Rajma Pulao | Kidney Beans Pilaf

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Rajma pulao recipe with step by step photos. This is a fragrant rice pulao or pilaf made with kidney beans, rice, aromatics, herbs and spices. It makes for a filling and heart lunch or dinner. Vegan and gluten-free recipe.

rajma pulao served on a bowl with raita

Rajma or kidney beans are a legume that is a good source of protein, fibre and vitamins-minerals. Apart from making the usual sunday Rajma recipe on weekends, I also make this pulao or this easy Rajma Sundal.

If you like kidney beans, you will like this pulao too. The aroma that will waft in your kitchen when the pressure cooker releases the steam is something you won’t expect from a simple pulao recipe. Try this recipe and you will love it.

When making rajma pulao, make sure that the rajma is cooked well. Usually, rajma or chana are soaked overnight or for 8 to 9 hours so that they take less time to cook.

In the recipe post, I have cooked both kidney beans and rice in a stovetop pressure cooker, but you can also cook them in a pan on the stovetop. Details are given in the notes section of recipe card below. However it will more time to cook them in the pan on the stovetop.

If you have Instant pot then cook the kidney beans in them first adding water as needed and then adapt the recipe with the Instant pot functions.

This delicious rajma pulao goes best with raita. Though a shorba (onion tomato gravy) will also go very well with it. Some more gravies that you can pair can be Mirchi ka Salan or a Veg Kurma. I had made capsicum raita and it complemented the pulao very well.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Rajma Pulao

1. A night before or for 8 to 9 hours, rinse ½ cup rajma a couple of times in fresh water and then soak them in enough water in a bowl.

This recipe will get done quickly and prep time will be reduced if you use canned beans. However I always prefer to use dried beans when making kidney bean recipe. If using canned kidney beans then jump to step 6.

Ensure that you are using the fresh kidney beans and not the aged ones. The rajma should be in their shelf life. The aged rajma beans take a lot of time to cook.

soaking kidney beans

2. The next day, discard the soaked water, then rinse the rajma beans again very well in running water. Drain the water again.

water drained from kidney beans

3. Add the rajma to a 2 litre stovetop pressure cooker along with 2 cups of water. You can also add ¼ teaspoon salt if you want.

kidney beans added to pressure cooker

4. Pressure cook rajma for 15 to 20 whistles or for 12 to 17 minutes. First, I cooked the beans for 15 whistles and found that they were still uncooked from the center. So I pressure cooked for 5 whistles more.

Rajma has to be cooked very well. There should be no rawness or bite in the rajma. Pressure cooking time will vary depending on the quality of the rajma. Fresh kidney beans cook faster than aged beans.

pressure cooked kidney beans

5. When the pressure settles down naturally in the cooker, then only remove the lid. Strain the rajma. Keep aside.

straining cooked kidney beans

6. Before you keep the rajma for cooking, rinse 1 heaped cup of basmati rice very well in water till the water runs clear of starch. Then soak the rice in enough water for 20 to 30 minutes.

Instead of basmati rice, you can also use any non-sticky variety of long-grained rice or medium-grained rice. Sona masuri rice will also work.

rinsing rice

7. After 20 to 30 minutes strain the rice of all the water and keep aside.

water drained from rice

8. In a mortar-pestle take 1 inch ginger (roughly chopped), 6 to 7 garlic cloves (roughly chopped) and 1 or 2 green chilies, chopped.

making ginger garlic and green chili paste

9. Crush to a coarse paste. You can also use a small grinder to make this paste. Keep aside.

prepared ginger garlic and green chili paste

Making rajma pulao

10. Just rinse the same stovetop pressure cooker in which the rajma beans were cooked, with water and then keep it again on the stovetop.

Add 3 tablespoons of oil. When the oil becomes hot, lower the heat and add these whole spices:

  • 1 small to medium tej patta (Indian bay leaf)
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 to 3 green cardamoms
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
spices added to pressure cooker

11. Let the spices crackle on low heat.

crackling spices

12. Now add ⅓ cup thinly sliced onions.

onions added

13. On a low to medium heat, begin sauteing the onions stirring them often.

sauteing onions

14. Saute the onions till they start to become golden.

sauteing onions till golden

15. Now add the crushed ginger+garlic+green chilli paste along with ¼ cup chopped coriander leaves.

crushed ginger+garlic+green chilli paste added

16. Stir and saute on low heat till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away. This takes a few seconds.

sauteing ginger+garlic+green chilli paste

17. Add the cooked rajma beans.

cooked rajma added

18. Next add ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder, ½ teaspoon red chili powder and ½ teaspoon coriander powder. Stir and mix well.

spices added

19. Add the soaked rice.

soaked rice added

20. Season with salt as required.

salt added

21. Gently stir and mix the rice and salt with the rest of the ingredients.

mixing rice and salt with rest of ingredients

22. Now add 2 cups of water. You can add 1.75 cups to 2 cups of water. Do add water depending on the quality of basmati rice. Stir and mix very well. Check the taste of the water and it should taste a bit salty.

water added to pulao

23. Lastly add ½ teaspoon lemon juice and stir again.

lemon juice added

24. Cover and pressure cook pulao on a medium to high heat for 2 to 3 whistles or 8 to 9 minutes. When the pressure comes down on its own, then only open the lid and gently fluff the pulao.

pressure cooking - rajma pulao

25. Serve rajma pulao hot garnished with some chopped coriander leaves with your favorite raita or salad or mango pickle. I served it with capsicum raita.

rajma pulao served on a bowl with raita


Few more pulao varieties for you !

