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Rajma (kidney Bean Curry)

2 hours
Anjna Kanani

download (1)When I was 11 my mum was the victim of a hit and run accident and was in hospital for weeks. Despite being the youngest, she would phone and explain how to make dinner for the day.

This curry reminds me of my mum and how wonderful she is. Even though I cried every day, I had to feed the family, so I stopped crying and got on with it. This curry is not a typical curry from my roots of India. My family’s upbringing was in Uganda where this dish is very popular. It would’ve been made from fresh kidney beans straight out of the pod, rather than dried. I have tried to give precise amounts but I learnt to cook using my eyes and judgement!



2 cups of dried red kidney beans                          1 tsp dharma jeeru (blend of

(do not use tinned, it will not do the                    cumin and coriander powder)

curry any justice)                                                 ½ tsp turmeric powder

2-3 medium tomatoes, chopped                                     ¾ tsp red chilli powder or 1-2

(or half a can of tinned tomatoes)                        green chillies

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced                             1 tbsp rapeseed oil

1 inch grated ginger                                              (or coconut oil or ghee).

1 tsp salt                                                              ½ tsp mustard seeds

½ tsp cumin seeds

  • urry leaves



  • Was the kidney beans in water and then soak in plenty of water overnight.
  • Once soaked, drain and discard the water. Put the kidney beans in a pan with fresh water and boil for about an hour. The beans must be soft to squeeze and have a melt in your mouth texture (no bite).
  • Allow the beans to rest in the cooking water, do not discard this water.
  • In a small pan heat the oil or ghee. Add the mustard and cumin seeds and when they start to pop. Add the mustard and cumin seeds and when they start to pop, add the garlic, ginger and green chilli’s. Do not allow the garlic to burn. After a few minutes, add the tomatoes and all the dried spices.
  • Allow the mixture to cook until it becomes a thick paste. Add this paste to the cooked kidney beans and cooking water.
  • Stir thoroughly and cook again on a medium heat for 15 mins until the sauce is thick. Taste, and add more salt or chilli powder to your taste, add the curry leaves and mix.
  • Serve with rice, naan/ pitta bread or chapattis.