This dhaba style rajma masala had me hooked to it for its immense flavor and great taste. Serve it with some butter kulchas and you have an authentic Punjabi experience at home!
Dhaba style recipes are my favorite not only because they make me nostalgic, but also for the fact that they are loaded with fantastic flavors and have an extra edge to them! Same goes for my dhaba style rajma masala. I have made regular home-style rajma masala many a times but this dhaba style rajma masala has outweighed every other rajma recipe I have made till date. You will only believe me once you try it.
If you have been on the highways, there is high probability that you have already tasted the most authentic dhaba style rajma masala from one of the most authentic places; but if not then you must not miss making this at your home using my recipe which closely replicates the most authentic dhaba style rajma masala which you would generally get in highway dhabas.
If you are not a frequent traveler by road, you may be wondering what’s so special about dhaba style recipes! Dhabas i.e. the eateries situated along the highways are famous for serving freshly cooked food around the year with local flavors. If you are on a road trip in Southern India, you will find the freshest idlis and dosas along the highways; if you happen to be on the highways of North India, you will have the best ever dhaba style rajma masala or dhaba style paneer masala on offer served with freshly made tandoori roti or kulchas. Dhaba style food is so fresh and tasty that they will etch a permanent spot in your memory which is the very reason they make me nostalgic!
Now, let me quickly share some useful tips for cooking this rajma masala successfully. Boiling the dry rajma to its perfect doneness is the key to make a good rajma masala. Thanks to Yaman from Cooking Shooking YT channel, I have perfected my rajma game. You need to soak dry rajma i.e. kidney beans overnight, about 8 to 10 hours. Then pressure cook them on high flame until 4 whistles, then reduce the flame to minimum and let it cook for 10 minutes irrespective of number of whistles. Trust me, if you follow this, your rajma will be cooked to perfection every time – neither too mushy, nor too hard. Make this dhaba style rajma masala this festive season and delight your friends and family! Enjoy!
- Rajma – 250 gms
- Baking soda – a pinch (1/8 tsp)
- Hing/asafetida – a pinch (1/8 tsp)
- Onion – 3, large
- Tomato – 5, large
- Ghee (clarified butter) / oil – 4 tbsp
- Black cardamom – 2
- Clove – 6 to 8
- Cinnamon stick – 4-inch piece, broken into small pieces
- Black peppercorn – ½ tsp
- Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
- Ginger paste – 1 tbsp
- Garlic paste – 1 tbsp
- Cumin powder – 1 & ½ tsp
- Coriander powder – 1 & ½ tsp
- Garam masala – ½ tsp
- Kashmiri red chili powder – 1 & ½ tsp
- Sugar – 1 tsp
- Amchur powder (raw mango powder) – ½ tsp
- Salt to taste
- Freshly chopped coriander leaves – 1 cup
- Wash and soak the rajma in plain water for 8 to 10 hours, the more the better. After about 10 hours, we will cook the rajma using a pressure cooker.
- Add about a teaspoon of salt, a pinch of baking soda and enough water to keep all rajma immersed inside water, along with the rajma to a pressure cooker and tighten the lid. Keep the pressure cooker on high flame until 4 whistles; then lower the flame to minimum and let it cook for 10 more minutes. Then switch off the flame and let the cooker cool down and release all its pressure on its own.
- Chop and blend the tomatoes into a smooth puree. Chop the onions and blend them into a smooth puree too. Set them aside.
- Heat a kadhai and add ghee or oil to it. Once the oil is hot, temper it with hing, black cardamom, cloves, cinnamon sticks, peppercorn and cumin seeds. Let them crackle and become fragrant for few seconds.
- Then add the ginger and garlic paste. Sauté them on medium heat for couple of minutes or until the raw smell is gone.
- Next add the onion puree and cook it on medium flame for 10 minutes or until the onion has turned golden brown.
- Once the onion is nicely sautéed, add all the powdered spices – cumin powder, coriander powder, garam masala and red chili powder and mix everything well so that spices are evenly combined. Season with salt to taste. Sauté the spices on low flame for good 5 minutes or until the oil oozes out of the spice mixture.
- Then add the prepared tomato puree and sugar to balance the tartness of tomatoes. Stir well to mix them thoroughly with the spice mix to create a homogeneous mixture. Sauté the tomato puree for good 8 to 10 minutes on medium flame or until oil starts to separate and the puree has reduced to half in volume.
- Now is the time to add the cooked rajma. Carefully uncover the cooker lid ensuring all its pressure has released and add the cooked rajma along with all the liquid to the kadhai. But do check the doneness of rajma by pressing one between fingers; it should be soft but not mushy.
- Mix the rajma really well into curry and add 2 cups of water. The consistency of the curry will be watery at this stage. Bring the liquid to a boil, then lower the heat and cook covered for 20 minutes. The gravy will thicken and come to the desired consistency during the cooking process.
- After about 20 minutes, uncover the kadhai and add the final ingredient – the amchur powder for that dhaba style tangy kick to the rajma masala.
- Check the consistency of the gravy; if it’s too watery boil off some excess water. Check and adjust for seasoning if needed.
- Finally sprinkle the freshly chopped coriander leaves and serve the warm dhaba style rajma masala with plain hot rice. Enjoy!