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.
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.