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Rajma: Beans in a North Indian Style


Rancho Gordo Cooking Main Dishes Recipe for Rajma: Beans in a North Indian Style made with our dried heirloom beans including Eye of the Goat Beans, Red Nightfall Beans, Sangre de Toro Beans, Moro Beans or Ayocote Morado Beans

My Annoying Opinions is the blog of a Minnesota-based teacher; it started out as a whisky blog but is increasingly branching out into restaurant reviews and recipes. I’ve known the author, an intriguing but anonymous international man of mystery, for years. He is, in fact, incredibly annoying but also very talented and funny, and if you tell him I said this, I’ll give you such a pinch!



  • 1 lb Rancho Gordo Eye of the Goat, Red Nightfall, Sangre de Toro, Moro, or Ayocote Morado Beans cleaned and soaked overnight with three inches of water covering the beans.
  • 1 large piece of cassia bark (or a cinnamon stick)
  • 4-5 pods of small green cardamom
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 1 dried cassia leaf (I used a fresh bay leaf on this occasion as I have a bunch to go through from my now dead garden)
  • 1 medium red onion: chopped
  • 3/4 tsp garlic
  • 3/4 tsp fresh ginger root
  1. pound the ginger and garlic to a paste together in a mortar
The following ground together in a spice grinder (no need to roast anything first):


  • 1 very small pinch of fenugreek seeds (very bitter so don’t overdo it)
  • 1 small pinch of black mustard seeds
  • 1-3 dried red chillies (depending on how hot you want the result to be) or 1/3-1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp powdered turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 pinch of white peppercorns
  • 1 small pinch of aniseed (or fennel seeds)
  • 1/3 tspn amchur (dried mango powder)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste or equivalent chopped tomatoes (a cup?)
  • 1 tspn sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • Vegetable oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons of chopped cilantro for garnish (optional; I left it off this time because we unaccountably had none in the fridge)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of chopped raw onion for garnish (optional)
  • 1 minced Thai green chilli or similar for garnish (optional; serrano and jalapeno are not appropriate substitutes)
  1. Place the soaked beans in a medium pot, cover with 2-3 inches of water and bring to a rapid boil over high heat. Keep at a rapid boil for about 10 minutes, then add enough water to keep the beans covered with at least 2-3 inches of water, cover the pot and simmer till almost done. Almost done is when you can bite through a bean with just a bit of resistance and no raw bean flavour (this will happen shockingly fast with Rancho Gordo beans). At this point lower the heat further and keep simmering while you move to the next step.


  2. Heat oil in a skillet and add the cassia or bay leaf, the whole cardamoms, cloves and the cassia bark. Stir for a couple of minutes over medium heat till they become nice and fragrant (and if the cassia bark was curled to begin with it will begin to uncurl).


  3. Now add the chopped onion and saute over medium-high heat till it just begins to brown on the edge.


  4. Then add the ginger-garlic paste and continue to saute till the fragrance loses the raw edge.


  5. Add the powdered spices, reduce heat to medium and saute for a minute or so being careful not to let the spices burn. (It’s not a bad idea to turn an overhead exhaust fan on at this point.)


  6. Then add the tomato paste, sugar and salt and stir till well mixed. Add a ladleful or two of the beans’ pot liquor to the pan to get the tomato paste to not stick but don’t let it all get too thin. If using chopped tomatoes saute till they completely cook down.


  7. Once you see oil separating in the pan pour the contents into the bean pot and mix thoroughly. This is also the time to add more water to the pot if necessary. Raise the heat to get a strong simmer going, lower again to a gentle simmer, cover and cook till the beans are done (perfectly tender but holding their shape—this is another reason to use Rancho Gordo beans). When finished the top layer of the beans should be just visible over the surface of the sauce.


  8. Transfer to a serving dish, add garnish if you like and serve with either steamed white rice or chapatis (good whole wheat tortillas are an inadequate but not entirely implausible substitute).


(Photo stolen from My Annoying Opinions and touched up in Photoshop without any kind of permission!)

Basic Instructions for Cooking Beans in The Rancho Gordo Manner


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