Punjabi Rajma (Kidney Beans Curry)

Rajma-Chawal is a combination to-die-for. The best Rajma (Kidney Beans) and Chawal (Rice) can be had at obscure dhabas alongside the highways all over North India where the truck drivers eat. Most Punjabi households will agree that rajma is definitely a staple comfort food. Try this Rajma recipe with rice, some raita or just plain yogurt.


Kidney Beans – 1 cup
Water – 4 cups
Salt – to taste
Turmeric Powder – 1/4 tsp
Green Chili – to taste (optional)
Oil – 2 tbsp
Onions – 2 medium, finely chopped
Ginger – 1 tsp, minced
Garlic – 1 tsp, minced
Tomatoes – 2 cups, puree
Salt – to taste
Turmeric Powder – 1/4 tsp
Cumin Powder – 1/2 tsp
Coriander Powder – 1 tsp
Chaat Masala – 1 tsp
Garam Masala – 1 tsp
Cilantro – for garnishing, finely chopped


1. Wash and soak the Kidney Beans in 4 cups of water overnight.
2. Put the Rajma in a pressure cooker, along with the water that you soaked it in.
3. Turn the flame on high and add in the Turmeric Powder, Some Salt and Green Chili.
4. Cooking time in the Pressure Cooker – 3 whistles, lower flame and cook for another 30 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, in a medium size pan on medium heat, add in the Oil.
6. Allow it to heat up and add in the Onions.
7. Add in a little Salt and cook till the moisture evaporates from the Onions. Stir frequently.
8. Add in the Ginger and Garlic, mix well and cook till the Onions start to brown.
9. Add in the Tomato Puree. Mix again.
10.Cook till the oil starts to separate. Keep an eye on it and keep stirring frequently.
11.Add in Coriander Powder, Chaat Masala & Garam Masala.
12.Add in a little water (about 1/4 cup) to help mix in the dry spices and to prevent it from burning.
13.Cook for a couple of minutes.
14.Open the Pressure Cooker once the pressure has gone and add in the Rajma to the masala.
15. Make sure Rajma (kidney beans) is well cooked and should have opened up a bit.
16. Mix well and allow it to come to a boil again.
17. Add in some of the fresh Cilantro leaves and keep some for garnishing.
18. Serve over hot rice on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Serves 4.


Some key points to making it a successful Rajma experience-
-soak rajma overnight
-every cooker is different, so know your cooker. If it did not cook well, put the lid back on and cook it some more.
-believe it or not altitude makes a difference in cooking time.
-if you want a smooth curry/gravy, just blend the onions and tomatoes very well (we love texture in the food so…)

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How to make the best rajma chawal at home, dhaba style rajma masala, restaurant style rajma curry recipe, punjabi vegetarian vegan recipes, Indian style kidney beans curry.

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106 thoughts on “Punjabi Rajma (Kidney Beans Curry)

  1. Hi H&A,

    I was going through your recipe and found it to be almost identical to the one my mother-in-law handed to me (I swear by it). I had one question though – I have heard of people adding fresh cream to Rajma to make the gravy nice and thick. Would you recommend it? If you do then I’d definitely want to try it out. And please mention how much quantity would be appropriate. Thanks a bunch!

    P.S. Hope you guys are having a great summer with your families!

    1. Hi Mashhuda,

      Yes, you can definitely add cream to rajma. It will make the texture rice and creamy. The amount really depends on you and how creamy you like them to be. Add a little at a time and taste until you get it perfect. You will have to add it as a final step and then just heat through – do not boil.

  2. I think it’s a very simple recipe, mostly meant for novice cooks and non-Indians. I say this when I think that the simplest food is usually the most comforting and wholesome but in this case, being a Punjabi myself, I think your omission of khada garam masala is an egregious mistake taking away from the meaty flavour of Rajma. Also, Chat Masala should only be used right at the end rather than being put through the heat of intense cooking. Too basic a recipe and not any innovation in it to make it yours at all. You two make good business women though.

  3. Ladies, THANK YOU!

    Im a young australian married to an indian man and since I discovered your website along with purchasing a pressure cooker, you have changed my life!

    My cooking self esteem has improved 100% and i now have the confidence to try new recipes and no longer cook from packets.

    I cannot THANKYOU enough!!

  4. Hi Ladies,

    I would like to make this recipe in a slow cooker. Do I need to adjust the amount of water? and if so.. how much do I need to decrease or increase it by?

    Thanks… and love ur show!

