Rajma Masala (Red Kidney Beans Curry) is a much loved spicy curry in most Indian Households and it goes very well with rice, chapati, or any Indian bread. Here is how to make this curry in a traditional Punjabi style at home.
There is always a level of satisfaction when I relish this combination of Rajma Chawal.
It is one of the most popular combinations of North India that you will also find on the roadside stalls of Delhi, especially in Winters.
Spicy Rajma Chawal topped with watery green chutney and sliced onions, this is definitely making me crave for it now.
When I first ate this Punjabi Style curry on a roadside stall, it instantly reminded me of my mother’s recipe.
And I thought this tastes so close to my mother’s curry.
I remember whenever I used to come home from my hostel, mom made sure to cheer me up by preparing delicious curry and steamed rice.
For me eating mom made Punjabi Rajma after eating months of bland mess food was nothing less than a blessing.
So that day itself, I called her up and noted down her recipe, and the next day I prepared this curry.
My craving for that delicious plate of Rajma Chawal was satisfied to the core.
And I was so happy that I can easily make it at home, whenever I crave for this spicy curry.
This dish can easily score top among the most loved dishes in India.
Native to Punjab, this curry has become a favorite almost in all parts of India.
Like many other Indian dishes, each house has its own recipe to make it and with a slight variation here and there, it becomes a family-owned recipe that passes from generation to generation.
So, without wasting any time, bookmark my easy recipe for making it at home and relish it on comforting weekends with your family or all by yourself!
What is Rajma?
It is also called Red Kidney Bean in English. It is popularly used in North India and Nepal to make curries.
It is rich in protein and carbs. You can read more about it along with its benefits here.
Rajma Curry and Rice is comfort food for many Indians and the popularity of the combination is increasing day by day around the world.
There are many varieties of this bean. The popular ones are Kashmiri, Citra, and Red Rajma.
Although it is said that Kashmiri Rajma is the best after trying out all the varieties many times, I have started to use only Chitra variety.
It cooks very well and evenly and gets slightly mushy when cooked in a curry giving the curry a perfect texture.
What is Rajma Masala?
This Red Kidney Beans Curry is a dish prepared from boiled beans simmered in a creamy, rich onion tomato based gravy.
It also has some everyday spices such as coriander powder, turmeric powder, Kashmiri red chili powder, roasted cumin powder, amchoor powder and garam masala powder, which adds a lot of flavor to the tomato onion base of this curry.
Don’t forget to add fresh coriander leaves at the end, it adds a beautiful color and freshness to the curry.
To freeze rajma masala, you can transfer it in a freezer-safe box and just keep it in the freezer for up to 30 days.
When you are ready to eat it, take out the container and let it rest on the counter for 2-3 hours until the content thaw and then reheat until nice and warm.
The curry keeps well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Rajma without Onion and Garlic
To make this curry without onion and garlic, add some oil or ghee in a pan.
Add cumin seeds and hing and fry for a few seconds. Add tomato puree and cook for 3-4 minutes.
Now add the dry spices and fry until oil separates from the sides.
Add the cooked rajma and cook for 10-15 minutes.
Garnish with coriander leaves at the end.
Rajma is a staple in Kashmir and it is made in a very different style in Kashmir.
The gravy is curd based and is loaded with spices like fennel, dry ginger, etc.
Check out my detailed Kashmiri Rajma Recipe here.
Pro Tips By Neha
Soak the rajma for at least 5-6 hours before cooking them.
You can also use canned red kidney beans to make this curry.
If you don’t have enough time to soak rajma, soak them in boiling hot water for 2 hours and then pressure cook and use.
Cook the rajma until they are well done. They should be slightly mushy in texture but still retain their shape. This will make the curry very creamy.
Mash the rajma slightly with the back of your ladle. It will make the curry very cream.
You can also grate the onion and tomato for a slightly different texture of the curry.
Use canned tomato puree to add in the curry. It will add to the taste as it is very concentrated.
Like most other curries, it tastes the best the next day.
So if you have a party or a get-together, make your curry a day prior and refrigerate for the flavors to develop.
I don’t use store-bought Rajma Masala Powder to make this dish but it still tastes delicious.
Try the mix of spices I have used in the recipe and you will get the same taste.
Adding some butter or ghee once the curry is cooked elevates its taste a lot.
If you ask any North Indian about their favorite weekend meal, Rajma Chawal will definitely be on top of the list.
Can I use Canned Rajma to make Rajma Curry?
While our stay in the US, I used to buy canned kidney beans and that made the process of making Rajma Masala very easy.
You can use the canned beans too. Do not throw away the liquid as it has a lot of starch from rajma which makes the gravy very creamy.
Step by Step Recipe
Wash the rajma and soak in enough water for 5-6 hours. Drain the water. Add the soaked rajma in a pressure cooker with 2 tsp of salt and 3 cups of water. Cook till rajma is soft and cooked. Remove the pressure cooker from heat and keep aside.
Heat oil in a Karahi / pan.
When the oil is hot, add onion and fry till translucent.
Add Ginger Garlic paste and fry till onion is golden brown.
Add chopped tomato and tomato puree and cook for a minute.
Now add coriander powder, turmeric powder, Kashmiri red chili powder, roasted cumin powder, amchoor powder and garam masala powder and fry for a few seconds.
Add 1/2 cup water and cook the masala till oil separates on the side of the pan.
Add the cooked rajma along with the water and cook on low heat for 10-15 minutes. Slightly press a few rajmas with the back of a ladle.
Add more water and salt if required. Garnish with Fresh Coriander. Serve hot with steamed rice.
Punjabi Rajma Recipe
- 1 cup Rajma
- 4 tbsp Mustard Oil
- 1 and 1/2 cup Onion (Finely Chopped)
- 2 tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
- 3/4 cup Tomato (Finely Chopped)
- 3 tbsp Tomato Puree
- 3 tsp Coriander Powder
- 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
- 2 tsp Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder
- 1/2 tsp Roasted Cumin Powder
- 2 tsp Amchoor Powder
- 1/2 tsp Garam Masala Powder
- Salt to taste
- 2 tbsp Fresh Coriander (Chopped)
- Wash the rajma and soak in enough water for 5-6 hours.
- Drain the water.
- Add the soaked rajma is a pressure cooker with 2 tsp of salt and 3 cups of water.
- Cook till rajma is soft and cooked.
- Remove the pressure cooker from heat and keep aside.
- Heat oil in a pan.
- When the oil is hot, add onion and fry till translucent.
- Add Ginger Garlic paste and fry till onion is golden brown.
- Add chopped tomato and tomato puree and cook for a minute.
- Now add coriander powder, turmeric powder, Kashmiri red chili powder, roasted cumin powder, amchoor powder and garam masala powder and fry for a few seconds.
- Add 1/2 cup water and cook the masala till oil separates on the side of the pan.
- Add the cooked rajma along with the water and cook on low heat for 10-15 minutes.
- Slightly press a few rajmas with the back of a ladle.
- Add more water and salt if required.
- Garnish with Fresh Coriander.
- Serve hot with steamed rice.