Rajma (Red Kidney Bean Curry)

Rajma and its cousin Chana Masala (chickpeas stew) are staples of North Indian comfort food and we both grew up eating both with rice or roti (Indian wholewheat tortilla). We are though a house divided: one of us prefers Rajma and the other prefers Chana! Regardless of where your legumes loyalties lie, you will love this dish – a rich tomato onion gravy is perfectly spiced with garlic. It’s a great meal to prepare ahead of time, and when you let it rest overnight, the beautiful luscious gravy soaks into the legumes to give you bursts of flavor with every bite. 

Tips & Tricks

  • We use dried kidney beans, soaked them overnight and then used a traditional pressure cooker – you can easily use canned kidney beans, just be sure to wash them thoroughly after draining the juices to get rid of any extra salt.
  • If you want a smoother masala, take out 1/2 cup of the mixture once you’ve added everything and blend till smooth and add back in, we like a chunkier texture so usually skip this step.

Recipe Information

  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings


  • 2 cups dried red kidney beans (you can also use canned)
  • 3 tomatoes diced (or 1 can petite diced tomatoes)
  • 1/2 medium onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp red chili powder 
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Soak red kidney beans in water overnight (add extra water to cover beans by at least 2-3 inches).
  2. Drain water, add 5 cups water and cook in a traditional pressure cooker for 20 min on medium after one whistle.
  3. Add a few tsps of oil (or ghee) and add onions and garlic.
  4. Add turmeric, chili powder and salt and cook till soft and fragrant, about 5-7 minutes.
  5. Add garam masala (if you are using it) and continue to cook.
  6. Add diced tomatoes (fresh or canned) and a few tsps of water from the cooked beans and cover / cook for another 10 min on medium heat until tomatoes are cooked till soft.
  7. Lightly mash the beans and add to tomato mixture.
  8. Continue cooking on medium heat for another 10 minutes and let it thicken.
  9. Garnish with cilantro, lemon juice.