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Rajma (Kidney Bean Curry)

Updated on January 26, 2013
Rajma and basmati rice
Rajma and basmati rice

Red Kidney Beans in Gravy

Want to try a new twist to red beans and rice? Try this dish! Rajma is a north Indian vegetarian dish also found elsewhere throughout India and Pakistan. Its made of dried red or spotted kidney beans in a spicy flavor-rich gravy and is generally served with roti or plain white rice. Rajma is not only the name of the dish but its also Hindi for the bean itself.

Of note, rajma or kidney beans aren't native to India but were introduced from central American countries. They have become a well-loved part of Indian diets. This is a dish that is usually prepared for special occasions, but its also great for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

About 100 grams of boiled Rajma beans contain 140 calories. 5.7 grams of protein, 5.9 grams of fat and nearly 17.8 grams of carbohydrate.

Serves 4. Cooking time approx. 30 minutes.


1 cup dry kidney beans, soaked
3 cups water
1 Tb oil
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 cup chopped onions
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
5 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2-3 chili peppers
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp corriander powder

1 tsp rajma masala if available (chili powder can be substituted)

salt to taste
red pepper to taste


Rinse and soak the dry beans overnight in plenty of water. 2 cans of kidney beans can be substituted, but dry is better.

Drain beans and place in pressure cooker with the 3 cups water and a bit of salt. Cook to 15 whistles and set aside to cool. If you don't have a pressure cooker, cook the beans until they are tender. Retain all liquid.

In a separate skillet or small wok (khadia) heat the oil on medium high heat and add the cumin seeds. Test the readiness of the oil by adding one seed. It should sizzle immediately. Allow the seeds to fry until brown and then add the onions. Cook until onions are translucent and soft. At this point, turn down the heat to medium, add the ginger, garlic and chilis and cook an additional 2 minutes stirring frequently until onions are browned. Stir in the tomatoes and spices. Use your spoon or spatula to mash the tomatoes as they cook. Cook until you essentially have a paste. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of the retained liquid from the beans and allow to simmer over low heat, covered, for another 15 minutes.

Add the beans to the mixture as well as the retained liquid so that beans are covered in the liquid mixture. Simmer this another 20 minutes, until the liquid forms a rich gravy. To thicken the gravy, if needed, you can scoop out some of the beans with a little liquid and mash then into paste, then re-add and stir.

Great served over rice.

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