Rajma (Kidney Bean Curry) Enchiladas


I recently took a trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico with my family to celebrate my father’s 70th birthday. While there, I consumed an insane amount of enchiladas and learned a lot about the local chiles.  If you eat authentic New Mexican food, you will most likely at first burn your tongue off (in a good way) because the chiles are super hot, but they also have a unique earthy & fruity flavor to them.  These chiles have a deep and dark reddish brown coloring to them.  I loved the flavor so much, I brought back some of the special New Mexican red chile powder from The Chile Shop.


I definitely recommend trying out New Mexican chile powder (and using it in this recipe), which differs from the more usual varieties like cayenne, ancho, pasilla and chipotle. The name of the chile powder I bought is called Dixon Medium Hot, which is hotter than the most commonly used New Mexican chile called Hatch.  You can find New Mexican chile powder in specialty markets or order it online.

It’s obvious New Mexicans are pretty serious about their chiles from the number of ristras, dried chili bunches, hanging all over the place.


This recipe is actually one of my favorites that I’ve been dying to share on the site, but this was the first time I made the sauce with real New Mexican chiles. It’s essentially a Mexican-Indian enchilada, corn tortilla filled with rajma, a North Indian kidney bean curry and baked with enchilada sauce (recipe below courtesy of The Chile Shop in Santa Fe) and cheese.  Rajma is kind of like the lesser known, but just as delicious, relative to channa masala, that’s made with kidney beans instead of chickpeas.  I like to make my rajma with spinach too.  This enchilada recipe is a hearty one for vegetarians and you can omit the cheese if you are vegan.


I’ve been really into this Mexican-Indian theme for quite some time and used to run a supper club called Masala Loca with my friend Sabra who now runs Skytown in Bushwick.  Sabra is half-Mexican so we had a lot of fun combining our family recipes from Mexico and India together and found there was a ton of overlap of ingredients. The two cuisines come together really well and have a lot of complementary flavors.  This is a photo of some Indian tamales we created together, one filled with tamarind chutney and white cheese and the other filled with mustard greens & ramps curry and jack cheese with butter masala sauce and mint chutney on the side.  If you’re interested to see more of the Mexican-Indian foods and events I’ve done in the past go here.


From making enchiladas quite a bit, I’ve figured out some tricks so you don’t end up with soggy enchiladas.  You just need to do a few things to make this happen: use corn tortillas, fry the tortillas lightly and lightly dip them into warm enchilada sauce before filling and putting in a greased pan. The oil acts as a barrier to the sauce so they don’t start to break up apart.

This recipe is really versatile in that you can make some of the parts of it beforehand and assemble the enchiladas on another day.  In the past, I’ve also stuffed them with a variety of different Indian curries like potato and paneer & swiss chard and served them with different chutneys on top like coconut.

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  • http://indiaphile.info/ Puja @ Indiaphile.info

    I love rajma and enchiladas separately. Absolutely love the idea of combining them! …And adding Hatch chili powder? Sounds delicious!! :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12848607535028028212 dhiraj

    I have tried this & it’s an awesome dish !! I loved the ‘Indian Recipes cooking show’, ‘Indian Cooking Recipe’, ‘Indian Cooking’

  • Bob

    I tried this recipe out today and I must say, it works. And how. I made two substitutions to avoid a visit to the store. I used black beans instead of kidney beans (it is what I had), and had no spinach but did have and used swiss chard from my garden. I used queso Chihuahua for the cheese. As most New Mexicans, I have red or green chile readily available (just bought and peeled 90 lbs of freshly roasted on Wednesday, this past week).