rajma recipe – how to make rajma masala, easy rajma recipe

by dassana amit updated November 15, 2013

rajma recipe, punjabi rajma masala

rajma masala or rajma chawal is one of the regulars at any punjabi house.

this easy and quick one pot rajma recipe, that i am posting here is another one of mom in law’s fabulous punjabi recipe. its her special recipe and it is special in one more sense … this is a really, really simple and easy rajma recipe. no grinding, no sauting, no frying of anything…

this is a one pot rajma curry recipe which you can make regularly at home.  it is not spicy like the rajma served in restaurants. it is mildly spiced and not heavy as no cream is used. overall a delicious easy rajma curry. you can also check this link for making restaurant style rajma masala.

in most punjabi homes the rajma is cooked till they become soft enough to melt in the mouth. whereas in many of the restaurants i have eaten the rajma beans are just cooked.

i suggest to cook the rajma fully so that they become soft and easy to digest. remember, well cooked kidney beans are easy to digest. another important point which i must mention about making rajma recipe is to soak the rajma overnight so that they take less time to cook in the pressure cooker.

i must also mention that the rajma served in jammu kashmir region of india are also very delicious and famous. if you get a chance to go to jammu, or to holy ma vaishno devi shrine or in kashmir, then don’t forget to order rajma chawal there.

punjabi rajma recipe

few tips for making rajma masala recipe:

1. make sure that the rajma is soaked well or else it will take a lot of time to cook it.

2. the rajma gravy is not watery but smooth. if you find that the water is too much after the rajma beans are cooked. then cook the rajma without any lid to evaporate the water.

3. if while cooking the water reduces, then add some hot water.

4. the rajma have to be soft and well cooked.

5. though i have given the measurements for using water, you may have to check the consistency of the gravy as rajma are different in different places. some rajma take a longer time to cook than other varieties. i have faced this issue many times. some times even in spite of cooking the rajma for a good 45 minutes in a pressure cooker, the rajma are not cooked to the fullest.

6. i have used regular red rajma for the recipe. you could try it with tinned kidney beans…. though i have never tried anything with tinned beans and would not know how the recipe would taste. in using regular rajma, the flavors and aroma of the gravy is absorbed by the rajma as we are cooking everything together. not sure if the same would happen for tinned beans.

7. if you do not have a pressure cooker, use big pot to cook the rajma. but it would take a lot of time to cook the rajma in a pot.

you can serve rajma masala with rice, they also equally go well with chappati, roti or bread. but rajma chawal combo is very famous.

if you are looking for more punjabi recipes then do check dal makhani, chole bhature, sarson ka saag, matar paneer and aloo paratha.

rajma recipe details given below:

5.0 from 5 reviews

rajma recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
simple and easy rajma masala or kidney beans curry
Recipe type: main
Cuisine: north indian, punjabi
Serves: 3-4
  • 1 and half cup rajma/red kidney beans, soaked overnight
  • 2 medium sized onions, finely chopped
  • 4-5 medium sized tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 and half tablespoon ginger-garlic, chopped
  • 1 or 2 green chillies, chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp red chili powder or as required
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp punjabi garam masala powder or as required
  • 1 tsp dry mango powder/amchur or as required
  • 3 tbsp butter, preferably white butter or 3 tbsp oil or ghee
  • 6 to 7 cups water
  • salt or rock salt as required
  • some coriander leaves for garnish
  1. soak the rajma in water for a good 8-9 hours or overnight.
  2. in a pressure cooker, add the soaked rajma and all the chopped veggies,all the spices and spice powders & salt and oil/butter to the rajma, except for garam masala powder and dry mango powder.
  3. pour water. give the mixture a stir.
  4. cover the lid of the pressure cooker and pressure cook the rajma for 20-25 minutes.
  5. check to see if the rajma is done, if not then pressure cook for some more time.
  6. once the rajma is cooked, then add the garam masala powder and dry mango powder.
  7. if the mixture looks dry, then add more water.
  8. if there is too much water, then simmer the mixture for some minutes.
  9. after adding the garam masala powder and mango powder, let the rajma masala simmer for 5-6 minutes or more till the gravy thickens a bit and becomes smooth.
  10. the curry should not be watery.
  11. it should have a smooth consistency.
  12. you can also mash a few rajma with the back of the spoon. this will help in thickening the gravy.
  13. now taste the rajma and if you feel any of the spice or salt is missing. add them now. you can add more of red chili powder or garam masala or dry mango powder or salt. stir well and simmer rajma for some seconds.
  14. finally, if you like then you can garnish rajma masala with chopped coriander leaves.
  15. serve rajma masala hot with plain boiled rice or jeera rice.

