Rajma Masala – à la Restaurant style

Rajma or red kidney beans is a saviour when I run out of vegetables to prepare for lunch or dinner. Also, it can be easily paired with a bowl of steaming hot boiled rice and tada dinner is served! Without the additional fuss of preparing Dal or cooked lentils, which, by the way, is a staple of most Indian regions either had with rice or roti.

Rajma masala curry is a popular vegetarian dish and it is quite surprising that although the kidney bean is not of Indian origin, it is a part of the regular diet in Northern India. The dish developed after the red kidney bean was brought to India from Portugal.

I usually prepare a simpler version of it which is kind of a one-pot version and which is runny and light. I will post that recipe in a later post.

This version that I prepared is more of a rich, creamy gravy, mostly served in the restaurants and eaten with tandoori naan (leavened, oven-baked flatbread).DSC_0070tif090215

I borrowed this recipe from my favourite vegan recipe site Veg Recipes of India.

Check out the recipe here below:

Rajma Masala

1 cup = 250 ml

  • 1 cup rajma or red kidney beans (any variety)
  • 1 large onion or pyaaz or 150 grams onion, about ¾ to 1 cup finely chopped onions
  • 3 medium or 2 large tomatoes or tamatar, 250 grams or 1 cup finely chopped tomatoes
  • 3-­4 medium garlic + 1 inch ginger + 1 to 2 green chilies ­ crushed to a paste in a mortar-­pestle, about 1 tbsp ginger-­garlic­-green chili paste.
  • 1 tsp coriander powder or dhania powder
  • ¼ to ½ tsp red chili powder or lal mirch powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder or haldi powder
  • a pinch of asafoetida or hing (optional)
  • ¼ tsp to ½ tsp garam masala powder
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds or jeera
  • 1 tsp kasuri methi or dry fenugreek leaves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp butter + 1 tbsp oil or 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 to 3 tbsp fresh cream
  • 3.5 to 4 cups water for pressure cooking
  • 1.5 to 2 cups of rajma stock (the water which is used to cook the rajma) or plain water for the gravy or curry
  • salt as requiredingredients
  1. Prepare the beans: Rinse and soak the rajma or kidney beans in enough water overnight or for 8­-9 hours. If you are running short of time, you may soak in hot water for a couple of hours till swollen.
  2. The next day, discard the water and rinse the beans again in fresh water.
  3. Cook the Beans: Place the Rajma in a pressure cooker and add 4 cups of water. Pressure cook on a medium to high flame for 15-­20 minutes or for about 10 whistles.
  4. While the Rajma is cooking, you can chop the onions, tomatoes etc. and prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  5. Once the pressure settles down on its own, open the lid of the cooker.
  6. Check for doneness by taking a bite or pressing a bean between your fingers. It should be soft and slightly mushy. If not done, then add some more water and pressure cook it again for some minutes. Drain and keep aside. Don’t forget to reserve the stock.
  7. Prepare the curry: Heat the oil + butter combo in another pot or pan. Add cumin first and let them crackle & get browned.DSC_0028tif090215
  8. Add the onions and saute till browned or caramelized. Be careful not to burn them as this will impart a bitter taste to the curry. Keep stirring the onions while sauteing them, for uniform cooking and also so that they don’t get burnt.
  9. Now, add the ginger­-garlic-­chili paste. Stir and saute for 5­-10 seconds on a low flame.
  10. Add the tomatoes and saute for about 2-­3 minutes till the tomatoes become soft and mushy.add in tomatoes
  11. Spice up the curry: Add all the spice powders one by one -­ turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, asafoetida/hing and garam masala powder. Stir and saute the whole masala mixture till the fat starts leaving the masala.
  12. Add the beans to the masala in the pan. Stir and saute for a minute.add rajma
  13. Add 1.5 to 2 cups of the reserved stock and add to the rajma in the pan.
  14. Season the curry with salt to taste and stir it well.
  15. Simmer the curry without a lid for 10-­12 minutes or more till the curry thickens slightly. It should not be runny. You may mash a few beans to help thicken the gravy.
  16. Once the curry is of the right consistency, add the kasuri methi and cream. Give it a good stir. Simmer for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Switch off the gas.
  17. Rajma Masala is ready to be served with steamed Basmati rice, Jeera rice or Naan. Enjoy!rajma is ready

This is a great and easy dinner item when you don’t feel like cooking anything fancy. Hope you will try it out and enjoy! Keep coming back for more such recipes! Share this recipe with your friends and voice you feedback in the form below.

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