By: Dr. Kaviraj Khialani- Celebrity Master Chef.
Kidney beans also known as rajma is a very popular legume and doesn’t really need a formal introduction, just as the name suggests the shape represents kidneys with a reddish brown color and a thick skin. It has a strong and dense flavor and a slightly mild after taste pleasing to our palates in various forms of its preparations.
Brazil has been known to be the top producer of kidney beans out of the others, it is popular with India and Nepal as well in most curried forms. There are many varieties of these beans available in the market lighter ones in color and also a bit small to big in size.
They are also called as king beans of nutrition since they are packed with elements of proteins thus making them a great replacement for red meat in many ways too. The overall composition of its balanced approach in our diet has been strongly recommended and we must include them in various ways in our day to day meal plans.
Health Benefits of Kidney Beans :
- Rich in fiber, magnesium & iron content.
- They are considered good for the human brain and its functioning.
- Kidney beans help in maintaining healthy skin.
- They are a good source which help us reduce weight.
- Kidney beans are regarded as heart healthy foods since they lower the cholesterol levels.
- Kidney beans are powerful immunity boosters.
- They have a good amount of protein which is beneficial for our meals.
- Kidney beans help lower blood pressure and improve blood sugar control.
CULINARY USES OF KIDNEY BEANS OR RAJMA:
- One of the most popular ingredient especially in north Indian homes where rajma Chawal refers to one of the best comforting food in day to day cooking made with love and affection by the women of the house.
- Besides being curried or in gravy form served with rice or parathas, rajma also features well in salads, soups, subzi concepts too.
- Kidney beans are also very popular with mexican cooking as well, they use it in a number of ways by adding it to the tortilla wraps, the burritos, the enchiladas and more.
- Boiled and mashed laced with flavors and spices we can also have rajma tikkis, cutlets, burgers and sliders, having them mashed incorporating them into a paratha stuffing works well too, how about trying rajma and paneer kofta in a palak gravy.
- Rajma is also well known had just boiled with a touch of salt, pepper, lime juice, mint /coriander leaves. They add a feeling of fullness to the meals and also help curtail over eating.
Here are a couple of recipes using Kidney Beans:
Recipe-1] KIDNEY BEAN PATTIES [chatpati rajma wali tikki]
- Boiled kidney beans- 2 cups
For cooking the mixture:
- Oil-2 tbsp.
- Ginger-garlic paste- 1 tsp
- Chopped green chilies- 1 tsp
- Chopped coriander- 1 tbsp.
- Chopped mint leaves-2 tbsp.
- Salt to taste
- Garam masala powder- 1 tsp
- Red chili powder-1/2 tsp
- Dried anardana- 1 tsp
- Grated paneer- 50 gms
- Chat masala- 1/2tsp
For the binding:
- Breadcrumbs-1/2 cup
- Maida/corn flour- ¼ cup as needed for coating.
- Oil to shallow fry
- To serve with : Green chutney/ tomato ketchup/dips and salsa. Sliced onions/slice of lime.
- Prepare all the ingredients for the patties.
- Heat oil and saute the ingredients one by one and add in the boiled beans, seasonings, spices and cook for 3-4 mins.
- Remove onto a plate, add in the binding agents mix well and shape into a dough like texture.
- Apply little oil on the fingers and divide into equal portions, slightly flatten them and coat with options as available and shallow fry them until nice crisp on the outside.
- Serve hot.
Chefs Variations : Try the same cutlets with stuffing of cheese and nuts in the center, can also make them nonveg by using mince, boiled chopped eggs etc.
Recipe- 2] KIDNEY BEAN BROTH [kidney bean and mix vegetable soup]
- Oil/olive oil- 1 tbsp.
- Garlic- 1 tsp chopped
- Onion- ½ chopped
- Carrots- ½ cup sliced
- Boiled sweet corn-1/2 cup
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Mixed herbs- ½ tsp
- Chili flakes- ½ tsp
- Tomato puree- ½ cup
- Green capsicums-1/2 no cubed.
- Water/veg stock- 3-4 cups
- Boiled rajma- ½ cup
- Chopped parsley/coriander- 2 tsp.
- Prepare all the ingredients for the soup.
- Heat oil add in the garlic, onions and saute for 30 seconds.
- Add in the tomato puree, salt and seasonings/herbs/spices to taste.
- Add in the vegetables and mix well, add in the beans and water/stock, allow to simmer for 20 mins.
- Now shall add in the capsicum last and bring to a boil, adjust texture of the soup.
- Serve hot garnished with herbs/grated cheese/ dash of sour cream.
Chefs Variations : Try the same recipe with boiled chicken cubes, use chicken stock for the soup, also can use veggies like broccoli, zucchini cubes, tofu as well in the soup with rajma.
Recipe- 3] KIDNEY BEAN PILAF [masaledaar rajma ka pulao]
- Boiled rajma- 1 and half cup
- Basmati rice- 1 and half cup
- Water/stock as needed.
- Oil/butter/ghee- 1 tbsp.
- Bayleaf- 2 no
- Peppercorns- 8-10 nos.
- Sliced onions- 1 cup
- Ginger-garlic paste- 1 tsp mix
- Tomatoes chopped- ½ cup
- Salt to taste
- Red chili powder- ½ tsp
- Dhaniya-jeera powder- 1 tbsp. mix
- Garam masala powder- ½ tsp
- Kasoori methi- 1 tsp
- Cubes of potatoes-1/2 cup fried
- Assorted veggies- carrots/beans etc can be added.
- Green peas- ½ cup boiled
Assorted non-veg/veggies if any of your choice can be added.
- Fresh coriander- 2 tbsp. for garnish.
- Fried onions- ½ cup for garnish.
- To serve with : Choice of raita/ papad/pickle.
- Heat oil in a pan add in the whole spices add in the sliced onions and start cooking, add water little by little as they get brown, add ginger garlic paste.
- Add in the tomatoes, salt and spices, little water, cook well, add in the kasuri methi, rajma, rice and mix all well.
- Add double the amount of water/stock to make the pulao and allow to simmer, cover and cook in steam.
- Serve hot garnished with fresh coriander leaves.
Chefs Variations : Try the same recipe with soy keema and rajma along with additions as desired. We can also make kofta with rajma and paneer and layer the kofta gravy into a biryani concept, grated cheese, fried onions, rose water and serve hot. Rajma pulao with chicken curry cuts also tastes good in a methi garlic masala.