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{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

trevilla April 2, 2014 1

Tried the rajma… It turned out lovely. Hubby said it was awesome. .. He normally says my rajma tastes bitter. .. ha ha. Thank you Dasna love your bhatura recipe too.


dassana amit April 3, 2014 2

welcome trevilla. glad to know that you and your husband liked the rajma.


Saifa April 2, 2014 3

Thankyou so much… I just love ur recepies, they are so easy to cook n with simple ingredients dishes taste so fab. I dont have mom or mom-in-law n it was difficult for me to cook different kinds of dishes, n my hubby is a total foodie ur recipies have totally helped me they are rocking… Now i share ur recepies with others instead of asking from them. Thankyou once again.


dassana amit April 3, 2014 4

welcome saifa and big thanks for this positive feedback. glad to know that the blog is helping you in your cooking journey.


OM March 23, 2014 5

Very nice and comes out tasty. However we cooked them in slow cooker.


dassana amit March 23, 2014 6

thanks om


Binny March 13, 2014 7

Hey Dassana,
Sounds yummy and easy. I will try it.
What if I don’t soak rajmah overnight? can I just use pressure cooker to make them softer?
Let me know please.


dassana amit March 14, 2014 8

its always better to soak the rajma. if you even soak them for 2 to 3 hours in hot water, they take a lot of time to cook even in the pressure cooker. i tried only once and some how did not like the taste too.


kavya March 13, 2014 9

Heya…. I do these kinda mistakes most of the time as am a new bee in kitchen… U mentioned not to add amchur n garam masala in cooker but i did… Its cooking now… What actually happens.. How does it effect the recipe… i may not find difference when its done… But would like to know… Pls pls.. Thank you


dassana amit March 14, 2014 10

actually if added towards the end, the flavors are pronounced. if added while cooking, especially in a gravy or curry dish, the flavors diminish a bit.


Nazneen January 28, 2014 11

Super easy n super yum….
Life gets easy for busy moms with such great recipes …
Can I know the calorie count for it if possible ?


dassana amit January 29, 2014 12

thanks. we do not provide nor measure the calories for the recipes added.


Aarthi January 7, 2014 13

What a great recipe! I don’t think I will cook rajma any other way again.
I recently tried cooking chole the same way. Turned out great too. Thanks for such an easy and delicious recipe.


dassana amit January 7, 2014 14

welcome aarthi. nice to know that you liked the rajma recipe. yes, the chole can also be cooked the same way. but i have yet to share that recipe in the blog.


Theresa Vardharajan December 31, 2013 15

Hi Dassana your recipes r so simple and tasty and it can be prepared by anyone even who is going to cook for the first time it is so much detailed thank u so much I was never able to prepare rajma but today first time I made it I just fried the masalas first then added the rajma and gave proper whistles kept for 20 minutes then thickened it after removing the lid and garnished with coriender and served with jeera rice and it was awesome thanks once again.


dassana amit January 1, 2014 16

welcome theresa. its such a nice and motivating comment you have shared on new year day. wishing happy new year to you and your family. keep visiting the blog.


Rashmi November 13, 2013 17

Hi Dassaana,

I am glad I came across your blog while searching for easy yet tasty rajma recipe… came out delicious…..very very tasty…thnx a ton for such osm recipes….keep up the good work dear…


dassana November 17, 2013 18

welcome rashmi


indu October 25, 2013 19

I loved it….the best rajma recipe..its so easy and quick….thank you!!!!


dassana October 26, 2013 20

welcome indu


Padma October 23, 2013 21

I tried this yesterday and my daughters who are very fussy about eating just loved it.It is also very easy to prepare. I am now more inspired to try more of your recipes.Thankyou for this wonderful recipe.


dassana October 23, 2013 22

thanks padma. yes it is a very easy rajma recipe.


Roshni October 19, 2013 23

Pls clear 1 of my doubt,actually this is my 1st karva chauth.I m sindi&the person i luv is punjabi so i dnt knw whether in karva chauth we can eat onions&garlic or no,pls do reply.


dassana October 19, 2013 24

roshni, we can not eat onion and garlic in karwa chauth vrat. please check the below link for detailed info.


poonam September 10, 2013 25

Hi Dassana

I tried this rajma recipe using canned red kidney beans and it was aweome! I boiled the beans seperately first for about 20 minutes and then towards the end of the cooking time of the curry, just mashed it a bit with a potato masher!.easy and tasty- will certainly make this again!


dassana September 10, 2013 26

thanks poonam for this positive feedback on rajma recipe. this is one of our favorite punjabi recipe.


