Rajma Chawal, which is red kidney bean curry and rice, is a staple food in the Punjab region of northern India.

 

The majority of our daily protein and fiber intake comes from legumes, which the Indians eat in great quantities. Some of the most popular beans used in curries are red kidney beans, black-eyed peas, skinless lentils, and chickpeas.

Rajma chawal on white plate on white background

Some of the well-known curries from North Indian food are dal makhani, chole, chana masala, and rajma masala. These are always available on restaurant menus, and many North Indian households regularly prepare them as well.

Rajma, commonly referred to as Rajma masala, is a North Indian (Punjab) curry dish made with kidney beans, onions, garlic tomatoes, spices, and herbs. This wonderful dish is simple enough to prepare for a nutritious and filling meal. Serve it with rice or roti for a vegetarian meal high in protein.

With my most recent recipe, you can make mouthwatering rajma masala in either the Instant Pot or pressure cooker. No pressure cooker at home? Not to worry! For convenience, I offer instructions for cooking rajma in a pot.

In many North Indian homes, Rajma Chawal is a popular dish, where rajma masala is eaten alongside Chawal (rice).  You can enjoy this delectable dish with onion & some lemon wedges on the side.

rajma chawal close up

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Rajma Chawal History

The rajma did not come from India. It was initially cultivated in Mexico, transported by the Portuguese back to Europe, and then introduced to Indians via the southwestern Indian coast.

Yes! Rajma came from Mexico originally, and the Portuguese brought it to India. No one is denying that the addition of fried onions, chilies, and other spices by Punjabis has converted this dish into one of the best dishes in the world!

Red kidney beans and rice, known as “rajma chawal,” are a vegetarian delicacy with a unique flavor and aroma. Rajma Chawal contains all the nutrients and flavors of true Indian food, making it a complete meal. This meal, which is wildly famous in North India, is a need at every home and eatery. In the United States, Rajma is the same thing as Red Kidney beans. Without a doubt, this dish is the centerpiece of the dinner table.

Varieties Of Rajma

Let me inform you that the Indian market offers a wide variety of kidney beans. From the deep dark maroon-colored rajma to the gorgeous, streaked bean, the little kidney beans with white color, and the distinctive black rajma, there are many different types of rajma. Small, medium and large are the different sizes of these beans.

Everyone makes a different choice. Chitra rajma are popular because they cook more quickly. You can easily become confused and uncertain about which kind of rajma to use if you begin looking at the various varieties that are available in stores.

You can use any type of rajma you have on hand to make these dishes. However, take care to cook them thoroughly because the amount of time required depends on the type and variety of beans you use. Additionally, don’t forget to soak them beforehand before you start cooking.

I love red rajma because, while it takes a bit longer to cook, it tastes excellent, has a lot of flavors, and thickens your gravy.

Why You Will Love This Recipe

  • Kidney beans, also known as rajma, are a fantastic source of fiber and plant-based protein. They are a basic cuisine in numerous civilizations all over the world because they are filling, affordable, and generally accessible.
  • Making the recipe on a busy night is a terrific alternative because it just takes approximately 25-30 minutes from beginning to end.
  • All of the ingredients can be found at your local grocery store, so it’s easy to make at any time of year.
  • The recipe can be doubled or tripled and stored for later use in meal planning or for use as weekday lunches.
  • All of the components are inexpensive, making this recipe ideal for individuals on a budget who want to eat healthily.
  • Steamed white basmati or brown rice is the perfect accompaniment to this delectable vegan and gluten-free supper of rajma.
  • This is a great weeknight meal because you can cook the beans and rice in the same pot, using the pot-in-pot method.
Rajma chawal ingredients on white background

Ingredients For Rajma Chawal

  • Rajma Kidney beans (cooked)
  • Oil
  • Bay leaf
  • Black cardamom
  • Cumin
  • Cinnamon stick
  • Cloves
  • Onion (finely chopped)
  • Ginger garlic paste
  • Green chili, slit
  • Tomato puree
  • Turmeric
  • Kashmiri red chili powder
  • Coriander powder
  • Cumin powder
  • Chaat masala
  • Garam masala
  • Salt
  • Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek)
  • Cilantro (finely chopped)

Ingredients for jeera rice (cumin rice)

  • Rice
  • Oil
  • Cumin
  • Bay leaf
  • Clove
  • Salt
  • Water as required.
sauteed spices and vegetables for rajma chawal in saucepan

How To Make Rajma Chawal (Kidney Bean Curry With Cumin Rice)?

