Sunday, August 25, 2013

Recipe of the month: Rajma Cheese Paratha

I must have already professed my undying love for aloo parathas in an earlier recipe post. I do also enjoy gobhi parathas and matar paneer parathas but there is another paratha that is a contender for my affection. This is the not-so-common and somewhat unconventional 'Rajma Cheese Paratha'. This paratha has a filling which is a combination of kidney beans, cheese and spring onions which makes for a surprisingly delightful combination. 

Several years ago, I bought a cookbook by Tarla Dalal which was dedicated to parathas. I still have that book with me and it is stashed along with my other cookbooks on a kitchen shelf. I haven't tried out all the recipes from this book but one of the first ones that I did try and really liked was this rajma cheese paratha. I have been making this paratha for a really long time and it is one of my go-to recipes when I'm in the mood for parathas other than the usual aloo, gobhi or paneer and also when I feel like eating something a bit more healthy and less indulgent. 

This paratha is not only delicious but nutritious as well. Incorporating kidney beans and cheese into a whole wheat paratha, fortifies the dish with protein, carbs and fat. If you are worried about the cheese being in there, just go for a low-fat option. The addition of cheese imparts a creamy texture to the paratha so I wouldn't recommend skipping it.

To be honest, earlier, my paratha making skills were quite abysmal. I would make two individual small chapatis, place the filling on top of one, smear the edges with a little water, place the second chapati over the top, seal the edges and roll until the desired size is reached. After I got a little more experience making parathas and my confidence grew, I made it the usual way by place the filling in the centre of one dough circle, gathering the edges to enclose the filling and rolling it into the desired size. This recipe yields a filling that is quite dry so unlike with other parathas, you won't struggle with the problems that arise from the filling being too moist. 

I already had a draft ready for this recipe but I delayed posting it because I was unhappy with how the photos turned out. It was just one of those days when the weather decided to screw me over! I have too many other recipes on my cooking radar so I didn't foresee a time when I'll be making these parathas again any time soon. That's my excuse for you being stuck with the original crappy photos!

Update: I have re-posted the pictures in this post but by another stroke of horrible luck, the weather decided to screw me over again! Oh well! 

Rajma Cheese Paratha

Preparation time: ~40 min; Cooking time: 2-4 mins per paratha
Makes: 10-12 paratha
Serves: 4
Recipe category: Main Course/North Indian
Recipe level: Easy
Recipe source: Tarla Dalal's Paratha cookbook


For the dough:
3 cups whole wheat flour (gehun ka atta)
1 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
Use cooking water from rajma to make the dough

For the rajma filling:
1 cup red kidney beans (rajma), soaked overnight (or you can use canned beans)
1 cup (~roughly 1 large) chopped red onions
2 green chillies, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped/crushed
2 cup (~roughly 2 large) chopped tomatoes
1/4 to 1/2 tsp chilli powder, adjust according to spice level
1 tsp roasted cumin (jeera) powder
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp oil
Salt to taste

Other ingredients:
1 large bunch or 1 cup spring onions with greens, finely chopped
1 cup grated processed cheese, preferably low-fat
Oil or ghee as required for cooking the parathas


For the rajma filling:

1. Remember that the kidney beans (rajma) needs to be soaked overnight unless you are using canned kidney beans (refer notes below on using canned beans)

2. Combine the rajma, tomatoes, garlic, green chillies, half of the onions and a dash of ghee (optional) with 1-2 cups of water and pressure cook till the rajma is overcooked. Keep aside the drained water.

3. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan, add the remaining onions and sauté till the onions are translucent

4. Add the rajma mixture, chilli powder, cumin powder, sugar, butter and salt (add less keeping in mind the cheese)

5. Mash the rajma in the mixture so that there are no large chunks and continue to cook for 5-10 minutes until all the moisture is evaporated

6. If the mixture is too dry, add the drained water and mix well.

7. Keep aside to cool completely. When ready, the filling should be able to come together as a ball. Make 10-12 balls from the filling.

For the dough:

1. Combine all the ingredients and knead into a soft dough using the cooking liquid from the rajma while it is still hot

2. Cover the dough with cling wrap or a damp towel and let it sit for 20-30 min

3. Divide the dough into 10-12 equal portions

How to proceed:

1. Keep the dough balls and filling balls ready. Place the spring onion greens in a bowl. Grate the cheese in a separate bowl. Keep some flour to dust ready.

2. Roll out a dough ball into a small chapati on a dry and flour dusted surface and flatten the rajma filling in the centre of the chapati. Sprinkle 1 tbsp of grated cheese and some spring onion greens on top.

3. Bring in all sides of the chapati towards the centre to enclose the filling, pinch off the excess dough and roll out into a paratha of uniform thickness. Dust with flour if the paratha sticks to the rolling board.

4. Place a pan on medium-high heat. When hot, cook the paratha on both sides, using a little oil/ghee till they have brown spots.

5. Serve hot with any pickle or chutney of your choice, butter and plain yogurt (if desired)

  • If you decide to use canned kidney beans, you can fry the rest of the rajma filling ingredients, add the kidney beans and mix until all the ingredients come together. Mash the kidney beans, cool  the filling and proceed as described
  • The chapati dough needs to be firm and non-sticky so it will be easier to roll
  • If you have whole kidney beans in the mixture, it can tear the paratha while you are rolling
  • Make sure that the filling has cooled down thoroughly before rolling out the parathas
  • If you find that the filling is too soggy, you can microwave it for a few minutes. This removes any residual moisture from the filling
  • You can use the water that was used to cook the rajma to make chapati dough, stews or soups. Freeze if you have leftover cooking water and use later



  1. Looks delicious Megha. Now im hungry at work ! :)

  2. Very interesting combination! Will try it soon :).

  3. We made this a couple times after come back from India, Prithvi in particular liked it :) Thanks for adding another option to our paratha arsenal :D


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