsp jeera.

How to: Soak the beans overnight, or for at least four hours. Rinse and boil until soft (or pressure cook for five whistles). Drain, rinse, and set aside.

Cut the onion and tomato finely.

Heat 2 tbsp oil. Add the jeera. When it splutters, add the Kitchen King and turn the heat down to medium. Stir.

Add the onion. Stir well.

After 3-4 minutes, add the ginger-garlic paste. Stir briskly, and wait for 1-2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and stir again. Cover and cook on medium heat until the tomatoes are well blended. You will not need to add water if you have a tight-fitting lid and keep the heat on medium.

When the tomatoes are done, add the cooked beans. Stir well. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. You may need to add a little water to thin it out a bit.

Garnish with cilantro (dhania) and use in place of a regular dal – over rice or with roti.


Rajma (red beans)

Preparation time: 20-30 minutes (excluding soaking time)

Cooking time: 1 hour, minimum. More likely 2. Depends how long the beans take to boil (at least 40 minutes).

I love rajma! 🙂 It’s best eaten with rice and yogurt. I advise waking up and setting the beans to boil all morning while you are getting ready for the day, or something like that. Also, best cooked on a weekend.

You need: 1 cup rajma (red kidney beans); 2 large tomatoes; 1 large onion; 1 tsp ginger paste, 1 tbsp rajma masala or garam masala, 1 heaped tsp red chili powder (or not, if you can’t take the spice); salt to taste, cilantro (dhania) for garnishing; 1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera); 1-2 bay leaves; 1-2 dried red chilies; 1 heaped tsp paprika (this is for color).

How to: Soak the rajma overnight or 6-10 hours. If you soak it in the day, try to change the water a couple of times. Drain and rinse well. Add 1 tsp salt and lots of water and boil until tender. Make sure the water doesn’t evaporate as you’re boiling it. Once it’s cooked, retain about 1 cup of the cooking liquid, and throw the rest away.

Meanwhile, puree the onion and tomatoes – separately! – in a food processor (or chop them really, really, fine, but pureeing works best).

Heat 2-3 tbsp oil. Add the cumin, bay leaves, and red chilies. When it starts sizzling add the onion paste. Stir well and let it cook.

It’s critical that the onion is fully cooked. If it smells raw and tastes raw, keep cooking. Stir now and again; don’t let it burn.

Add the ginger paste when the onion is cooked and stir.

Add the tomato puree. Mix well. Add salt and the remaining spices. Cover. This is really important – this tends to splatter everywhere while cooking. Lower the heat (to “medium”, or “simmer” if you’re in India). Stir now and again, taking care not to get splashed, and let it cook for 5-10 minutes.

Add the rajma and cooking water. Mix well. Cover again, and let it cook for another 5-7 minutes. Garnish with cilantro, and eat over rice with yogurt.

Optional: Boiled potato. Boil a potato, but don’t let it get mushy. Add it with the pureed tomato. If you let it get mushy, it will crumble with the added cooking, so undercook it just a little when you boil it.