rajma masala restaurant style recipe with step by step photos – this is a lightly spiced, creamy and a delicious punjabi curry made with kidney beans. this is my mom’s way of making this famous punjabi curry.
rajma masala is a weekly affair at home and a sunday lunch. so i make rajma masala in three different ways.
1: easy one pot method of making rajma and my mil’s recipe. this is a very homely soupy rajma & comforting.
2: sauting the onion-tomato masala and then simmering the cooked rajma – the most often used method of making rajma masala
3: this restaurant style rajma masala version similar to the above one, but which includes butter and cream.
so depending on the mood or occasion i cook rajma in either of these three ways. according to me the best accompaniments to rajma is steamed basmati rice and the next comes some hot naan or phulka or plain paratha or pudina paratha or tandoori rotis or jeera rice.
this particular recipe of rajma in restaurant style goes very well with both rice as well as naan. and when you have rajma and rice, do you need anything else. in my home there are no side dishes made on the day when rajma is cooked. just the melt in the mouth rajma beans in a creamy curry along with rice and you have a comforting meal.
few more popular north indian recipes you can check are:
- dal makhani (restaurant style)
- amritsari dal (langarwali dal)
- dal bukhara (goes best with butter naan)
- dhaba style dal fry (inspired from the dals served at punjabi dhabas)
- jammu style rajma masala recipe.
while making rajma, the kidney beans have to be cooked very well. they should melt in your mouth when you bite into them offering no resistance. this is very crucial and the most overlooked aspect of cooking rajma. even in restaurants, the beans have a bite in them and this not only ruins the texture in the dish but also affects your stomach.
so its important to soak the rajma or kidney beans overnight or for 8-9 hours and then cook them really well. also buy beans which are new and not old. the older they are they take a lot of time to cook and we don’t get the perfect texture in the rajma. i always check the packaging date while buying them and i don’t buy rajma if they are older than 6 months.
restaurant style rajma masala recipe below:
nutrition info is per serving
- 1 cup rajma OR kidney beans (any variety)
- 1 large onion OR 150 grams onions OR about ¾ to 1 cup finely chopped onions (pyaaz)
- 3 medium or 2 large tomatoes OR 250 grams tomatoes OR 1 cup finely chopped tomatoes (tamatar)
- 3 to 4 medium garlic + 1 inch ginger + 1 to 2 green chilies - crushed to a paste in a mortar-pestle OR about 1 tablespoon ginger + garlic + green chili paste.
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder (dhania powder)
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon red chili powder (lal mirch powder)
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi powder)
- 1 pinch asafoetida (hing) - optional
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon garam masala powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
- 1 teaspoon crushed kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
- 2 tablespoon butter + 1 tablespoon oil OR 3 tablespoon butter
- 2 to 3 tablespoon cream
- 3.5 to 4 cups water for pressure cooking
- 1.5 to 2 cups of rajma stock (the water which is used to cook the rajma) OR plain water for the gravy or curry
- salt as required
- rinse and soak the rajma or kidney beans in enough water overnight or for 8-9 hours.
- next day, discard the water and rinse the beans again in fresh water.
- in a pressure cooker, take both the rajma and 4 cups water.
- pressure cook on a medium to high flame for 15-20 minutes.
- when the rajma is cooking, you can chop the onions, tomatoes etc.
- when the pressure settles down on its own, open the lid,
- check if the rajma is cooked or not by taking a bite or pressing a bean.
if the rajma are not cooked completely, then pressure cook again adding some water if required for some minutes.
- heat oil + butter in another pot or pan. add cumin first and let them crackle & get browned.
- then add onions and saute them till they caramelized or golden browned.
- take care not to burn them as this will impart bitter tones in the curry.
- light browning the onions is also alright.
- keep on stirring the onions while sauting them, for uniform cooking and also so that they don't get burnt.
- add the ginger-garlic-chili paste. stir and saute for 5-10 seconds on a low flame.
- add the tomatoes. saute for 2-3 minutes till the tomatoes become soft.
- add all the spice powders one by one - turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, asafoetida/hing and garam masala powder.
- stir and saute the whole masala mixture till the fat starts leaving the masala.
- use a slotted spoon or a strainer and remove the beans and add them to the masala.
