Rajma Chawal – Indian curried kidney beans & rice – is a delicious, simple Indian comfort food, popular especially in Northern parts of India as well as Nepal. Rajma Masala (Kidney beans curry) can be eaten with roti, paratha, bread, etc. but it pairs the best with Rice. It is widely popular in India and eaten in most households – though the recipe may differ a bit with every region.
This is a very easy, and simple Vegetarian recipe, which is also Vegan, Gluten-free.
This Rajma Masala Curry is very flavorful, nutritious and versatile – it goes well with a flat-bread, rice, or just by itself. It is best accompanied with achaar or Indian mango pickle, some whisked curd/yogurt, and lachchha onions – also called instant pickled onions. Papad (crisped lentil discs) also goes well with this meal.
Rajma Chawal | Curried Kidney Beans & Rice
For making Rajma Masala:
- 1 cup Rajma / Kidney beans
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1 tablespoon Oil
- 1 qty Bay leaf
- 1/2 inch Cinnamon stick
- 2 qty Cloves
- 1 teaspoon Ginger chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon Garlic chopped
- 1 qty Onion small, chopped
- 1 qty Tomato (large) or 2-3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric powder
- 1/4 teaspoon Garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon Kasuri methi/Dried fenugreek leaves
For making Chawal / Rice:
- 1 cup Rice
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- Soak Rajma overnight (or at least for 4 hours) in about 4 cups of water. Drain the water and wash it well.
- Add about 3-4 cups of water, salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder and pressure cook it for 3 whistles.If using Instant Pot: Add the above ingredients, close the lid, put the valve on sealing position, and pressure cook on high for 5 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally.
- Once it cools down, separate the Rajma and water. Don't discard the water yet, as it can be used in making the gravy. Take about 1 cup of boiled rajma, some water and make a paste out of it in a blender/food-processor or just mash it well. Keep it aside. This will be used to thicken the gravy.
- Heat a saucepan. Add the whole spices like bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves. Dry roast it for a minute and remove it on a plate.Pro Tip: Dry roasting the whole spices enhances it's flavors quite a bit.If using Instant Pot: Follow the same steps listed below – but instead of a saucepan on stove top, add a clean Instant Pot insert, put the Instant pot on saute' mode for 18-20 minutes, and follow the same steps listed here.
- Heat oil in the same saucepan. Add the whole spices (bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves), chopped garlic, ginger, onion at the interval of 30 seconds each.
- Saute it well. Add chopped tomatoes (or tomato paste diluted in half a cup of water). Add salt, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder, garam masala powder. Saute it further. Add a few teaspoons of water if needed, so that the spices don't get burnt.Please note: the Rajma already has salt added when boiled. So at this stage, add salt only for the gravy portion.
- Once the gravy is well cooked, add the Rajma, the Rajma paste that we made, and some or all of the saved water (from cooking rajma) depending upon how how liquidy or dry you want the gravy. Add kasuri methi. Bring it to a boil and then simmer it for 15 minutes. The Rajma masala is done.
For making Chawal/Rice:
- Soak rice for half an hour. This is an optional step, but it does help cook the rice quickly. Once soaked, wash it well couple of times and drain out all the water.
- Cook rice either on regular stove top, in pressure cooker or in Instant Pot. Wash rice, add water and salt. Pro-tip: Whichever way you cook the rice, optionally add a few drops of oil and lemon juice. This step is optional. Oil helps keep the rice grains separate and lemon juice helps keep the rice bright white in color – if using white rice. The cooking time will vary if using brown rice.On Stove Top:Boil 3 cups of water. Add a pinch of salt. Bring it to a boil. Add rice and let it cook until the rice is cooked. There will be excess water so once the rice is cooked, take it off the heat and rain out all the water.In Instant Pot:Add rice, 1 cup of water, and salt into the IP insert. Close the lid, put the valve in sealing position, and pressure cook on high for 4 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally. In Pressure cooker:Add rice, 1 cup of water, and salt in a stove top pressure cooker. Pressure cook it for 3 whistles. Let the cooker cool down naturally.
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How to make Rajma Masala Curry in Instant Pot:
- Soak 1 cup of Rajma/Kidney beans overnight or at least for 4 hours. Wash it well, discard the water in which it was soaked.
- Add the washed Rajma to Instant Pot. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, and 3-4 cups of water. Close the lid, turn the valve in ‘sealed’ position, and pressure cook it on high for 5 minutes.
- Let it cool down on its own before opening the Instant Pot. The boiled Rajma is ready.
- Take about 1 cup of boiled rajma, some water and make a paste out of it in a blender/food processor or just mash it well. Keep it aside. This will be used to thicken the gravy.
- Clean the instant pot insert. Put it back in the Instant Pot, turn on the saute mode for 20 minutes. Once the insert is hot, add the whole spices like bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves. Dry roast it for a minute and remove it on a plate.
- Heat oil in the same mode. Add the whole spices (bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves), chopped garlic, ginger, onion at the interval of 30 seconds each.
- Saute it well. Add chopped tomatoes (or tomato paste diluted in half a cup of water). Add salt, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder, garam masala powder. Saute it further. Add a few teaspoons of water if needed, so that the spices don’t get burnt.
- Once the gravy is well cooked, add the Rajma, the Rajma paste that we made, and some of the saved water (from cooking rajma). Add Kasuri methi. Bring it to a boil and then let it cook 15 minutes. The Rajma masala curry is done.
What can me made using leftover Rajma-Chawal?
Try out this Rajma Chawal Arancini or Rajma Chawal Bites from my blog – tastes quite delicious and you will want to have more leftovers when you make Rajma-Chawal next :).
What are some of the health benefits of Rajma / Kidney beans?
Per Healthline, the following are some of the benefits of Kidney beans/Rajma and more information can be found on that site:
Kidney beans are among the best sources of plant-based protein. They’re also rich in healthy fibers, which moderate blood sugar levels and promote colon health. Kidney beans are a good source of several vitamins and minerals, such as molybdenum, folate, iron, copper, manganese, potassium, and vitamin K1.
How to make Jain Rajma Chawal:
Skip the Onion and Garlic completely to make the Jain version of Rajma Chawal. The onion puree and the rajma puree will give a nice smooth gravy.