Punjabi Rajma Recipe ~ My Wonderful Neighbour Sulakshana Arora

by on October 12, 2010

Sometimes you do things because you believe in them. And sometimes because others believe that you can do them. You are lucky when you find people who believe in you, who inspire you, who prod you on to achieve and excel. Such is my relationship with Sulakshanaji Arora – a true friend I have made in this lane in Mylapore where I live.


Punjabi Recipe

Serene and content, my friend Sulakshanaji (photo by Srivatsa)

A simple and unassuming person, Sulakshanaji believes in good and healthy routines. She wakes up at 4.30 am every morning, does pranayama from 5 -7 am, watches Sanskaar TV – Baba Ramdev from 8 – 8.30 am. Come 5 pm every evening, and you can be sure to catch up on your walk with her as she takes off to the park briskly, making friends all the way with her pleasant and cheerful disposition. What probably drew us together was our penchant for reading. Being avid readers, we are always exchanging books and our impressions about the books we read. She is so well-informed that being with her is always enlightening and enjoyable. Except for the fact that I add the ‘JI’ as a mark of respect to her name, I have no other awareness of our age difference of two decades.


Another amazing quality of Sulakshanaji is her knowledge and belief in home remedies. I must confess she knows more about the plants and trees that grow in my building than I do! For almost any ailment you may be suffering from, she will pull out of her bag of knowledge a home remedy, or a simple exercise. One thing you can be assured of is that she will find you a solution – and one that works.


Dependable neighbour & friend Sulakshana Arora

Sulakshana Arora – like one of those yesteryears film heroines!

Her younger daughter Shivani is a freelance journalist and helped find this lovely photograph of her mom. She also insisted that her mom’s Rajma recipe is the best.

Rajma Recipe ~ Punjabi Recipe from the kitchen of Sulakshana Arora

Cooking comes easily to Sulakshanaji her and among many of the delicacies that I’ve had the pleasure of tasting over the years, the one I relish most is her “thetth” Punjabi Rajma (red kidney beans), a dish she and her husband have mastered to perfection. Simply delicious!


Rajma Recipe ~ Punjabi side dish

Rajma ki Sabzi from the kitchen of Sulakshanaji Arora


  • Rajma (Choose the pink rather than the dark red variety), 2 cups
  • Onions, 2 large
  • Tomatoes, 2 large
  • Garlic, 8-10 cloves
  • Ghee, 1 ladle (2 tbsps)
  • Red chilli powder, 1-2 tsps
  • Turmeric powder, a pinch
  • Coriander powder, 1 heaped tbsp
  • Cumin powder, ½ tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Garam masala (powder), 1 pinch


  1. Soak the Rajma in water overnight.
  2. Make a paste by grinding together the chopped onions, tomatoes & garlic.
  3. Heat the ghee in a pressure cooker. Add the paste and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Add the soaked rajma along with the chilli, turmeric, coriander & cumin powders and salt & sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add enough warm water (almost 1 litre) and allow to pressure cook. When the whistle hisses the first time, reduce flame and allow to cook for another half hour. Switch off flame.
  4. When all the steam is released from the cooker, open lid and check if the rajma is well done and soft. Add the garam masala now. The consistency of the gravy should be thin rather than thick.
  5. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and relish with steamed rice.

And yes, before I forget, what is a must in the Arora home when Rajma is cooked is onion salad. Simply chop some onions, soak them in water for 10 minutes, drain, add salt, chilli powder and a dash of vinegar. Allow to marinate for half an hour. Enjoy as an accompaniment with the delicious Rajma & steamed rice.


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