    1. Hi Annie,

      Sorry, we have not tried cooking kidney beans in a crock pot because there is some risk of toxins present.

  5. I added 1 Table spoon of garam masala instead of 1 tsp…my rajma is cooking now but my taste test reveals a slight bitterness …can u tell me which masala overdose has caused this?

  6. Hi ladies,
    Just started visiting your website and your videos. Thankyou so much for the wealth of recipes and knowledge.
    I have a question that applies to all the dishes you have shown with a pressure cooker. You call for “x” no. of whistles. Would this not be specific for the pressure cooker you are using and be different for different brands? Would a cooking time be more helpful. Appreciate your response as it would directly impact the recipe.


    1. Hi Rashmi,

      Between the 2 of us, we must have around 8 pressure cookers, all different brands. We have noticed that the number of whistles stay the same for all similar sized cookers. We do have a large cooker that does not have separate whistles but whistles continuously. In that, we count one minute per whistle. Though many American pressure cookers note the amount of pressure in pounds, Indian cookers do not — so its hard to say.

  7. Hi Hetal and Anuja
    I made this yesterday and it was very very tasty i added little bit of fresh oregano. It went very well with Naan. My husband said it taste like vegetarian chilli
    God bless
    North Bay

  8. I saw Rajma recipe on another site and started cooking with a few additions and deletions. Had not much time to check ur version.Towards the end,I found something missing and thought of adding some chaat masala(had seen it for some other recipe on ur site).Turned out great and then I saw ur rajma recipe-same thing…ur recipe must be only one which mentions chaat masala yet that provides such a great punch to taste..great recipe.Thank u

  9. Hi again, I am sorry Ihave one more question! I am planning on doubling this recipe, should I just double all the ingredients or do the spices require a certain amount of increase?

    Thank you for patiently answering all questions!

    1. Hi Shail,

      You can double everything however, we suggest that you reduce the amount of water to 5-6 cups while pressure cooking the kidney beans (unless you have a very large pressure cooker). You can always add in more water later.

      1. Thank you ladies! Awesome recipe! It turned out very delicious and is very fragrant! 🙂

        Your website is a true mecca for great recipes!

    1. Hi Shail,

      You can use either…we use what we have on hand. As a rule, you can use canned tomatoes when you want the color of your curry to be very red and intense. In the case of Rajma, they are already pretty red so canned is not necessary but optional.

  10. I wanted to make rajma in my slow cooker….I am guessing I don’t need to soak the rajma overnight as they will cook in the slow cooker. Can you please give me more guidance in how to make them in a slow cooker? I know I would make the masala in another pan but when do I add it to the rajma in the slow coooker and how long do I cook it after I have added the masala on the slow cooker?

    1. I have to soak my dry beans overnight before placing them in the slow cooker. I prefer the pressure cooker to the slow cooker for bean dishes because I can see right away if it is soft enough and then it is quick to fix the problem. But I like my slow cooker very much for meat dishes and soups that don’t have beans.

      1. Hi K,

        Yes, pressure cookers are very convenient and big time savers. Just a note…kidney beans should not be cooked in a slow cooker as they require a certain amount of high heat cooking to eliminate some toxins that are present. You can always add precooked kidney beans to a slow cooker.

  11. hi Hetal & Anuja,
    I really enjoy all the recipes that u present.

    I want to know the method of making rajma without onions.
    I have eaten rajma without onions,usually in temples.
    So i wonder if u can get me that recipe.

    1. Hi Rohini,
      Here is one simple way of doing it, you can omit the onions altogether and the tomatoes become the base of the curry. Cook them down till the oil separates and carry on with the rest of the procedure.

  12. Hi,
    I was previously working in Kuwait, and i do HAVE Indian Nationality Friends from GOA-INDIA(HAVE i MISPELLED THE PLACE? i WAS really enjoying the recipes he made, but for DAALS and Kidney beans, I haven;t tasted them yet. My question is this; If i will eat daals(lentils) and kidney beans,do they not cause to trigger my gouty arthritis? are they high in purines? I am evading or staying away from those veges because i do not know if they are high in purines. I can not eat meat of any kind because of purines (PURINES ARE URIC ACID FORMING FOODS) issue, so i resorted to always eating vegetables since 8 years ago. Please do help me for the research, I want to eat the featured daals(lentils) and kidney beans recipes. Looking forward for the very kind advice, Thank you very much and more power to your cooking site.

