Rajma Masala | Healthy and Delicious Kidney Bean Curry

Rajma is one of my favorite dishes and what I qualify as a comfort food. It is made with kidney beans, spices, tomatoes, onion and a big appetite, cause you are not going to stop in one mouthful.

Growing up in a South Indian household, I had limited to no access to this tasty dish. Once I moved out of home to pursue my higher studies and had to learn how to cook to save some money, I came across the recipe. Thus, began the dawn of delicious rajma in my kitchen. Don’t just take my word for it, if you haven’t tried the recipe before. Rajma is loved by majority of people whose path crosses it.

One pro tip I would highly recommend anyone making rajma would be to make little more extra than you normally would. Rajma has this unique characteristic of tasting even better the next day. The kidney beans absorbs all the spices and the flavor of the curry and the beans are elevated to the next level.

Rajma Masala

There are multiple ways of cooking rajma. My cooking method involves making onion-tomato masala before adding the pre-soaked rajma and cooking it in pressure cooker for 15 minutes.

Rajma Masala:

Serving Size: 4 | Cuisine: India, Nepal

Prep Time: 8 hours | Cooking Time: 40 minutes | Total Time: 8 hours 40 minutes


For soaking:

  • Kidney beans (rajma) - red or brown - 1 cup (Tip: Use fresh beans as it cooks faster)

  • Water - 2 cups (Tip: Make sure the kidney beans are completely soaked in water)

For the masala:

  • Vegetable oil - 1 tablespoon

  • Butter - 1 tablespoon (Optional. Avoid this to keep it vegan.)

  • Red onion - 1 large - minced

  • Tomato - 2 large - minced

  • Green chillies - 2 medium sized - minced

  • Ginger and garlic paste - 1 tablespoon

  • Cumin (jeera) - 1/2 teaspoon

  • Asafoetida (hing) - 1 pinch (Optional. It is used for enhancing flavor and as a digestive aid.)

  • Red chili powder - 1/4 teaspoon

  • Turmeric powder - 1/8 teaspoon

  • Coriander powder - 1/2 teaspoon

  • Garam masala - 1/2 teaspoon

  • Kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves) - 1/4 teaspoon

  • Lime wedges (for garnish) - 2

  • Coriander or cilantro - 1 tablespoon - chopped

  • Salt as required


  1. Soak the kidney beans for 8 hours or overnight in 2 cups of water. Keep it aside.

  2. Add oil and butter to a pressure cooker in medium flame and add the cumin. Let it slightly brown.

  3. Add the diced onion and ginger garlic paste to the pot. Sauté the onions for a minute and cook until caramelized. Don't let it burn.

  4. Add the minced tomato and cook for another 5 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft.

  5. Add red chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, garam masala, asafoetida (hing) and salt as required. Cook until the oil separates the gravy.

  6. Drain the pre-soaked kidney beans and add the beans to the prepared gravy.

  7. Add two cups of water and pressure cook it for 15 minutes in medium flame. If the beans are not fully cooked, cook for another 10 minutes.

  8. Mash the beans using a fork to check if its fully cooked. (You can cook the beans without a pressure cooker. Cover the pot and cook it in medium flame for additional 45 minutes.)

  9. Add dry fenugreek leaves or kasuri methi. Garnish with coriander and lime wedges.

  10. Serve with hot basmati rice or roti or naan.


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