Grapefruit chose the recipe for our second curry cooking project. She chose Rajmah from the blog, Quick Indian Cooking.
I found this recipe milder than most curries I have eaten, but I did serve it with a hot and spicy chili relish because I like my curries to be quite assertive.
Grapefruit found the recipe simple to make. She has much more experience with curries than I do and the whole point of this Curry-Palooza project is to help me hone my Indian cookery skills. I found the recipe rather difficult to follow and I certainly wouldn't consider it "quick cooking". I like a recipe that lists ingredients in the order they will be used and Malika's did not. I found myself going back and forth between the ingredient list and the directions. Even after I had all my ingredients, which were many, assembled, it still took more than an hour to cook.
Also, I didn't really understand some of the wording on the recipe, such as "fry this masala mixture until the pungent aroma of the spices goes". Goes? No clue what that means. Another one was, "lower heat and simmer until you see oil coming out in little pores in the mixture". I watched the mixture and guessed at that one. And finally, "simmer the mixture until you can smell the beans in the mixture and the onions disintegrate". I simmered the mixture for an hour, until the beans were beginning to split open, but the onions never "disintegrated".
The finished dish was delicious and in all fairness, I should reveal that I had a screaming headache while I was cooking the Rajmah, which was likely part of my difficulty. I have tried to simplify the recipe below.
(adapted from Quick Indian Cooking)
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 bay leaf
4 whole cardamom
4 whole cloves
1" cinnamon stick
1 small onion, finely chopped
2" fresh ginger, grated
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. coriander powder
2 tsp. cumin powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. turmeric
1 large tomato, roughly chopped
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
Water, as needed
1/2 tsp. garam masala
Salt, to taste
In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil and add the bay leaf, whole cardamom, whole cloves, and whole cinnamon. When the spices start to sizzle, stir in the onion, ginger, and garlic. Fry until golden brown.
Add the coriander, cumin, black pepper, chili powder, and turmeric. Fry for five minutes them add the chopped tomato. Cook and stir this mixture for a few minutes, then add water to cover. Lower the heat and simmer until very fragrant.
Stir in the beans and add water to cover. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring and adding more water, as necessary. Finish by adding the garam masala and salt to taste.
Note: the next time I make this, I will add about 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper. We needed some heat.