    1. Hi Edgardo,
      Much as we’d like to help you, we do have to say that we are not aware of this and are not qualified to give you the right answer. We strongly suggest that you consult with a nutritionist or check with your doctor.

  13. Hello Ladies,

    I need a confirmation about tomato puree : is it tomato paste (concentrated tomatoe ?) & how do you make tomato puree.
    Thanks beforehands for the clarification

    1. Hi Roz,

      Tomato paste is really thick and concentrated. Tomato puree is blanched, peeled tomatoes that have been deseeded and pureed. To make puree, mark an “X” lightly with a knife at the bottom of the tomatoes. Place them in boiling water (stove off) for 5 minutes. Remove them and place them in a bowl with ice water. The “X” will help you remove the peel easily. Cut them in half and remove the seeds. Grind.

  14. Hi Hetal & Anuja
    I did cook Rajma yesterday as per your recipe. I did not know when to add the ginger garlic paste – My onions always seemed moist – how to know that onions are done ? And my onions never turned brown after adding ginger and garlic? And over all my content was really wet and not as dry as yours ? I think I added a lot of oil when I started ? Would it have been the mistake? Your content really was dry even after adding tomato puree – How is that? And how to prepare tomato puree at home? Can you say the difference between tomato puree and tomato paste ? And was it Jalapeno green chilli that you used when boiling rajma? OOh a lot of questions – I just wish I get the same rajma as yours the next time…. Thanks a lot for your help.

  15. Are chat masala and Tandoori Masala same ? Can I substitute tandoori masala for chat masala to prepare rajma as I have it in my pantry?

    1. Hi Pvithra,

      Chat Masala and Tandoori Masala are different 🙁
      You can add some of the tandoori masala, it will not substitute the chaat masala flavor but won’t taste bad either.

  16. hiya!!! amazing recipe girls!!!! have tried it on a few occations n its so easy! last time i cooked it i added half a tin of sweetcorn. it turned out to be a really nice addition. xxxx

    ps i wish i had aunts like you

  17. I was making Rajma and decided to see your version. I first make the masala and then put everything into the pressure cooker add the water and cook eveything together at one time. I let the pressure on for 10 mins let the steam go and then open and simmer if needed. I feel the beans soak the spices and salt better this way. Besides, my punjabi mom in law taught it to me this way :)). Try the same method for chole and blackeye peas. Also try dried black beans for a change, it is quite nice.

  18. Hi Hetal and Anuja. I am curious to know why you decided to use the pre-soaking water to cook the rajma in? It is recommended by many sources that once the beans are soaked, one should rinse and use fresh water to cook. This helps prevent flatulence. Now this may not be a concern with cultures that grew up eating dried beans.
    Another matter which is controversial is not to add salt until beans are soft, otherwise they are tough and take longer to cook. Personally, I have added salt at the beginning and have not noticed any difference.
    My recipe is very similar to yours but in my family we add 1/2 tsp of ajwain to oil, let it sputter and then add onion. I had never thought of adding chaat masala before. Nice twist. Great job ladies!

    1. Hi Keerti,

      In our families, we always used the soaking water because a lot of flavor is in the water. However over time, we have learned what you have mentioned about preventing flatulence. You are right, it is probably better to remove the soaking water and add fresh water to cook the beans.

      We have also heard the controversy over pre-salting and post-salting beans. This may be an issue if you are cooking beans in a pot, but if you are using a pressure cooker to cook beans, adding the salt beforehand does not really affect the cooking time. For the larger beans (Kidney, Garbanzo, etc), adding the salt beforehand really improves the flavor as the salt has a chance to go all the way inside.

  19. Bought myself a pressure cooker yesterday, and made a wonderful Rajma Curry using your recipe. Despite being my first attempt, it turned out really well, and was very tasty along with the steamed rice.
    Looking forward to trying out a selection of other dishes. Thanks alot for your great website and practical recipes.

    Nathaniel Stockley
    (Melbourne, Australia)

  20. Hi girls,

    I tried this recipe today. It came out very well.

    When you give measurement for the ingradients, instead of saying 1 mediam onion , would you give the measurment in cups…like 1 cup minced/dices onion?

    This helps us a lot to reproduce the same result that we saw in your video.

    Thank you

  21. Hi Hetal and Anuja I am an italian that loves indian food and you girls are two angels sent from heaven to teach me all about indianfood.I can’t get enough of your recipes. I have always wanted to try rajma and now thanks to your instructions it’s goin to be so easy. One question , what kind of oil you use for all your recipes?
    Thank you, ciao from Giusy.

