red kidney beans

Common name: rajma

Botanical name: Phaseolus vulgaris

This bean is shaped like a kidney with a reddish brown colour and a thick skin. It has a strong flavour with a slightly sweet aftertaste, a nutty aroma and a chewy texture. The kidney bean is very popular in Punjabi cuisine.

Kidney beans are low in fat and loaded with nutrients, but they also have flatulence-causing enzymes. Changing the water several times whilst soaking will make them easier to digest. Using turmeric and asafoetida in the cooking process can also help.

Raw kidney beans contain high amounts of phytohemagglutinin, making them toxic if not pre-soaked and then heated to boiling point for at least 30 minutes. Cooking at 80C, such as in a slow cooker, can make it worse and concentrate the toxin. Canned red kidney beans are safe to use immediately because of the cooking and canning process.

Red kidney beans are available from good supermarkets, Indian grocers and health food stores. Always rinse and sort beans before cooking to remove stones and other debris.

Store dry kidney beans in a dry airtight container at room temperature.

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