Mint and Potato Rajma

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Mint and Potato Rajma

There's a fat new cookbook in my kitchen, and it's not even vegetarian. But Raghavan Iyer's new 660 Curries has such an astonishing number of authentic and incredible Indian meatless recipes for bean and vegetable curries that many a vegetarian cookbook would be put to shame.

One of the most appealing features of Iyer's recipes is his assembly-line fashion of preparation and cooking using modern appliances, a restaurant-like approach that makes each of his dishes as easy to scale down for two people as it would be to scale up for a hundred. And if the picture of an assembly line seems aesthetically unappealing to the gourmand, try to picture instead the convenience for a parent who hasn't much time or who faces a lot of interruptions in the kitchen. Either way, there's no sacrifice of flavor or goodness in this book. There are more than a few interesting tips as well, such as whisking yogurt together with a little heavier cream before adding to heat to prevent curdling.

Mint and Potato Rajma

"Rajma" is a generic word meaning literally "red kidney bean," but which is applied more loosely as a name for the tomato-based red kidney bean curries found throughout northern India. In this version, adapted from one found in 660 Curries, fresh mint does not alter the spice of the curry but provides a pleasing added tone at the end of the palette after the tongue has savored the spices. Potatoes are used here to provide a contrast in color, taste and texture, but fried paneer cheese cubes could be substituted as easily and with as nice an effect — just add them during the simmer rather than before the boil.

Mint and Potato RajmaMint and Potato Rajma
Recipe by
Adapted from 660 Curries
Cuisine: Indian
Published on October 2, 2008

Rich, earthy, hearty and zesty red kidney bean and tomato curry with potatoes cooked with spices and fresh mint

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 to 35 minutes

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  • 1 1/3 cups dried red kidney beans (4 cups cooked or 2 19 oz cans)
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 red cayenne or chili peppers, stemmed
  • 1/2 cup tightly packed fresh mint leaves
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 3-inch piece cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or a mixture of butter and olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 medium potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup plain whole fat yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
  • Rinse the kidney beans under running water and soak for 8 hours or overnight covered in several inches of cold water. Drain and rinse, then transfer to a medium saucepan and cover with several inches of fresh water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the beans are tender but not falling apart. Drain and reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Set aside.

  • Using a blender, purée the tomato, onion, cayenne peppers, mint, ginger, peppercorns, turmeric and cinnamon to a smooth sauce, flecked with green and brown. Set aside.

  • Heat the ghee or butter and olive oil mixture over medium-high heat in a large saucepan. Toss in the cumin seeds and fry until reddish-brown, less than a minute. Pour in the puréed sauce, partially cover the pan, and lower the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the oil begins to separate from the sauce — 10 to 15 minutes.

  • Stir in the potatoes, kidney beans, and the reserved cup of the bean cooking liquid. Raise the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender and the sauce has thickened slightly — 15 to 20 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, whisk together the yogurt, sour cream and garam masala. Once the potatoes are cooked, fold in the yogurt mixture, cilantro or parsley, and salt. Simmer gently uncovered for another couple of minutes.

  • Serve in warm bowls with hot white rice or fresh bread on the side.

Makes 6 servings

Mint and Potato Rajma


Alexa said...

Oh, my... I would love to have this bean curry for dinner. I will have to check out this cookbook. I am crazy for Indian food. Lovely pictures!

sra said...

Lisa, I find the combination of pepper and mint really interesting. I sometimes find gravies challenging to make for various reasons but you seem to have got it just right!

Priya Suresh said...

Delicious Rajma curry...yummy yummm....

Sangeeth said...

delicious curry lisa...actually i do this without mint ..may b next time i'll try it with mint!

Usha said...

The addition of mint to rajma curry sounds very interesting...

Meeta K. Wolff said...

ok this just did it - i was putting off buying cookbooks for a while ( i think i am an addict) but this - this is getting me to drool and knowing that it comes from 660 curries makes me want to get it. lisa, thanks for sharing the recipe.

test it comm said...

660 curries! That will be a tasty exploration! This one certainly looks good.

Sara said...

Delicious! Thanks for sharing.

Mallika said...

What a lovely variation on the classic rajma! There's so much variation in vegetarian food, we meatarians don't even miss meat in a complete Indian veggie meal.

Jacqueline Meldrum said...

What a lovely winter's dish Lisa. I love all the ingredients in this one, so I am going to bookmark it. Although I will probably use canned chickpeas, I found some really good Indian ones.

La Cuisine d'Helene said...

I have bought this cookbook but haven't made anything from it yet. Thanks for the review of this dish.

Anonymous said...

wow, lisa, this is a fantastic dish! i'm so tempted to try it tomorrow straight away, but i have sth else planned instead. gorgeous. also, well done with the photo - curries are not easy to photograph at all!

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

This would be the perfect way to end my day Lisa:D

Anonymous said...

This looks just awfully good. Hmmm, when to make it? Soon!

command economy said...

Looks incredible... TELEPORT PLEASE

Anonymous said...

This looks really yummy. I really like the idea of the sour cream in there, I bet it gives just that little bit of tang over the yoghurt. There is something so deeply satisfying about a bean curry - I like mine with a chapati or roti.

Susan said...

What a sensation! When I read the title of the post, I wanted to swoon. Seriously.

Stephanie said...

Another fantastic recipe and a nice way to incorporate more fresh mint! So delicious! Peace, Stephanie

Anonymous said...

would the cookbook be worth purchasing if one is vegan and too salt, oil, and sugar free? i think i can adapt the chickpea with mango powder recipe to fit my diet lifestyle. this one just won't work for me. please, let me know your thoughts. thanks

Lisa Turner said...

Oh indeed. I am a vegetarian and mostly eat vegan meals for dinner. With so many recipes, you can adapt to your preferences. Coconut milk is a good substitute for yogurt for example. The book is not vegetarian, as it includes meat meals, but it is a favourite of mine. With so many recipes, you can adjust to your preferences. Mr. Iyer is a genius in the kitchen.