  1. In a large pan heat, 2 tbsp. oil, and saute bay leaf, cumin, cinnamon cardamom, and cloves.
  2. Add in onion, and ginger garlic paste, and cook until the onions turn golden brown.
  3. Now add tomato puree, and cook for 10 minutes, or until the oil is separated.
  4. Adding tomato puree for rajma chawal
  5. Further keeping the flame on low add turmeric, chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, chaat masala, garam masala, and salt, and cook until the spices turn aromatic.
  6. Add in cooked rajma and mix well. Add little water to adjust the gravy.
  7. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until the curry thickens. Garnish with some Kasuri methi and cilantro.
  8. Finally, enjoy rajma (kidney bean curry) with jeera rice (cumin rice)

For jeera rice (cumin rice).

  1. In a saucepan heat oil and saute bay leaf, cumin and clove add drained rice, and salt adds enough water, and cook rice until done.
Jeera rice

Storage Method

Storing: After it has cooled, you can keep this kidney bean curry in the fridge for up to three to five days in an airtight container.

Freezing: Rajma curry that has been cooked and cooled should be placed in a freezer-safe bag, leaving space for expansion while being frozen. It can be stored for up to three months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

How To Serve Rajma?

Rajma is traditionally eaten with chawal, or basmati rice, especially in the Punjab region of North India. It can, however, be served with naan, paratha, or roti. It can be had alone, with quinoa, or with brown rice.

You can get a side of pickles, raita, or a fresh vegetable salad.

Top Tips To Make Awesome Rajma Recipe

  • Use only fresh kidney or rajma beans. It may take longer to cook beans older than 6-8 months, but using them is no problem. So, while purchasing, check the packing date.
  • When cooking any type of bean, soaking is a crucial step. It improves bean digestion by eliminating phytic acid.
  • The rajma should be thoroughly cooked. In any curry or sauce made with rajma, the beans should be so soft that they melt in your mouth. In this recipe, the rajma is first cooked before being added to the curry. Another option is to make the curry, then add the soaked rajma and cook the mixture in a pressure cooker. Both approaches are very effective.

Other Curry Recipes

Other Kidney Beans Recipes To Try

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Rajma Vegan?

Rajma is typically vegan; however, several recipes call for the use of butter, ghee, or cream to make it rich and creamy, particularly when preparing for special occasions.

Because it calls for oil, this recipe is both vegan and gluten-free.

What Kidney Beans To Use For Rajma?

Red kidney beans are commonly found in two varieties in Indian grocery stores: light and dark.

Traditional kidney beans for Punjabi and North Indian rajma curry are pinkish in hue and striped, but darker red kidney beans are also common.

I used deep red kidney beans for this dish.

Can I Use Canned Kidney Beans?

Although fresh, dry kidney beans are always preferred, canned beans may also be used.

Around 500 grams of cooked red kidney beans are obtained from 1 cup of dry red kidney beans. So, you could use about two cans of kidney beans instead.

If you’re using canned beans, you don’t need to pressure cook them.

Should I Soak Kidney Beans Before Cooking?

This question comes up frequently. Rajma should be melt-in-your-mouth soft to be considered well-cooked.

Bean soaking is a personal preference for many people. As my mother always did, I started by soaking. I appreciate how much faster and easy it is to cook beans once they have soaked.

According to some research, soaking can lessen the quantity of phytic acid, which improves digestibility and helps prevent the body from absorbing harmful toxins. Others contend that soaking has no impact on digestion. So go with what works best for you.

straight on rajma chawal in brown bowl on white background

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Categories

Nutrition

(Per serving)
  • Energy: 228 kcal / 953 kJ
  • Fat: 1.8 g
  • Protein: 13 g
  • Carbs: 43 g

Cook Time

  • Preparation: 10 min
  • Cooking: 20 min
  • Ready in: 30 min
  • For: 4 Servings

Ingredients

Ingredients for jeera rice (cumin rice)

Instructions

  1. In a large pan heat oil, over medium-high heat. Add bay leaf, cumin, cinnamon cardamom, and cloves, and cook until fragrant.
  2. Add onion, and ginger, garlic, and cook until the onions turn golden brown, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add tomato puree, and cook for 10 minutes, or until the oil is separated.
  4. Reduce the heat to low, add turmeric, chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, chaat masala, garam masala, and salt, and cook until the spices are fragrant about 1 minute.
  5. Add in cooked rajma kidney beans and mix well. Add water to adjust the gravy.
  6. Cover the saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes or until the curry thickens. Garnish with some Kasuri methi, and cilantro.
  7. Enjoy rajma (kidney bean curry )with jeera rice (cumin rice)

For jeera rice (cumin rice)

  1. In a saucepan heat oil and saute bay leaf, cumin and clove add drained rice, and salt adds enough water, and cook rice until done.
Recipe author's Gravatar image

Michelle Blackwood, RN

Hi, I’m Michelle, I’m the voice, content creator and photographer behind Healthier Steps. I share vegan and gluten-free recipes because of past health issues. My goal is to help you make healthier choices and show you how healthy eating is easy and delicious.