Rajma, Red Kidney Beans with Punjabi Curry, Bottle Gourd and Tomato/Mint Raita with Rotis

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The end result of this vegan bean dish is savory, smokey, almost chili like, and so satisfying that you will not miss meat, you will however probably go back for seconds! This dish is a great example of how spices can morph both simple and few ingredients into something extraordinary.

Next to the Rajma is sautéed bottle melon and tomato and mint Raita, along with a homemade roti.

We soaked the beans overnight, but you can use canned ones if you want to.


3 cups red kidney beans

1 large red onion, minced

1 tomato, ground in a food processor

1 teaspoon asafoedita (a spice made from the root of giant fennel)

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon coriander powder

1 teaspoon ground garam masala

Step One:

Cook the beans. Again, if using canned you really only need to heat them through. Heat two tablespoons oil and add 1 teaspoon, asafoedita, black mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Roast spices until the cumin seeds pop then add onion.

Cook the onion until soft, but not brown and add the ground tomato.

To this add 1 teaspoon, turmeric, coriander powder and garam masala. Add the onion and tomato mixture to the cooked red kidney beans.

Stir through and done and done!

Tomato and Mint Raita

1 1/2 cup yogurt

1/2 tomato diced

1 tablespoon ground mint (you can use fresh)

1 teaspoon salt

And for our vegetable we had the delightful bottle gourd. This was my first meeting with the bottle gourd and it went swimmingly if I do say so myself. Raw, the flesh has a taste that resembles a cucumber. It does cook way down. Cook double the amount that you want to end up serving.

Sautéed Bottle Gourd

Peel and cut the gourd into matchstick like pieces, julienned pieces.

Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in pan and add 1/2 Tbsp nigella seeds, 1/2 Tsp turmeric.

Add bottle gourd.

Toss, coating evenly with spices. Add 1 teaspoon salt, stir.  Cover and cook until done, not long about 7 minutes.

Then, the final stroke on this wonderful vegetarian meal were homemade rotis. The key to a soft roti is that after dry frying them in a pan is to roast them over an open flame until they puff up. Below is a show of video of us getting one to puff up perfectly on the stove. Enjoy!

Rotis Rising from Jennifer Dillon on Vimeo.


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