Cannellini beans with spinach and sundried tomatoes Photograph by Gloria Cabada-Leman/Flickr
There’s a lot of confusion around the types of beans we have in India. If you head out to your local grocer’s this week, you’ll find these white kidney beans in season. They are not called chawli or lobhia or avarekai or butter beans. Just ask for white rajma, which are better known as cannellini beans in the West. The shell is pale white with spots of pink and the beans are the thinner variety of the red rajma. One of the reasons why we love cooking rajma, the traditional Punjabi curry, with these fresh, thin-skinned, white kidney beans is because the prep time is reduced by half. You don’t need to soak these beans overnight (the dried kind need to be soaked) or a couple of hours even and then agonise over how long they’ll take to cook in the pressure cooker. Five whistles in the cooker and the white kidney beans are ready to be cooked with the ginger-garlic flavoured tomato purée and served with rice or roti.
Ask your grocer for white rajma
Besides being a fantastic source of protein, these beans are known to be great for the heart because of their vitamin B9 content, which increases folic acid levels, and are also add fibre to your diet. Cannellini beans are a popular addition to salads and soups. Here’s more inspiration from around the world for dishes that use white kidney beans.