Loved by all Kidney Beans Recipe AKA Rajma Recipe made with an Onion Tomato gravy in spices and herbs. This is a vegetarian curry made in one pot from scratch which is also Vegan and Gluten Free!
I have made it a goal to post more meals and main courses starting this new year. You know all we do is sweet Recipes here. Well lets incorporate some hearty, comforting and flavor packed entrees to that too!
Throwing a party? Make Pav Bhaji and this Paneer Tikka Masala with this curry! Also you wouldn't want to skip this aloo gobi (Potatoes and Cauliflower dish). Oh and lets get your sweets menu sorted too. You won't go wrong with this relatively quicker version of Gajar Halwa (Carrot Pudding). It tastes like the real deal!
You will love the comfort of Kidney Beans Curry paired with cumin rice or plain rice on a cozy weeknight. Plus this curry is so versatile. Make it with canned beans and/or canned tomatoes if you are running short on time. The curry still tastes equally delish!
Kidney Beans/Rajma Masala Ingredients:
This is a list of ingredients that you will need to make this Indian style beans. I have mentioned substitutes to make it even simpler and quicker for you. Lets have a look!
- Aromatics: We are using ginger, garlic and onions here. Sauteing them till the chopped onions get golden brown in oil. You can use onions of your choice here. Both red or yellow ones are fine.
- Tomatoes: Now you can add fresh tomatoes in this gravy. Or you can opt for canned diced tomatoes ot canned tomato chunks. Up to you. I have added fresh ones for this gravy.
- Spices: Several Indian spices like garam masala, turmeric powder, red chili powder, fennel seeds powder, salt and fenugreek powder is used in this recipe.
If you wish you can totally skip all the spices and add rajma masala (kidney beans spice) to the curry. You can easily find rajma masala and garam masala at any Indian grocery store near you. These spices are readily available online too.
- Soaked/Canned Beans: Soaking raw beans is unarguably the best way to go about making this curry. Soak beans overnight or at least for 8 hours. If you can soak them for a few hours extra after 8 hours, even better.
Now as far as using raw or canned beans goes, both kind work well here. If choosing canned beans, I recommend discarding all that liquid out of the can.
I don't like to rinse them though and keep some of that liquid that's stuck on the beans. This way you get some of the thickness in the curry from that liquid. Use less salt in this case and worry not! All the toxins will get boiled away!
- Lots of Water: Use fresh water to make the curry. Wash/rinse the beans 2-3 times in water before soaking them to get any foreign particles out. Do remember to discard the water that you soaked the beans in.
How to cook Kidney Beans from scratch?
Detailed recipe is mentioned in the recipe card below. But here are a few steps to illustrate how to bring this curry together. Let us dive in!
Wash and soak the beans overnight (around 8 hours). Or for a few more hours, if you have the time. Remember the more the beans are soaked, the faster they will get cooked!
- STEP 1. Begin by heating oil in your pressure cooker over stove top. Add bay leaves, asafetida and cumin seeds to oil. When cumin seeds crackle, add chopped garlic and allow it to saute for around a minute over medium heat.
- STEP 2. Add onions and saute for about a minute.
- STEP 3. Also stir in grated ginger after a while.
- STEP 4. Add in the salt too. Now cook them till they turn golden brown.
- STEP 5. Stir occasionally so that the onions don't get burnt, no need to cover.
- STEP 6. Once the onions are sauteed to golden brown color, add tomato puree. I have added fresh one, you can also opt for canned tomatoes if you prefer.
- STEP 7. Allow them to cook well, around 6-7 minutes, before adding the spices in. Now add the following spices in the curry:
1. Coriander Powder
2. Turmeric Powder
3. Red chili Powder
4. Garam Masala
If you have rajma masala on hand, skip all these spices and add around 3-4 Tablespoons of that to the curry at this point. add ½ teaspoon of chili powder and ¼ teaspoon of garam masala to the curry too.
- STEP 8. Now remove the soaking water from beans and add the beans in your pressure cooker.
- STEP 9. Give everything a quick mix. Add more fresh water and close the lid. Cook the beans till they get soft or about 4-5 whistles over medium-medium high heat.
- STEP 10. Allow the pressure to release naturally and add fennel seeds powder and crushed kasuri methi to the curry.
- STEP 11. Mash a few beans using the back side of a ladle. This will help thicken the curry up.
- STEP 12. Add lots of cilantro and serve hot with rice and a wedge of lemon.
Soaking the Rajma(Kidney Beans):
Soaking the rajma is always recommended since it is said that unsoaked beans contain phytic acid. It is an anti-nutrient that inhibits body from absorbing nutrients. When we soak the beans this acid gets removed. All the more reasons to soak beans before cooking!
Soak the beans overnight. I like to soak mine for 10-12 hours at least. Don't miss the drain the water that they are soaked in. Wash them again at this point to make sure all of that soaking water gets removed.
How to make the curry thick:
It is super simple to make the curry thick. Mash a few tablespoons of beans using the back side of a ladle or spoon. For a richer and thicker curry you can also add a splash of heavy cream to this curry.
How to make the curry with canned beans?
Make the onion tomato curry as mentioned in the recipe. Drain the liquid out of the canned beans. You don't need to wash the beans after it. This remaining liquid stuck on the beans will add creaminess to your curry.
Add these beans to the gravy and add 3 cups of water to begin with. Add more only if/as needed.
You don't need to pressure cook canned beans. Just simmer them in gravy for around 10-15 minutes over medium heat, covered. Stir in between. Top with coriander leaves and lemon juice. Serve as desired.
Tips to make perfect Rajma:
- To soak or not to soak Beans: I definitely recommend soaking the beans overnight or at least for a few hours. Soaking not only makes them cook faster, but also the beans are easy on your gut that way.
