Rajma is a spicy north Indian dish of red kidney beans in a thick tomato-onion gravy. You may have eaten it at an Indian restaurant, but, with my simple recipe, it’s just as easy to make it at home. Serve it with naan or rice and a raita for a delicious meal.
Yes, yes, I know. You haven’t been waiting with bated breath for me to post my Rajma recipe. Or have you?
It’s incredible that after nearly seven and a half years of food-blogging– mostly about Indian food — I wake up and find that I never got around to posting this really popular Indian restaurant dish that I love and make in my kitchen at least once a month. Amazing. And inexcusable.
But I’m here to make amends with this super delicious, super healthy recipe. Rajma is rather like the lesser-known but just-as-good-looking sister of Chana Masala. Both are north Indian dishes and the ingredients that go into them are almost exactly identical. But the beans used in each– red kidney beans in case of Rajma and chickpeas or garbanzo beans in case of Chana Masala — give these two dishes totally different flavors.
And there you were, thinking a bean was just a bean was any old bean.
One of the reasons I love making Rajma is the fragrance that fills the house and lingers for hours after you cook it. It’s a teasing, hunger-inducing, delicious fragrance that absolutely drives you nuts and makes you want to eat more and more even if you just finished eating not half an hour ago. It’s not just that garam masala that goes into it, or those tomatoes, or those onions and that ginger-garlic paste. It’s the chemistry of all of those ingredients marrying together that makes absolute magic.
Looking for more vegan curry recipes?
Rajma, Indian Kidney Beans Curry
Vegan | Gluten-free | Soy-free | Nut-free
Rajma (Indian Kidney Beans Curry)
- 1 1/2 cups red kidney beans
- 1 medium red onion (minced)
- 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
- 2 large tomatoes (finely chopped)
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp carom seeds ( or ajwain, optional)
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp cayenne (or any red chilli powder)
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1 tbsp coriander powder
- 1 tbsp kasoori methi (or dry fenugreek leaves, optional)
- 2 tbsp cilantro (finely chopped)
- Salt to taste
- 1 tbsp vegan butter (like Earth Balance, optional)
- Soak the beans for a couple of hours at least or overnight, then cooked in a pressure cooker until really tender. If you are cooking on the stovetop, place enough water in the pan to cover the beans by an inch, bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, cover, and let the beans cook until tender. You might need to add more water as they cook, so check every once in a way. The beans should take about an hour to become tender. Reserve the beans and the cooking liquid.
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the cumin and carom seeds. Stir-fry for 30 seconds, then add the onions.
- Saute the onions until brown spots start to appear. Add the ginger-garlic paste, saute for a few seconds, then add the tomatoes.
- Add the garam masala, coriander powder, paprika and cayenne. Stir to mix well. Cover the saucepan with a lid and let the tomatoes cook on medium heat until they are completely broken down. You can help the process along by adding 1/2 cup of the bean stock.
- Add the beans to the saucepan, stir well to mix, then add the kasoori methi, crushing the dry leaves as you add to powder them.
- Add some water or the bean cooking stock to thin out the gravy, if it's too thick. I like to take a potato masher at this point and mash some of the kidney beans to make the gravy thick and creamy.
- Cover the saucepan with a lid and let the beans cook for another 10 minutes. Add salt to taste.
- Stir in coriander leaves and take off the heat. Stir in the optional vegan butter at this point.
- Serve hot over some brown or white rice.