Red Kidney beans/Rajma pancakes, crispy outside, hearty at its soul, served with Tzatziki n tomato, green chili n how it suddenly makes pancakes healthy!
A few days ago when I was picking up rajma/ red kidney beans from the store I was whispering to myself ‘ this time I will do something completely new n delicious with rajma or I will just cook a good homely rajma curry if that doesn’t happen’ n I gladly announce I did the first one. My smile doesn’t fade writing this line J . Those red kidney bean pancakes were just not healthy, they tasted scrumptious and they shattered the idea that with rajma only a curry can be done like we find in north India as ‘Rajma Chawal’ or a salad of rajma. There is a now a new way and it leads to healthy pancakes full of protein. And the opportunities are only starting to open themselves, lots of new cooking is happening in my little kitchen.
So dear readers, no matter wherever you are, we are connected by the love for food n life n I want you to try this recipe when your hands are full of the red kidney beans. Here in India they are known as ‘Rajma’ in the Hindi speaking region and there is a very famous dish called ‘Rajma Chawal’ as I aforementioned, chawal is rice n so rajma chawal becomes a combined dish where a delicious rajma curry is served with white rice. This dish is very popular in the northern part of India where the rajma is cooked with tomatoes, ginger, garlic, onions, green chilies, basic spices like cinnamon, green cardamom, clove, bay leaf, coriander powder, cumin powder, the ingredients vary from place to place but in its basic structure it stays around what I mentioned.
Rajma found its way to the Indian subcontinent from Mexico, another great civilization, thorough the hands of the Portuguese. Today it is a staple food in Punjab where the combination of rajma and rice is just loved. It is said that some of the best rajmas are grown in Himachal Pradesh and Jammu, in fact the verities in Jammu are smaller in size than the ones grown in the plain and they a sweetish taste. In Jammu often rajma chawal is served with chutney of ‘Anardana’ which is dried pomegranate seeds.
Interestingly a similar structure is served thousands of miles away in New Orleans n Louisiana in the United states, where there is a classic Monday Creole dish of red beans n rice! The same combination of red beans n rice! In this case the red beans are cooked with vegetable like onion, bell pepper, celery, spices like thyme, cyanine pepper, bay leaf and pork bones and sometimes with ham n sausages. The red kidney beans are enjoyed very much over Latin America since this is the place where it comes from. Some of the much loved dishes here are ‘moros y cristianos’, ‘galo pinto’, ‘arroz con habichuelas’.
Now when cooking rajma, it is important to pre-soak the beans overnight for about 6-8 hours. You can cook the beans without this step but the pre-soaking is important because of another reason. The red beans contain a toxic phytohemagglutinin, pre-soaking n cooking the red beans at boiling point for at least 10 minutes is important to get rid of this toxic. Sometimes it is recommended to boil it for 30 minutes to completely destroy this toxic. So soak your rajmas, it is an easy step.
The pancakes bowled me over when I bite into it, the crunch outside, the subtle hint of the spices, the combination of the green chili n tomato, the yogurt dip, it was a dear delight. And you know what! It tastes great when cold, I mean this is so good to carry when going out to travel or work and they will taste amazing at normal temperature, which makes them even special.
While preparing the batter I used finely ground rice flour which gives it a beautiful flavor n crunch, rice flour doesn’t mute the flavor of other things like flour does. I added and egg which gives its flavor n its moisture. If you don’t have rice flour at all you can use flour or besan or corn flour. If you want you can skip the egg too and it will still be fine.
Okay so now let’s get to cooking n let me tell you the recipe. Here we go!
For The Recipe: you will need
Wait for it to get cold, try it after some hours and see how yummy it is. Bon appétit