Rajma Recipe A Flavorful Journey into Indian Cuisine

Rajma, also known as red kidney beans, is a beloved staple in Indian cuisine. This dish, rich in flavors and packed with nutrients, has found its way into the hearts and homes of many across the globe. Rajma is not just a meal; it’s an experience that embodies the essence of Indian cooking. Let’s dive into this culinary delight and explore how to make the perfect Rajma at home.

rajma recipe

Ingredients for Rajma Recipe

Main Ingredients

  • 1 cup of dried red kidney beans (Rajma)
  • 2 medium-sized onions, finely chopped
  • 3 tomatoes, pureed
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, grated

Spices and Seasonings

  • 2 tablespoons of cooking oil or ghee
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • 2-3 green chilies, slit
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon of red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon of garam masala
  • Salt to taste

Optional Add-ons

  • 1 tablespoon of fresh cream for garnish
  • A handful of fresh coriander leaves, chopped
  • Lemon wedges for serving

Preparation Steps: Rajma Recipe A Flavorful Journey into Indian Cuisine

Soaking the Rajma

Start by soaking the dried red kidney beans in ample water overnight or for at least 8 hours. This step is crucial as it softens the beans and reduces cooking time.

Preparing the Base Masala

In a pan, heat oil or ghee over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and let them splutter. Then add chopped onions and sauté until golden brown. Add minced garlic and grated ginger, cooking until the raw smell disappears.

Cooking the Rajma

Drain the soaked beans and add them to the pan. Stir well to combine with the base masala. Add pureed tomatoes, turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, and salt. Cook until the oil starts to separate from the masala.

Cooking Techniques: Rajma Recipe A Flavorful Journey into Indian Cuisine

Pressure Cooker Method

Add enough water to the pan to cover the beans. Transfer the mixture to a pressure cooker and cook for 4-5 whistles or until the beans are tender.

Slow Cooker Method

Transfer the mixture to a slow cooker, add water, and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours. This method allows the flavors to meld beautifully.

Stovetop Method

If you don’t have a pressure cooker or slow cooker, you can cook the Rajma on the stovetop. Cover the pan and simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender (this may take 1-2 hours).

Making the Rajma Masala: Rajma Recipe A Flavorful Journey into Indian Cuisine

Preparing the Onions and Tomatoes

In a separate pan, heat some oil and add finely chopped onions. Sauté until they turn golden brown. Add pureed tomatoes and cook until the mixture thickens and the oil separates.

Adding Spices

Add turmeric, red chili powder, coriander powder, and garam masala to the pan. Stir well and cook for a few minutes to let the spices bloom.

Combining Rajma with Masala

Add the cooked beans along with their cooking liquid to the masala. Mix well and simmer for 15-20 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.

Final Touches

Garnishing Options

Sprinkle fresh coriander leaves over the Rajma. For a richer taste, you can also add a dollop of fresh cream on top.

Serving Suggestions

Rajma is best served hot with steamed basmati rice or soft roti. You can also serve it with a side of sliced onions and lemon wedges for added zest.

Pairing with Other Dishes

Rajma pairs wonderfully with a side of yogurt or raita, a green salad, and some pickle for a complete meal.

Variations of Rajma Recipe

Rajma Chawal (Rajma with Rice)

This is the most popular way to enjoy Rajma. Serve the prepared Rajma over a bed of steamed rice for a comforting and hearty meal.

Rajma Curry with Roti

Another classic combination is Rajma with freshly made roti. The soft, warm roti soaks up the flavorful curry beautifully.

Rajma Salad

For a healthier twist, you can make a Rajma salad. Toss cooked Rajma with chopped vegetables like cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions, and dress with lemon juice and salt.

Nutritional Information

Calorie Count

A serving of Rajma provides approximately 250-300 calories, making it a satisfying and nutritious meal option.

Protein and Fiber Content

Rajma is an excellent source of plant-based protein and dietary fiber, which aids in digestion and keeps you full longer.

Vitamins and Minerals

It is rich in essential vitamins and minerals, including iron, magnesium, and potassium, which contribute to overall health and well-being.

Tips for the Perfect Rajma Recipe

Choosing the Right Beans

Always opt for high-quality dried red kidney beans. Fresh beans cook more evenly and taste better.

Achieving the Perfect Consistency

To achieve a thick, creamy consistency, mash a few beans with the back of a spoon while simmering the curry.

Enhancing the Flavor

Adding a pinch of kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) towards the end of cooking can enhance the flavor of Rajma.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Overcooking the Rajma Recipe

Overcooking can cause the beans to become mushy. Keep an eye on the cooking time, especially when using a pressure cooker.

Using Too Much or Too Little Spice

Balance is key in Indian cooking. Adjust the spice levels to suit your taste but avoid overwhelming the dish with too much heat.

Not Soaking the Rajma Properly

Skipping or shortening the soaking time can lead to unevenly cooked beans. Make sure to soak them adequately.

Rajma Recipe A Flavorful Journey into Indian Cuisine

Recipe by SAYEDCourse: MainCuisine: North Indian, PunjabiDifficulty: Moderate


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This Rajma recipe is a creamy, tangy and spiced curry made with dried kidney beans. This restaurant style Rajma Masala is made in a base of sautéed onions, tomatoes, spices and cream making it truly delicious. Best served with steamed hot rice, naan or soft roti or flaky paratha.


