Navy beans 'ragda'

Ragda is a street pea soup from Mumbai. I was inspired to make it with Navy beans for 2 reasons - I was out of the dry peas to make the traditional ragda and I happened to be reading about navy beans. Did you know why they are called so? They were fed (and probably still are) to the US Navy - because in short, they are the leanest beans - with the highest protein to fat ratio, so packed with tons of protein and has almost no fat.

Ragda is served with either local bread warmed with butter, or that plus potato cutlets topped with chopped onion, chopped cilantro, fine sev (you can find this in the Indian store), tamarind chutney and garlic chutney.

-I make a cranberry chutney instead of the tamarind and freeze ahead.
-I also make the cutlets in large quantities and freeze. The base for the cutlets is potato, onion, garlic, ginger, green chilly, salt, turmeric pwd, lemon juice, and salt. Depending on what I have at hand I sometimes throw in flax meal, shredded carrots, or wheat germ - just to add in more health ingredients that I have trouble eating otherwise.
-I didnt make garlic chutney this time, but if you want to, blend garlic with salt, red chilly pwd and cumin seeds and a little water and thats it. Adjust the red chilly pwd to taste.

For the Ragda I took
- 1 cup navy beans soaked for few hrs
- 1 large tomato
- half a large onion
- 2 garlic pods
- 2 green chilly finely chopped
- half inch chunk of ginger
- few curry leaves
-1 tsp mustard, 1/2 tsp turmeric pwd, 1 tsp red chilly pwd, 1 tsp corriander pwd, pinch of asafoetida, 1 tsp of dry mango pwd (you can skip if you dont have this)
- salt and lemon juice to taste
- 1.5 tbsp oil

Heat the oil in a pressure cooker, add in mustard seeds, and wait for them to sputter.
Now reduce the flame, add in asafoetida, turmeric, red chilly pwd, mango pwd and corriander pwd. Then add a blended mixture of the tomato, onion, ginger, garlic along with curry leaves and green chilly. Cook this till its lost most of its moisture and becomes a lump that rolls off easily.
Now add in the navy beans, water - enough to cover the beans and another inch above them. And the salt and pressure cook this for 3 whistles. Add the lemon juice before serving.

And there you have it.

Serve it with the condiments:

Then dunk the cutlet in the ragda, along with everything else and enjoy a hot, hearty, savory meal.

I sometimes have left over cutlets as a chaat. Chaat is an Indian savory salad of any kind that usually has potato, onion, cilantro and the chutneys, but throw in whatever else you think makes sense. Some ideas - grapes, yogurt dressing, shredded carrots, purple cabbage, parsley, boiled chickpeas, etc.


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