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A friend of mine, Russian, is married to an Indian and lives in India. She shared this recipe with me. She calls it rajma and says it is very poplular in Punjab. Lots of spices there! I served it over brown rice and with a dollop of sour cream on top (raita would've probably been better).

1. Soak beans overnight. I usually use 1 full cup of red (kidney) beans (as I cook for two).

2. In the pressure cooker, place 2 bay leaves, 2 black cardamoms (I prefer to crush them rather than place whole and then have to take them out), salt, 1 tablespoon ghee, and 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil and cook 20-25 minutes.

3. Drain (reserve liquid).

4. In a deep skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. Add 3 small chopped onions, grated ginger (small piece), 2-3 crushed garlic cloves, and 2-3 small hot green peppers. Sautee until the onions are golden.

5. Add 1/2 teaspoon powdered red pepper (I often skip this part because the green peppers are hot enough) and 1 large tomato, pureed. Let stew a little.

6. Add the beans and garam masala (the garam masala you use must be made fresh – this is what makes the dish so delicious: ground into powder together 1 teaspoon cumin, 4 green cardamoms, a 1-inch piece of a cinnamon stick, 6 whole cloves and 6 black peppercorns. It is best to make the garam masala beforehand, while the beans are cooking). Mix everything together well and add the liquid reserved after cooking beans. Bring to boil, turn down the heat, and cook until the beans are fully cooked and the sauce reaches desired thickness. You can crush some beans if desired.

7. Add chopped cilantro and a couple of tablespoons sour cream (if desired). Serve over rice.

Keywords: Main Dish, Vegetarian, Beans, Dinner, Indian

( RG1386 )

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