  • For Pressure Cooking
    1 cup rajma – 200 grams (dried kidney beans), any variety
    3.5 to 4 cups water – for pressure cooking
    enough water – for soaking rajma

  • For Ginger-Garlic-Chilli Paste
    3 to 4 garlic cloves – medium-sized
    1 inch ginger
    1 to 2 green chillies or 1 to 2 Serrano peppers

  • Other Ingredients
    tablespoons Butter + 1 tablespoon oil or 3 tablespoons butter
    ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
    ¾ to 1 cup onions – finely chopped, 150 grams or 1 large onion
    1 cup tomatoes – finely chopped, 250 grams or 3 medium or 2 large tomatoes
    1 teaspoon Coriander Powder (ground coriander)
    ¼ to ½ teaspoon red chili powder or cayenne pepper or hot paprika
    ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (ground turmeric)
    1 pinch asafoetida (hing) – optional
    ¼ to ½ teaspoon Garam Masala
    1.5 to 2 cups water
    salt as required
    1 teaspoon kasuri methi – crushed, (dried fenugreek leaves) – optional
    2 to 3 tablespoons low fat cream or half and half or 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream – optional
    1 to 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves – for garnish, optional


  • Soaking
    Rinse and soak the rajma (kidney beans) in enough water overnight or for 8 to 9 hours.
    Next day, discard the water and rinse the beans again in fresh water for a couple of times.
    Drain all the water.
  • Pressure Cooking
    In a 3 litre stovetop pressure cooker, take both the soaked rajma and water.
    Pressure cook on a medium to high flame for 15 to 20 minutes.
    When the rajma is cooking, you can chop the onions, tomatoes etc.
    Crush the ginger, garlic and green chillies in a mortar-pestle to a fine or semi-fine texture. Set aside
    When the pressure drops naturally in the cooker, then only open the lid.
    Check if the rajma beans are cooked or not by taking a bite or pressing a few beans. They should be melt in the mouth and must be completely cooked and tender.
    The beans should not have an al dente texture or a slight bite to them.
    If the beans are cooked well; set aside or drain the beans.
    If the rajma are not cooked well enough, then pressure cook again adding some water if needed for some more minutes.
  • Making Masala
    Heat oil + butter in another pot or pan on a low heat. Add cumin first and let them crackle & get browned.
    Then add onions and sauté them till they caramelized or golden browned on a medium-low to medium heat.
    Take care not to burn them as this will give bitter tones in the curry.
    Light browning the onions is also alright.
    Keep on stirring the onions while sauteing them, for uniform cooking and also so that they don’t get burnt.
    Lower the heat and add the crushed ginger-garlic-chili paste. Stir and sauté for 5 to 10 seconds on a low heat until the raw aroma of the ginger and garlic dissipates.
    Add the finely chopped tomatoes. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes on medium-low to medium heat until the tomatoes become soft.
    Add all the spice powders one by one – turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, asafoetida (hing) and garam masala powder.
    On a medium-low heat or medium heat stirring often sauté the whole masala mixture until the fat starts leaving the sides of the masala base.
    This masala paste will become glossy, thicken and leave the sides of the pan.
    Using a slotted spoon or a strainer remove the beans and add them to the masala.
    Stir and sauté for a minute.
  • Making Rajma Masala
    Add 2 cups of water. If you prefer you can also add the cooked rajma stock instead of fresh water.
    Add salt as required and stir the whole curry mixture.
    On a low heat to medium-low heat simmer without a lid for 10 to 12 minutes or more time until the curry thickens slightly. It should not be watery.
    Mash a few rajma beans with the spoon. This helps to thicken the curry.
    When the rajma masala has thickened and comes to the right consistency which is neither too thick nor thin, then add the crushed dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi) and cream.
    You can skip the cream if you prefer.
    Stir and simmer for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Turn off the heat.
    Serve rajma masala with steamed basmati rice, jeera rice or naan or roti or paratha. You can garnish with some coriander leaves when serving.
    Rajma paired with either flatbreads or steamed rice makes for a filling, healthy and a comforting meal.

Recipe Video


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Rajma is more than just a dish; it’s a celebration of flavors, tradition, and nutrition. This versatile and hearty meal is perfect for any occasion, from a simple family dinner to a festive gathering. By following this detailed recipe and tips, you can master the art of making delicious Rajma at home. Enjoy this classic Indian comfort food and share it with your loved ones!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Rajma be made without a pressure cooker?

  • Yes, Rajma can be cooked on the stovetop or in a slow cooker. It will take longer but will be equally delicious.

How to store leftover Rajma?

  • Store leftover Rajma in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave before serving.

Can I use canned beans for Rajma?

  • Yes, you can use canned kidney beans. Rinse and drain them before adding to the masala. Reduce the cooking time accordingly.

What are the best side dishes for Rajma?

  • Rajma pairs well with steamed rice, roti, raita, salad, and pickle.

Is Rajma suitable for a vegan diet?

  • Absolutely! Rajma is naturally vegan. Just ensure you use oil instead of ghee and skip the cream garnish.

SEE ALSO: Authentic Kerala Appam Recipe A Delightful Traditional Dish


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