Rajma masala or red kidney beans curry is one of the most famous North Indian curries. It is a protein-packed delicious vegan meal. Paired with rice or bread, this dish is one of the most comforting Indian meals.
Red kidney beans are cooked with onions, tomatoes and a few Indian spices. This kidney bean curry is a perfect example of North Indian home cooking. The spices are not overpowering, but they provide an awesome base for this super flavorful curry.
In North India, Sunday special veg lunches always consist of rajma or chole. After all, they are the most popular curries. Rajma chawal is the most popular comfort food or maa ke hath ka khana (mother's cooked food). This combination is the most popular vegetarian combo besides chole chawal.
What is Rajma?
Rajma is the Hindi name for red kidney beans. Rajma Masala is the kidney beans curry .There are several types of kidney beans in a store. There are small red rajma, big maroon coloures rajma, light colour rajma or rajma with different patches on them.
Growing up, sometimes I have seen my mom use chitranna rajma. It was light in color and had some patches. When I started cooking, I tried making them with small red rajma. They all taste delicious, and it doesn't matter which ones you use.
What Ingredients are Needed for Making Rajma Masala?
Rajma/Kidney Beans: You can easily get them in almost every grocery store. Overnight-soaked dry kidney beans taste delicious when they are cooked with tomatoes, onions, and spices. The texture of kidney beans become absolutely melt-in-the-mouth. However, you can always use canned kidney beans for your convenience. Drain all the liquid you have in the can and wash them properly with running cold water.
Tomato and Tomato Puree: I prefer to use a combination of chopped tomatoes and tomato puree. That gives a wonderful base for the curry.
Onions- I prefer to use red onions for my Indian curries, the reason being they give a wonderful taste and texture to the gravy. Furthermore, they don't sweeten the curry more than required.
Kashmiri Red Chili Powder: They provide a rich red color to the curry without adding too much spiciness. You can use any other red chili powder like paprika as well.
Garam Masala Powder
Dry Red Chili
Grated Fresh Ginger
How to Make Rajma Masala in the Instant Pot-
Turn the Sauté button of the Instant pot on. Add oil to it. When it says hot, add cumin seeds, dry red chili, and bay leaves to it. Let them crackle. Now, add chopped onions to it. Sauté them for 1-2 minutes. Add all the dry spice powders and stir them once. After that, add ginger-garlic paste till the raw smell is gone.
Add chopped tomatoes and tomato puree at this time. Make a wonderful spice mix by stirring it continuously. If you feel like it's sticking to the bottom, add one or two tbsps of water to it. Scrape the bottom and saute once again. 3-4 minutes is the ideal time to do this process in the Instant Pot. Then, add soaked overnight and washed rajma to the Instant Pot. Add garam masala and water at this time.
Close the lid and cook the rajma/red kidney beans on bean or chili mode for 30 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally. If you want more creamy rajma, then increase the amount by 3-4 minutes. Remove the lid and add cilantro and lime juice. Serve with any grains or by itself. If the rajma is thick for your liking, add a little bit of warm water to it. If it's thin, then let it cook for some time. Enjoy!!
How to Make Rajma Masala on the Stove Top-
First, you have to soak rajma/red kidney beans overnight. Then, pressure cook rajma till they have soft texture or as I would prefer, a melt-in-the-mouth texture. Take a pan or wok. Add oil to it, and follow the same process till you prepare the tomato spice mix.
Add pressure cooked soft kidney beans to it. Do not throw the water used in pressure cooking. It has all the vitamins. Add this water to the rajma masala. Then, add garam masala powder and fresh chopped cilantro to it. Serve with any grain and enjoy!!
What Can You Serve With Rajma Masala?
Any grain will go with it. White rice, brown rice, quinoa, couscous, or any millet. You can avoid carbs and have a bowl full of this comfort food by itself. Sprinkle some onion slices on it and sprinkle some lime juice. This is a bowl of bliss.
You May Want To Check Out These Recipes As Well:
Rajma Masala/Red Kidney Beans Curry
- 1.5 Cups Dry Rajma /Red Kidney Beans(Soaked overnight )
- 1 Tsp Cumin Seeds
- 2 Dry Red Chili
- 2 Tbsp Oil of your choice
- 2 Bay leaves
- 1 Medium chopped Onion
- 1 Medium Chopped Tomato
- ¼ Cup Tomato Puree
- ½ Tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1 Tsp Coriander Powder
- 1 Tsp Red Chili powder
- 1 Tsp Salt to taste
- ½ Tsp Garam Masala Powder
- 1 Tbsp Lime /Lemon Juice
- ¼ Cup Fresh Cilantro
- 1 Tsp Grated Ginger
- 1 Tsp Minced Garlic
- Switch on the instant pot .Turn the saute button on. When it displays hot add oil to it .
- When its hot enough add cumin seeds ,dry red chili and bay leaf to it .Let them sizzle .
- Add chopped onion to it .Saute it for 1 minute or till it looks transparent .
- Add grated ginger garlic and saute it till the raw smell is gone .Add turmeric powder ,red chili powder, coriander powder to it .Stir it for 30 second and add chopped tomato and tomato puree to it .
- add salt and saute it for 2-3 minute till tomato spice mix releases the oil.
- If you feel spices are sticking to the bottom add 1-2 tbsp of water to it .Saute once again foe 1 minute .
- Add soaked and washed kidney beans and rajma to it .Mix it properly with the spice mix.
- Add 3 cups of water to it .Stir it once and add garam masala to it .
- Close the lid and cook on bean mode or chili mode for 30 minutes.9time will be auto set)
- Let the steam release naturally .Remove the lid and taste the salt .Adjust if its needed.
- Add lime juice and fresh cilantro to it .
- If its quite thin for your liking you can mash few beans and mix in the gravy.
- If its thick add some warm water .
- Stir it once again and serve it with the grain of your choice.