by Rick Stein

A vegetarian kidney bean curry from my journey through India. One of the surprising things I discovered when I was staying, I have to confess, in nice hotels, was that the cooking in such places was actually very good, even the buffets, where you are presented with, say, twenty curries, the majority of them vegetarian. Rajma would be included in the buffet of every one of those hotels in the north of India, and with dishes like these I would have no problem being a vegetarian.

This meal, if served as eight portions, provides 221kcal, 11g protein, 24g carbohydrate (of which 5g sugars), 7g fat (of which 1.5g saturates), 10g fibre and 0.7g salt.

Side dishes


Soak dried kidney beans for at least eight hours before draining and rinsing the beans (discard the soaking water). To speed up the soaking process, add a teaspoonful of bicarbonate of soda to the soaking water. Alternatively, bring the beans to the boil in a pan, then turn the heat off and soak the beans for about an hour, covered.

To cook, place the soaked kidney beans in a pan and cover with a fresh change of cold water, then bring to the boil. The beans must boil for ten minutes to destroy the toxin. After this, simmer until cooked (approximately 45 to 60 minutes), when they should have an even, creamy texture throughout. If the centre is still hard and white after this time, they require more cooking. Do not add salt when cooking kidney beans, as it toughens their skins. Allow about 55g/2oz dried weight per person: once soaked and cooked the beans will at least double in weight.

Rinse canned kidney beans thoroughly in a colander as they're often stored in sweetened or salted water whose flavour will overpower your cooking.