- Punjabi Style Rajma: Now in this style of cooking, the beans are soaked and then boiled in water and salt separately from the onion tomato gravy. The beans are then simmered in the gravy till all the flavors meld in together. I prefer one-pot method, since the results are closely the same!
- What if I forgot to soak beans? If you want to cook this curry from dry beans and you have not soaked them a night before, do this. Heat up water on a stove, or microwave water till its super hot. Add washed beans to this water. Cover and let the beans rest for about an hour before boiling them. You can also add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda while soaking them in water. Wash them before boiling if you take this route.
- Kidney Beans/Rajma Masala: Rajma masala makes the job so much easier. You can literally skip all the spices and make a flavor packed curry with just this spice. It has got it all. I personally love MDH Brand Rajma Masala. I add around a tablespoon of this masala to the curry. even when I am adding all the other spices. I just am a fan and you will be too I bet!
- Cooking time for Beans: Cooking time for the beans mostly depend on two factors. 1. How aged the beans are. 2. How well they are soaked. Try to buy beans that aren't too old. And the longer they are soaked, the quicker it is to cook them.
Yes, it is best to soak kidney beans overnight before cooking. Soaking helps beans release harmful toxins out of them. It also helps in cooking them faster and lends them a better texture after they are cooked.
When the beans are soaked in water beans leave a few toxins behind. So it's best to toss that water out. You must drain the majority of that liquid. Liquid in the canned beans contain so much sodium acting as a preservative. You don't need all of that to go in your curries.
Draining the liquid from soaked beans assures bloating and digestive issues stay at bay! Boil beans real good and cook them till they are very soft. Taking care of these little things ensures the beans are kind to your gut. Oh! and also eat them in moderation to avoid bloating.
These beans pair well with rice, cumin rice, brown rice and Indian flat breads of all variety! You can also pair it with a side of yogurt.
If you liked this recipe, give it a star review. Also, tell me in the comments below, how did this turn out for you! And don’t forget to share your creations with me on Instagram at #greedyeatsblog Lets be friends on Pinterest and Facebook too! 🙂
Kidney Beans Recipe
- 1 Pressure Cooker/ Slow Cooker/ Instant Pot
- 2 Cups Raw and Dry Kidney Beans (Rajma) (or 4 15 oz cans of canned beans)
- 3 Tablespoons Oil
- ⅛ teaspoon Asafetida
- 2-3 Bay Leaves
- 1 Tablespoon Cumin Seeds
- 1 large Onion (2 Cups, chopped)
- 4 inch Fresh Ginger Root
- 8 large cloves of Garlic
- 2 large Tomatoes, pureed (or 1 14.5 oz can of canned tomatoes, pureed, chunks or diced all are fine)
- 1 and ½ teaspoons Garam Masala
- 1 teaspoon Coriander Powder
- 1 teaspoon Red Chili Powder
- ½ teaspoon Turmeric Powder
- Salt (to taste)
- 2 Cups Water (Plus more to cover the beans in the pressure cooker)
- 1 teaspoon Fennel Seeds Powder
- 1 teaspoon Fenugreek Leaves Powder (Kasuri Methi)
- ¼ Cup Fresh Cilantro Leaves (chopped)
- few Lemon Wedges
If you add Rajma Masala to the curry, skip all other spices
- 4 Tablespoons Kidney Beans/Rajma Masala* (Skip all other spices, just add ½ teaspoon chili powder and ¼ teaspoon garam masala and salt along with rajma masala)
Pre Prepping Kidney Beans
- Soaking: Rinse and soak 2 cups of dry kidney beans in 7-8 cups of water overnight or for 8-10 hours.Canned Beans: If using canned beans, remove/drain all the liquid from the beans. No need to rinse them.
- Heat oil in a pot/pressure cooker. Add asafetida, bay leaves and cumin seeds. Allow cumin seeds to crackle. I like to make the curry in pressure cooker itself and then boil the beans in this curry. If you wish, you can boil the beans separately with some salt. Pour beans in the curry and simmer till the curry comes together.
- Once the cumin seeds crackle, stir in the chopped garlic. Cook the garlic till its raw smell goes away. Next stir in chopped onions. Allow them to cook for a minute or two. Then add grated ginger to it. Add salt at this point. It allows onions to soften and cook quickly. Cook uncovered, stirring from time to time to avoid onions from sticking to the pressure cooker and burning.
- When the onions turn golden brown, add in tomato puree/canned tomatoes. Cook tomatoes till the onion-tomato curry gets thick and tomatoes are cooked through. About 5-6 minutes over medium heat, covered. Stir s needed.
- Now add in the following spices- turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala. Stir them all in. Alternatively, if adding rajma masala, just add ½ teaspoon chili powder and ¼ teaspoon garam masala along with it.
- Now rinse the water from soaked beans and add the beans to pressure cooker. Fill the cooker with water to cover beans completely and then add 2 extra cups of water. Give it all a quick stir.
- Close the lid and pressure cook beans in pressure cooker over stove top for about 4 to 5 whistles or till the beans get soft.Keep pressure cooker on high heat for the first two whistles, then set the heat to medium and continue to cook for another 15-20 minutes.Total time would be around 35-40 minutes approximately.
- Turn the flame off after this point and allow the pressure to release naturally. Check for doneness and seasoning at this point. If you find the gravy to be too thin, mash some beans, using the back of a spoon or ladle. Or you can make use of a potato masher.
- Add fennel seeds powder and crushed kasuri methi. Give the curry a quick mix!
- Serve with lots of chopped cilantro leaves and a good squeeze of lemon. Enjoy with a side of warm rice!