rajma recipe, how to make rajma masala | easy punjabi rajma recipe

rajma recipe

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, dal bukhara and aloo paratha.

punjabi rajma recipe below:

4.5 from 10 reviews
rajma recipe
simple and easy rajma masala or kidney beans curry
CUISINE: north indian, punjabi
INGREDIENTS (measuring cup used, 1 cup = 250 ml)
  • 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 (haldi)
  • 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.
if cooking rajma in a pot or pan:
first soak the rajma as usual for 8-9 hours. drain them and rinse them with fresh water. then in a huge pot, boil enough water first. add the rajma and salt. cook covered for about 45 to 1 hour or more if required. it takes a long time to cook rajma without a pressure cooker.

{ 77 Responses }

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  1. Anuja Ameya Nagarkar says

    Dear Dassana,

    Just tried dis recipe and couldn’t stop myself from commenting and thanking you for dis amazing recipe.. Thank you :)

  2. himani sanwal bisht says

    Dear Dassana,
    The rajma dish cooked this way came out really really well. My husband who usually doesn’t like rajma cooked by me, literally licked the plate clean after having it. :) 8-). My mother also used to cook chhole in a similar way. Such a nice recipe and so simple!!!!
    Thanks for sharing. I can make rajma often now. :) :)

  3. preeti says

    Oops! I’ve added garam masala and aamchur masala in the begginning by mistake….will it spoil the taste of rajma???

  4. natalie says

    you should really sautee the cumin seed then onion before adding water/cooking. Makes a huge difference in taste.

    • says

      there is a difference in taste if sauteed the cumin and onions. i have also posted a rajma recipe made this way. this particular recipe is my mother in law’s recipe and the way she has been making rajma for years now. i have stayed true to her recipe and not deviated at all. hence no sauting in this recipe.

    • says

      in this recipe, for 1.5 cups of dried rajma beans,i have added about cups of water overall as everything is being cooked in one pot. but if you just want to cook the rajma and then 4.5 to 5 cups is fine.

    • says

      mukul, first soak the rajma as usual for 8-9 hours. drain them and rinse them with fresh water. then in a huge pot, boil enough water first. add the rajma and salt. cook covered for about 45 to 1 hour or more if required. it takes a long time to cook rajma without a pressure cooker.

  5. Nidhi says

    Hi thanks for the recipe I m going to cook rajma today however I M Stuck With punjabi garam masala where Do You Get It N If Possible To Make at home

  6. trevilla says

    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.

  7. Saifa says

    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.

  8. Binny says

    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.

    • says

      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.

  9. kavya says

    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

  10. Nazneen says

    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 ?

  11. Aarthi says

    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.

  12. says

    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.

  13. Rashmi says

    Hi Dassaana,

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

  14. Padma says

    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.

  15. Roshni says

    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.

  16. poonam says

    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!

  17. Jayashree says

    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

  18. shabnam desai says

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

    • dassana says

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

  19. neha says

    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.

  20. Srinivas says

    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

    • says

      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.

  21. Priyanka Nagar says

    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!

    • says

      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.

  22. Rituparna says

    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

    • says

      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.

  23. sweta says

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

  24. siva chavali says

    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 says

      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 ;-)