Lucknow Rajma with Sautéed Chard

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Lucknow Rajma with Sautéed Chard

Rajma is a curried tomato and kidney bean dish that's strikingly reminiscent of Southwestern-style chilis, but it's all Indian in origin and spicing, and made everywhere across the Indian subcontinent with all kinds of regional variations. It's also one of my favorite Indian dishes, so I'm always on the lookout for new versions to try. And since, oddly enough, only one of the local Indian restaurants actually serves rajma, I just have to make my own!

This Lucknow recipe is a spicy hot rajma that I've adapted from Yamuna Devi's Vegetarian Table to compensate for the ridiculous party-sized quantity it suggests and to make it even more fiery — just the way I like it, but feel free to slightly reduce the spices or to leave out the chili pepper. What makes this rajma unique is the addition of sautéed chard to a dish that's typically made without vegetables. Make sure you use the stems of the chard as well — they're the sweetest part of the vegetable.

Lucknow Rajma with Sautéed ChardLucknow Rajma with Sautéed Chard
Recipe by
Adapted from The Vegetarian Table: India
Cuisine: India
Published on May 24, 2007

Rich Indian-spiced red kidney bean curry with earthy and sweet sautéed chard added

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  • 1 cup dried red kidney beans (3 cups cooked or 2 14 oz cans)
  • 2 tablespoons ghee, butter or oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ajwain seeds
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon asafoetida
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated or minced
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, stems included, sliced into strips
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
  • Rinse the beans and soak overnight in several inches of water with a little yoghurt whey or lemon juice added. Drain and rinse, then transfer to a large saucepan and cover with several inches of fresh water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until the beans are soft. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.

  • Wipe the pan clean and return to the stove. Heat 1 tablespoon of the ghee, butter or oil in the pan over low heat. When warm, add the ajwain seeds, garam masala, chili powder, asafoetida and ginger. Stir constantly to prevent the seasonings from sticking to the bottom of the pan and cook for 5 minutes.

  • Add half the tomatoes and turn up the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until the sauce is thick and the oil separates from the tomatoes.

  • Add the remaining tomatoes, and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the beans and the 1/2 cup of reserved cooking liquid and reduce the heat, letting the mixture simmer.

  • Sautéed Chard
    Meanwhile, heat the other tablespoon of ghee or oil and butter in a large frying pan or wok over medium heat. When hot, pour in the chopped chard — stems and leaves — and sauté for 10 minutes or until the leaves are wilted.

  • Just before finishing the chard, stir in the parsley or cilantro into the bean mixture and season with salt. Stir in the chard and remove from heat.

  • Serve hot over a bed of fresh cooked white basmati rice with dollop of yogurt if desired.

Makes 4 to 6 servings


abby said...

i've never come across rajma before, thanks for educating me lisa! it does sound lovely - i'll definitely be trying it. thanks for getting involved in vegetables, beautiful vegetables.

Lisa said...

Abby; This version of rajma with paneer cheese is even yummier!

abby said...

thanks lisa - i'll start there!

Mandira said...

Rajma with chard,I never thought of combining them before, I bet it was delicious! This is on my to try list.