Madra Rajma also called Pahadi Rajma is a traditional legume and curd-based dish from the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. What makes it special is its unique blend of spices like cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, and cinnamon, which along with the ingredients like curd gives it distinct flavor and aroma.
Madra rajma uses yogurt as its base for the boiled beans, which gives it a tangy and slightly sour taste. This is in contrast to other rajma recipes, which usually use tomato and are spiced with garam masala.
The dish is typically made with ghee, a type of clarified butter, which adds richness and depth of flavor to the dish. This dish finds it place in the food items served in “Dhaam”, which is a traditional feast celebrated in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu region.
Various Rajma Dishes in Indian Cuisine
Rajma, also known as kidney beans, is a popular legume quite often used in Indian cuisine. It is available in two varieties, red and white, with the red variety being more commonly used in Indian cooking. Besides this there are variations in shape. The Himachal version of rajma is smaller in size.
Besides Rajma madra, which is a Rajma recipe specific to Indian hilly regions of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu, there are many other popular variations of Rajma based dishes –
- Punjabi rajma masala is a spicier version and most popular and widespread. It includes more spices such as garam masala, coriander powder, cumin powder, and red chili powder along with tomato.
- Kashmiri rajma includes ingredients such as fennel seeds, ginger powder, and asafetida, giving it a unique flavor. It also uses a dark read variant of rajma grown in Kashmir.
- With increasing popularity, rajma recipes can now be found with a dash of south Indian flavors. Though not traditionally a South Indian dish, there are certain ways to incorporate the flavors and ingredients of South India to create a delicious variation. These include use of a coconut-based sauce but more common is to add South Indian spices like curry leaves, mustard seeds, and fenugreek, to the tomato-based sauce.
Rajma is a delicious as well as nutritious dish. It is a great source of protein, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals and many bioactive plant compounds.
Kidney beans are considered to be one of the richest plant-based sources of protein, making it a nutritious addition to any balanced diet.
Some handy tips for making this recipe
Below I have listed down a few things to keep in mind while preparing this recipe to make it more appealing and enjoyable –
- Soak the rajma (kidney beans) overnight in water. This helps to reduce cooking time and ensures that they cook evenly. This is also helpful to remove any dirt from the beans. Hollow or damaged beans float to the top.
- Pressure cooking is the best method to cook the kidney bean. It cooks the rajma quickly and evenly resulting in a soft and creamy texture.
- Use full fat yogurt / curd for this dish. This is needed as the curd should not split while making this recipe. It also adds richness and creaminess to the dish. Non-fat yogurt, may make the dish’s consistency thin.
- Add a little bit of rice flour and spices to the curd, then add it to the pan at low flame, and then stir continuously till you get a boil, to ensure that the curd doesn’t split.
- Cook the madra rajma on low heat as this allows the flavors to develop and mingle with the beans.
The dish is best enjoyed with steaming hot rice, naan bread or roti. When mixed with rice, the rice soaks up the delicious gravy adding making it more delicious and enjoyable. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves for giving flavor, freshness and color to the dish.
Serve the dish with a side of raita and a fresh salad of sliced onions, cucumbers, and tomatoes dressed with lime juice and salt to balance out the richness of the dish.
The dish tastes best when freshly prepared and served hot. However, one can eat it up to 2 days after preparation and storage in a fridge.
To make rajma madra at home follow the detailed step by step recipe with photos posted below.
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Rajma Madra Recipe | Himachali Madra
Ingredients For Rajma Madra Recipe | Himachali Madra
- 1 Cup Rajma (Red Kidney Beans)
- 1 Cups Plain Curd (Yogurt)
- 1 Teaspoon Rice Flour
- 1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder (Haldi)
- 1 Teaspoon Coriander Powder (Dhaniya Powder)
- 1/4 Teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Ginger Powder (Saunth)
- 3/4 Teaspoon Fennel Powder (Saunf Powder)
- 1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper Powder (Kali Mirch)
- 2 Tablespoons Desi Ghee
- 2 Whole Dried Red Chillies
- 1 Bay Leaf (Tej Patta)
- 3 Laung (Cloves)
- 3 Green Cardamom (Hari Elaichi)
- 2 Black Cardamom (Badi Elaichi)
- 1 Inch Dalchini (Cinnamon Stick)
- 1 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds (Jeera)
- 2 Teaspoons Salt
- 1/4 Teaspoon Kasoori Methi (Dried Fenugreek Leaves)
Step By Step Instructions for Rajma Madra Recipe | Himachali Madra
- Soak the rajma overnight or for 6-8 hours. Then add the rajma to a pressure cooker with just enough water to cover the rajma along with 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook them on high heat till you get 1 whistle, then cook on low heat for 30 mins.1 Cup Rajma (Red Kidney Beans)
- Beat curd along with some 2 tablespoons water in a bowl.1 Cups Plain Curd (Yogurt)
- Add rice flour, turmeric powder, coriander powder, red chilli powder, dried ginger powder, fennel powder and crushed black pepper to the curd.1 Teaspoon Rice Flour, 1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder (Haldi), 1 Teaspoon Coriander Powder (Dhaniya Powder), 1/4 Teaspoon Red Chilli Powder, 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Ginger Powder (Saunth), 3/4 Teaspoon Fennel Powder (Saunf Powder), 1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper Powder (Kali Mirch)
- Mix all the spices well with the curd.
- Heat desi ghee in a pan. Add dried red chillies, bay leaf, cloves, green cardamom, black cardamom, cinnamon stick and cumin seeds. Fry them on medium heat for a few seconds till the cumin seeds start to crackle.2 Tablespoons Desi Ghee, 2 Whole Dried Red Chillies, 1 Bay Leaf (Tej Patta), 3 Laung (Cloves), 3 Green Cardamom (Hari Elaichi), 2 Black Cardamom (Badi Elaichi), 1 Inch Dalchini (Cinnamon Stick), 1 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds (Jeera)
- Then turn the heat to low and add the prepared curd mixture.
- Stir continuously and cook on medium heat till you get a boil and the ghee starts to float on the top. Then add salt and mix well.
- Add the boiled rajma to the prepared gravy.
- Also add some crushed dry fenugreek leaves.1/4 Teaspoon Kasoori Methi (Dried Fenugreek Leaves)
- Mix well. You can add some water to adjust the consistency.
- Rajma Madra is ready. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with rice or roti.
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