Rajma masala–Kidney beans cooked in indian spices | Tummykhush

One of the blessings in disguise when you live in the part of world where I live is the availability of canned foods. Canned vegetables, I am not really a fan of. But canned beans .. I always pick up a couple of cans whenever I go out. Kidney beans, black beans and garbanzo beans or chole as we know it are on the top of my list.  Rajma is one of my to-go dishes when I am expecting a bunch of hungry guests or I am not in mood to cook and craving some comfort food. Rajma masala and jeera rice is a combination made in comfort food heaven…atleast for me. The good thing about this recipe is that it always tastes good the next day..that is provided you have some left overs. I always make a little extra so that I have some leftovers for day 2.




Soak a cup of kidney beans overnight and pressure cook for 4 to 5 whistles till partly done. Rest of the cooking will be done on stove top with the masalas so that all the flavours blend in well with each other. (See tips below)

If you are using the canned beans, use a couple of cans of the beans, remove all the water the beans come in. Wash the beans well under tap water. Drain.

You can grind half of the kidney beans to a rough consistency in you mixie or food processor. This will give a semi-solid texture to the gravy and add to the overall taste of the dish.

Masala base:


Onions                   – 2 big finely chopped.
Tomatoes               – 2 medium finely chopped
Ginger                    – 1 inch size piece
Garlic                     – 4 to 5 cloves (you can differ the amount depending on your liking for garlic)
Green chillies          – 3 to 4
Coriander leaves      – 1/4 cup
Coriander see           – 1/2 tsp
Coriander/dhania powder    – 1/2 tsp
Cumin/Jeera powder   – 1/2 tsp
Garam masala           – 1/2 tsp
Rajmah masala           – start with 2 tsp and adjust according to taste

(If I am using rajma masala I normally just add coriander powder and skip jeera and garam masala powders)

Tamarind paste        – 1/4 tsp (optional)
Sugar                       – 1/2 tsp (optional)

(Sugar cuts down the sourness of the tomatoes and the tamarind paste and will enhance the flavour of the dish)

Salt                         – to taste
Red chilli powder       – 1/2 tsp or adjust according to taste
Turmeric powder        – 1/4 tsp
Asafotieda powder    – a pinch (optional)
Cooking oil               – 2 tbsp (to fry the masala)


Grind together the ginger,garlic, green chillies and coriander leaves into a fine paste.

Heat oil in a heavy bottomed vessel or a pressure cooker. Splutter some jeera/cumin seeds.

Add the ginger-garlic-green chilli-coriander leaves paste and fry for a minute till the raw smell disappears.

Add finely chopped onions and continue sautéing. The onions will start turning translucent. If you are adding the asafoetida powder,add it at this stage.


Add the finely chopped tomatoes and continue cooking.Add the tamarind paste and sugar and mix well.

When the masala base starts to get ready you will see oil leaving the sides of the pan. This is the time to add all the masala powders – the dhania powder, jeera powder, garam masala powder, the rajma  masala .. whichever ones you are adding. Add the red chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt.

The masala base/gravy is now ready.


Add water mix well and bring to a boil.

Add the beans and beans paste to this, mix well. Continue to cook on high heat till it comes to a rolling boil. Turn down the hit. Close the lid and continue to cook on low heat for another 15 – 20 mins. The more time you cook the dish on low heat, the better the flavour.

If you are using a pressure cooker, close the lid where everything comes to a rolling boil, allow 4 to 5 whistles on high heat, turn the heat to low and cook for another 7 to 10 mins.

Finish the dish off with some butter. Serve with rotis, rice or jeera rice and some pickle.

Some Tips:

If you stay in US like me, you can buy a couple of varieties of beans. I like to combine red kidney beans and black beans while making this recipe. It gives a much rounded flavour to the whole recipe.

 If you are buying the dry beans, soak them overnight. If you have forgotten to soak them and do not have a complete night, just soak the beans in warm water. This will hasten the softening process. I warm up the beans along with water in the microwave for  a couple of minutes and leave in a warm place to quicken the soaking process.

Slow cooking yields the maximum flavour to this recipe. But if you are running short of time, you can make the recipe in a pressure cooker too.


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