- you can also strain the rajma first and keep it aside.
- keep the stock also aside. stir and saute for a minute.
- take 1.5 to 2 cups from the stock and add to the rajma.
add salt and stir the whole curry mixture.
simmer without a lid for 10-12 minutes or more till the rajma curry thickens slightly. it should not be watery.
mash a few rajma beans with the spoon. this helps to thicken the rajma masala curry.
- when the rajma masala has thickened and comes to the right consistency which is neither too thick nor thin, then add the kasuri methi and cream.
- stir & simmer rajma masala for 30 seconds to 1 minute. switch off the fire.
- serve rajma masala restaurant style with steamed basmati rice, jeera rice or naan.
few tips for making rajma masala recipe:
1. to make this dish gluten free, omit the asafoetida (hing) in the recipe.
2. canned kidney beans can also be used. in this case, just make the curry or sauce first and then add the rajma beans and water.
3. its very important to soak the rajma beans overnight. always use fresh rajma as old rajma takes a long time to cook.
4. rajma beans should be cooked very well and have the melt in the mouth texture.
5. spices in the rajma masala gravy can be adjusted as per your taste.
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 rajma beans covered for about 45 to 1 hour or more if required. it takes a long time to cook rajma without a pressure cooker.
step by step restaurant style rajma masala recipe:
1. rinse and soak 1 cup rajma or kidney beans in enough water overnight or for 8-9 hours.
2. next day discard the soaked water. drain and rinse the soaked beans for a few times in running water.
3. again drain and add the rinsed rajma in a pressure cooker.
4. add 3.5 to 4 cups water and stir. pressure cook the rajma for 18 to 20 whistles or for about 15 to 20 minutes.
5. when the rajma is cooking, you can chop 1 large onion (¾ to 1 cup finely chopped onion), 2 large tomatoes (1 cup finely chopped tomatoes) and make the crushed ginger+garlic+green chili paste. 1 inch ginger, 5 to 6 small garlic cloves or 3 to 4 medium garlic cloves & 1-2 green chilies, crushed to a paste or ground to a paste in a mortar-pestle or small grinder.
6. when the pressure settles down on its own, open the lid, check if the rajma is cooked or not by taking a bite or pressing a bean. the rajma beans should be completely cooked. if they are not cooked completely, then pressure cook again adding some water if required for some minutes.
7. heat 3 tbsp butter or 2 tbsp butter + 1 tbsp oil in another pot or pan or kadai.
8. add ½ tsp cumin first and let them crackle & get browned.
9. then add onions.
10. stir and saute them.
11. keep on stirring the onions while sauteing them, for uniform cooking and also so that they don’t get burnt. take care not to burn them as this will impart bitter tones in the curry.
12. light browning the onions is also alright.
13. saute the onions till they are caramelized or golden browned.
14. add the ginger-garlic-chili paste.
15. stir and saute for 5-10 seconds on a low flame or till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away.
16. add the tomatoes.
17. stir well.
18. saute for 2-3 minutes till the tomatoes become soft.
19. add all the spice powders one by one – ¼ tsp turmeric powder, ½ tsp red chili powder, 1 tsp coriander powder, a pinch of asafoetida/hing and ½ tsp garam masala powder.
20. stir well.
21. saute the whole masala mixture till the fat starts leaving the masala.
22. use a slotted spoon or a strainer and remove the rajma beans and add them to the masala. you can also strain the rajma first and keep it aside. keep the stock also aside.
23. stir and saute for a minute.
24. take 2 cups from the stock or a mixture of stock+water and add to the rajma.
25. add salt as required.
26. stir the whole curry mixture.
27. simmer without a lid for 10-12 minutes or more till the rajma masala curry thickens slightly. the gravy should not be watery.
28. mash a few rajma beans with the spoon. this helps to thicken the rajma curry.
29. continue to simmer till you get a medium gravy consistency.
30. do stir at intervals when the rajma masala is simmering.
31. the punjabi rajma masala has to thicken and the gravy has be of the right consistency, which is neither too thick nor thin.
32. then add the 1 tsp kasuri methi, crushed and 2 to 3 tbsp cream. stir very well & simmer rajma masala for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
33. switch off the fire.