rajma curry

Rajma (or kidney beans) curry has been a favorite of mine since childhood. Our mom used to and still makes it every Sunday for lunch. It’s almost like a vegetarian chilli. Rajma with chawal (rice) is the ultimate comfort food for me. There must be something about this combination of beans and rice that makes it so popular all over the world, although the flavorings are a little different everywhere. Red beans and rice is a traditional Monday dinner dish in Louisiana Creole cuisine. Cubans have something called Platillo Moros y Cristianos, which is a combination of rice and black beans. Koreans make Kongbap, but apparently it’s not very popular since it has long been a staple of Korean prison food! Countries in Latin America, Central America, the Caribbean, West Africa all have their own versions. Here’s mine!


  • Rajma or kidney beans, 1 cup
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, chopped
  • 1 green chilli, optional
  • Spices: Cumin seeds, red chilli powder, turmeric, coriander powder (optional: garam masala)
  • Oil and salt


1. Wash and soak the beans in water overnight. Quantity of water should be about 3-4 times the beans.

2. Drain the water used for soaking Pressure cook the beans along with the soaking water. It should take around 15-20 minutes.

3. Turn off the heat and once the pressure is gone, transfer the contents of the cooker into a separate bowl.

4. Rinse the cooker and put it back on the flame.

5. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and once the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds.

6. Let the seeds crackle, then add onions, ginger, garlic and green chilli.

7. Saute till the onions turn brown, then add the tomatoes.

8. Saute for 2-3 minutes and add the dry spices to taste.

9. Then add the boiled rajma back into the cooker and pressure cook again for 20 minutes or so. Although the rajma was already boiled, the second round of pressure cooking ensures that the spices, onions etc. are fully integrated and not merely floating around.  The exact time needed will depend on the quantity of beans and the make of your pressure cooker.  Basically, cook it till everything is properly combined. Another trick to amalgamate the mixture is to take out a few spoonfuls of boiled rajma, mash them and then add back to the cooker before cooking them for the second time.

10. Garnish with cilantro and eat with white basmati rice!

Kidney Beans on FoodistaKidney Beans

7 thoughts on “rajma curry

  1. Hey Anu!

    Loved surfing through your blog.. just a qucik observation.. many elders recommend not to drain the water one uses for soaking the rajma overnight.. they say that this water contains a lot of flavor and some water soluble minerals and vitamins of the rajma as well! 🙂

  2. Good ol’ rajma chawal…my favorite Sunday lunch.
    I make them a little differently: I puree the tomatoes which gives body to the curry, make the tadka/masala like you’ve explained, and add the soked rajma to it. Then pressure cook. Saves me time and effort. Ever tried it that way? It comes out as tasty! 🙂

  3. Hi C,

    Yes, occasionally I have pureed the tomatoes and onions, but somehow I feel the rajma becomes too thick that way. Or may be it’s just that my mom never purees them and I have sort of become used to the taste/texture of her rajma 🙂

    About pressure cooking once instead of twice, I have wondered why I and other people do it that way, instead of just doing it once. I always thought that may be the flavors don’t penetrate the beans as easily if you do it once. But, I will definitely try doing it your way and see if there is a difference in flavor.

    Thanks for the comment!

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