  22. Hi Anuja & Hetal,

    I tried this recipe today & it came out well. Enjoyed it with rice, yet to enjoy it with Roti tonight 🙂

    I have noticed you ladies do not use a lot of ginger garlic paste. Any special reason or is it just the flavor?

    Thanks for sharing your recipes.


    1. Hi Swetha,

      We are not big fans of the store bought ginger/garlic paste. We feel that it somehow has some strange background flavor. Also, when you add it to hot oil, it splutters all over the place.

  23. thanx anuja, realy many many thanx to you. my rajmah is fabulous, yummmmm………..
    thanx once again, i dnt ‘ve words to explain.
    but one thing i hope u’ll soon reply to my other queries too- related malai kofta and gulab jamun???

    1. Hi Noor,
      If they are wrinkled, they are still on their way to getting soaked (they need to be plump and then they are ready). A good rule of thumb for beans such as rajma and channas is about 8 hours (overnight). We would suggest you wait for a little while.

      If you do not have any time, use this Quick Soak beans tip:

      Hope that helps!

  24. hi
    its very urgent actually, i soaked rajmah 10’o clock in the morning now its 1’o clock afternoon, i jst peep to them, few of them hv actually open up,and others are like wrinkled?? i dnt know, wht to do now? i soaked them for the dinner actually. plz tell me should i pressure cook them now or should i wait till evening?? plz its urgent! i hope u’ll reply now. i need to know.

  25. Next day….sorry for two posts in a row but I just had some Rajma for lunch, today, and it has so much improved from sitting overnight in frig. The tomato taste is gone and it is absolutley delicious with not one thing I would want to change. 🙂

    1. Indian curries seem to taste mush better the next day as the spices seep in and have a longer time to infuse together.
      Glad you enjoyed the Rajma…a fav in my household:)

  26. I just made and ate some Rajma. I never had this dish before. It was absolutely delicious. I think next time I make it I will put 1 1/2 cups of puree instead of 2 cups because of a slight tomato taste. I love the videos. Thank you Hatel and Anuja!!

  27. hi ladies,
    today i made Rajma curry, it was yummmmmmmm……. its tooo delicious !!!!!! but i also added a lill red chilly powder …… thanx for showing such great recipes !
    can you please show how to make chicken sizzler ??????i would be obliged !!!!
    thank you
    waiting for your reply !!!!
    – jaina

  28. You two have become a part of my menu planning committee. I just made the Rajma and I must say it is the closest to my liking. Great recipe. I did cheat and use canned beans but rinsed it very well.


  29. Hi Ladies! Hope your weekend was a good one. I made this today (took a short cut and used canned kidney beans) and it was delicious! Thanks so much for sharing your videos and recipes,


  30. Hi Sachin,

    Wow, I’ve never had rajma with coconut milk! But, as a coconut lover, I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t be able to add it in. Sounds delicious! Let us know how it comes out if you decide to try it.

  31. I have been following different Rajma recipes online and this has been the best so far. Thanks to “Show my the curry” team.

  32. Wow, ladies, this is THE best Rajma recipe I ever tasted. I have tried quiet a few, and this is a keeper! I love the videos, it helps so much… Can’t wait to try more of your dishes 🙂

  33. Fiona & Priya:
    Sorry, we did forget to add the Cumin powder! It does go in along with the Coriander Powder!

    You can make it in a regular pot/pan or even use a slow cooker. Make sure you soak the beans overnight! Very important.
    Also, fresh tomatoes are the best way to go.

  34. Hi Francine,
    Chat/Chaat Masala is a combination of various spices. It can be bought at Indian/South Asian grocery stores or at whole food/health/organic stores. And just FYI, it is a spice that does not need to be cooked. Needless to say, one of my favorites! Enjoy!

  35. Hi Rizwana,

    In a time crunch, you could use canned kidney beans. The biggest difference you will notice is in the gravy. You have to rinse the canned kidney beans to remove the starcy sauce that they come in. Therefore, you will not have the nice gravy as if you pressure cooked them with water. To make gravy, you will need to add water and that will dilute the flavor as well as the consistency of the gravy.

    Also, some people swear that there is some “funny” smell and flavor in the canned beans.

  36. hey:

    great website.

    how about if you use the canned red kidney beans? will it work?

    overall, wonderful delicious recipes….yum yum yum

    rizwana says…keep it up

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