Kidney beans (razma in Kashmiri, rajma in Punjabi/Hindi) and turnips (gogji in Kashmiri, gonglu in Punjabi, shalgam in Hindi) are two beloved ingredients of the Himalayan people. In Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, turnips are one of the few veggies available in winter, besides potatoes. They are stored in pits under the snow-covered soil.
The region also produces some of the creamiest and most flavourful varieties of beans you will find anywhere.
Read the eulogy to Kashmiri rajma (red kidney beans) HERE.
Did you know? Uncooked kidney beans are poisonous. They contain phytohaemagglutinin, a toxic lectin found in plants, especially beans. While this toxin is found in a whole range of beans like soybeans, broad beans and fava beans in varying quantities, the highest concentration is found in red kidney beans and white kidney beans, also called cannellini beans.
They need to be BOILED for atleast 10 minutes to be safe. Eating just five raw kidney beans can cause severe reactions within three hours, beginning with nausea then vomiting which can be severe and sustained (profuse), then diarrhea. Recovery occurs within four or five hours of onset, usually without the need for any medical intervention. (More about kidney bean poisoning here)
Kidney beans must not be sprouted. They should be soaked for atleast eight hours, after which they should be rinsed, and cooked in fresh water until soft and creamy throughout.
Koshur Saal, infact, has two recipes for Gogji Rajma – a Jammu version, and the Kashmiri version (scroll down on the same link).
Comparing the Kashmiri versions on the two websites with the Jammu version, one discerns how pared down and simple the Kashmiri version is, with just a few spices. The Jammu version, on the other hand has onions, garlic, ginger and tomatoes – more like a Punjabi version, with Kashmiri spices like ginger and fennel powders.
We attempted the latter here and since we love both kidney beans and turnips, we enjoyed this dish. We would like to try the Kashmiri version with vari masala next.
Gogji Razma, Jammu style
from Koshur Saal
1 cup red kidney beans
1 tsp. chili (cayenne) powder (we used Kashmiri chilli powder)
½ tsp fennel powder
½ tsp ginger powder
2 turnips cut into big chunks
2 cups chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp of chopped ginger
3 cups chopped tomatoes
½ tsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp of oil
salt to taste
3 cups water
1. Soak kidney beans overnight and cook with 3 cups of water until soft with some salt (3 to 4 whistles if using a pressure cooker).
2. Heat the oil in a pan. To it, add cumin, then chopped onions, ginger and garlic. Fry for 3 to 4 minutes, then add tomatoes and salt and fry until the mixture dries up and starts releasing oil.
3. Add chilli powder, fennel powder and ginger powder, along with the turnips, and onion-tomato mixture to the kidney beans.
4. Cook until the turnips are done. Add more water if needed.
Traditionally served with short-grained white rice. ( … don’t tell the Kashmiri this, but it tastes even better on pizza, with some fontina cheese)