Jayashree August 23, 2013 27

Hi!! I am planning to try this recipe. Can you tell me how the butter/ghee/oil mentioned in the ingredients list is used in the recipe


dassana August 23, 2013 28

just add oil or butter with the spices, onions etc before you pressure cook the rajma.


shabnam desai July 9, 2013 29

miss the pictorial illustration at each step! excellent recipe, have made it several times, thanks!!


dassana July 9, 2013 30

shabnam, we updated the post with new photos and removed the old step by step photos of rajma recipe.


neha May 29, 2013 31

Thank you so much for this recipe. I love rajma, but could never get it to taste nice, This recipe is so simple and tastes amazing.


dassana May 29, 2013 32

yes neha, this is a simple and quick rajma recipe which taste amazing.


lakshman May 14, 2013 33

Hi Dassana.. Thank you for the recipe.. rajma turned out great..


dassana May 15, 2013 34

thanks lakshman.


Srinivas January 1, 2013 35

Hi Dassana..have asked this qs here before. Pls let me know. When you say – “cover the lid of the pressure cooker and pressure cook the kidney beans for 20-25 minutes”, do we use the weight on top of the cooker and hold for a certain number of whistles? Because I tried without the weight and after 25 minutes, the rajma was as hard as ever…after nearly 10 hours of soaking. Again “pressure cook for 8-10 minutes” – whet does it mean?
Will appreciate any pointers here. Thanks


dassana January 3, 2013 36

hi srinivas, wherever i have mentioned about covering the lid of pressure cooker, it is always locking the pressure cooker with the whistle/vent weight on top. if it was not this case, i will specifically mention otherwise. the soaked rajma won’t cook for 25 mins without the vent weight and the whistles. in fact rajma takes a lot of time almost hours to cook like this. in pressure cooking, steam and pressure are created which help in faster cooking of beans and lentils.

any time when you cook dals or legumes like rajma, chana etc, then add enough water to the legumes. lock the lid to the pressure cooker with the vent weight on top. keep on high or medium flame and then pressure cook – meaning the whistles should blow and for some time. for cooking rajma it can take approx 15 to 25 minutes depending upon the quality of rajma and also if they are properly soaked or not. if even after 20-25 minutes, the rajma has not become soft, then you have to pressure cook more for 5-10 minutes. i hope the rajma masala turned out good inspite of all these hiccups.


Priyanka Nagar October 28, 2012 37

Hi Dassana, can you please let me know how much water you added in step 3 of the recipe? should it just cover the food or should be well above? Thanks!


dassana October 29, 2012 38

hi priyanka, in the recipe details i have mentioned 8-9 cups water as i always add a little extra… sometimes cooking rajma takes a long time. you can add about 6-7 cups of water.


familycook September 30, 2012 39

Haah Dassana! Yet, another successful recipe I have tried from your blog., Rajma masala:)It was super-delicious. Thank ya!


dassana September 30, 2012 40

thanks familycook :-)


Rituparna August 28, 2012 41

Dear Madam
I was searching for some good photos of Rajma for a Jammu and Kashmir project, while going through this website, I came across your and found it truly awesome. I request you to please allow me to use this photo for my project and give your due permission.
Waiting for a positive reply.
Rituparna De


dassana August 28, 2012 42

hi ritu, you can use this photo, but please give the credit source. if it is an online project, then give a link. for an offline project, please mention the source link.


sweta July 26, 2012 43

Loved the recipe…have made rajma many times before…but this is a unique style of preparation…thanks for the recipe :):)


dassana July 26, 2012 44

thanks shweta… it is my mil’s signature dish.


Surbhi January 17, 2012 45

Nice Recipe :)


Sandhya October 17, 2011 46

Quite a lovely method of making Rajma masala…. Sounds interesting !!!


dassana October 17, 2011 47

thanks sandhya


purvi October 13, 2011 48

Lovely goodlooking rajma


siva chavali October 12, 2011 49

I have seen this recipe……the whole taste of Rajma masala comes from finely fried onions….you are not frying onions in this recipe……the taste will not come!!


dassana October 12, 2011 50

there are many variations of rajma masala and this is how it is made at our place.

i have never tasted the one that has fried onions, so i cannot comment on that one. but i know this one is really good and it has been liked by friends and family whenever we have made it…. and yes it is tasty… without any fried onions ;-)


Maria October 10, 2011 51

yummy my favorite rajma….