Rajma recipe With step by step photos. This is a lightly spiced, creamy and a delicious Punjabi curry made with kidney beans, onions, tomatoes and spices. This is my mom’s way of making this famous and truly restaurant style Punjabi rajma masala.
Rajma masala is a weekly affair at home and a sunday lunch. This particular rajma recipe made 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.
I make rajma recipe in 3 different ways
- Easy One pot method of making rajma and my mother-in-law’s recipe. This is a very homely rajma & comforting. No sautéing of frying of onions or tomatoes etc is done in this recipe.
- The kidney beans are cooked first. Then to the sauteed onion-tomato masala, the cooked kidney beans are added and then simmered for some minutes. This is the most often used method of making rajma.
- This recipe of restaurant-style rajma 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. In Punjabi homes, they often make rajma chawal or kadhi chawal on weekends.
Why to soak rajma overnight?
- While making rajma recipe, 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 to 9 hours and then cook them really well.
- Also buy rajma 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.
How to make rajma recipe
1. Rinse and soak 1 cup rajma or kidney beans in enough water overnight or for 8 to 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 of 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.
Making rajma masala
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 sauté 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 rajma curry.
12. light browning the onions is also alright.
13. Sauté the onions till they are caramelized or golden browned.
14. Add the ginger-garlic-chilli paste.
15. Stir and sauté for 5 to 10 seconds on a low flame or till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away.
16. add the tomatoes.
17. stir well.
18. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes till the tomatoes become soft.
19. Add all the spice powders one by one – ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder, ½ teaspoon red chilli powder, 1 teaspoon coriander powder, a pinch of asafoetida (hing) and ½ teaspoon garam masala powder.
20. stir well.
21. Sauté 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 sauté for a minute.
Cooking rajma curry
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 rajma curry mixture.
27. On a low to medium-low flame, simmer without a lid for 10 to 12 minutes or more till the rajma masala thickens slightly. The rajma curry 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 consistency in the curry.
30. do stir at intervals when the rajma masala is simmering.
31. The Punjabi rajma masala has to thicken and the curry has to be of the right consistency, which is neither too thick nor thin.
32. Then add the 1 teaspoon crushed kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves) and 2 to 3 tablespoons cream (low-fat cream). Stir very well & simmer for 30 seconds to 1 minute. If using heavy whipping cream, then just add 1 tablespoon of it.
33. Switch off the flame.
34. Serve rajma masala restaurant-style with steamed basmati rice, jeera rice, rotis or jeera paratha or naan or saffron rice. The combo of rajma rice or rajma chawal is quite famous.
More awesome Punjabi recipes
for pressure cooking rajma
- 1 cup rajma (kidney beans) - any variety
- 3.5 to 4 cups water for pressure cooking
- enough water for soaking rajma
for rajma masala curry
- 1 large onion or 150 grams onions or about ¾ to 1 cup finely chopped onions
- 3 medium or 2 large tomatoes or 250 grams tomatoes or 1 cup finely chopped tomatoes
- 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 (ground coriander)
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon red chili powder or cayenne pepper or hot paprika
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (ground turmeric)
- 1 pinch asafoetida (hing) - optional
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon garam masala powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon crushed kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
- 2 tablespoon butter + 1 tablespoon oil or 3 tablespoon butter
- 2 to 3 tablespoon cream
- 1.5 to 2 cups of rajma stock (the water which is used to cook the rajma) or plain water for the curry
- salt as required
soaking and pressure cooking rajma
- 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 to 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.
making rajma recipe
- 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 sauteing 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 to 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.
cooking rajma curry
- 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 curry thickens slightly. It should not be watery.
- Mash a few rajma beans with the spoon. This helps to thicken the 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 for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Switch off the fire.
- Serve rajma masala with steamed basmati rice, jeera rice or naan.
- To make this rajma recipe gluten free, omit the asafoetida (hing) in the recipe.
- 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.
- Its very important to soak the rajma beans overnight. Always use fresh rajma as old rajma takes a long time to cook.
- Rajma beans should be cooked very well and have the melt in the mouth texture.
- Spices in the rajma curry can be adjusted as per your taste.
- First soak the rajma as usual for 8 to 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 minutes to 1 hour or more if required. It takes a long time to cook rajma without a pressure cooker.