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rajma pulao recipe, rajma rice

Rajma Pulao

Aromatic spiced kidney beans pulao made with kidney beans, basmati rice, onions, herbs and spices.
4.78 from 9 votes
Prep Time 9 hrs
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 9 hrs 35 mins
Cuisine North Indian
Course Main Course
Diet Vegan, Vegetarian
Difficulty Level Moderate
Servings 2
Units

Ingredients

for cooking rajma

  • ½ cup rajma (kidney beans) or 90 to 100 grams rajma
  • 2 cups water for pressure cooking
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (optional)

whole spices

  • 1 small to medium tej patta (indian bay leaf)
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 to 3 green cardamoms
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds – shah jeera also can be added instead of cumin seeds

to be crushed to a paste

  • 1 inch ginger or 8 grams ginger
  • 6 to 7 garlic cloves or 7 to 8 grams garlic cloves
  • 1 or 2 green chilies, chopped

other ingredients

  • 3 tablespoon oil
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced or ⅓ cup thinly sliced onions or 60 grams onion, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup chopped coriander leaves (cilantro leaves)
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (ground turmeric)
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon Coriander Powder (ground coriander)
  • 1 cup heaped basmati rice or 200 grams basmati rice, soaked in enough water for 30 minutes
  • 1.75 to 2 cups water (do add water depending on the quality of basmati rice)
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • salt as required
  • 1 to 2 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves for garnish (cilantro leaves)

Instructions
 

cooking rajma

  • A night before or for 8 to 9 hours, rinse ½ cup rajma a couple of times and then soak in water.
  • The next day, discard the soaked water. Then rinse the rajma beans again very well in running water. Drain the water again.
  • Add the rinsed rajma to a 2 litre stovetop pressure cooker along with 2 cups of water. You can also add ¼ teaspoon salt if you want.
  • Pressure cook for 15 to 20 whistles or for 12 to 17 minutes. First I cooked rajma beans for 15 whistles and found that the beans were still uncooked from the center. So I pressure cooked for 5 whistles more. 
  • Rajma has to be cooked very well. There should be no rawness or bite in the rajma. Pressure cooking time will vary depending on quality of rajma.
  • When the pressure settles down on its own in the cooker, then only remove the lid. Strain the rajma. Keep aside.

soaking rice

  • Before you keep the rajma for cooking, rinse 1 heaped cup basmati rice very well in water till the water runs clear of starch. 
  • Then soak the rice in enough water for 20 to 30 minutes. After 20 to 30 minutes strain the rice of all the water and keep aside.

preparing ginger+garlic+green chili paste

  • In a mortar-pestle take roughly chopped ginger, roughly chopped garlic cloves and chopped green chilies.
  • Crush to a coarse paste. You can also use a small grinder to make this paste. Keep aside.
  • Thinly slice one medium onion. Also chop coriander leaves and keep aside.

making rajma pulao

  • Just rinse the same stovetop pressure cooker in which we cooked rajma beans, with water and then keep again on stove top. Add oil. 
  • When the oil becomes hot, lower the heat and add these whole spices – tej patta, cloves, green cardamoms, black cardamom, cinnamon and cumin seeds.
  • Let the spices crackle.
  • Now add thinly sliced onions. On a low to medium heat, begin sauteing the onions. Saute the onions stirring often till they start to become golden.
  • Now add the crushed ginger+garlic+green chilli paste along with chopped coriander leaves.
  • Stir and saute till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away. This takes a few seconds.
  • Add the cooked rajma beans.
  • Next add turmeric powder, red chili powder and coriander powder. Stir and mix well.
  • Add the soaked rice. Season with salt as required.
  • Gently stir and mix the rice and salt with the rest of the ingredients.

cooking rajma pulao

  • Now add 2 cups water. You can add 1.75 cups to 2 cups of water. Do add water depending on the quality of basmati rice.
  • Lastly add lemon juice and stir again.
  • Cover and pressure cook the pulao on a medium to high heat for 2 to 3 whistles or 8 to 9 minutes.
  • When the pressure comes down on its own, then only open the lid and gently fluff the pulao.
  • Garnish with some chopped coriander leaves and serve rajma pulao hot with your favorite raita or salad or pickle.

Notes

  • The aged basmati rice will give the best texture and taste. However you can opt to make this recipe with any non-sticky variety of rice.
  • Use fresh kidney beans as it is the star ingredient in this dish. The aged kidney beans take a lot of time to cook. So ensure that the kidney beans you are using are in their shelf period.
  • Also soak the kidney beans for 8 to 9 hours so that they cook faster.
  • This recipe can be scaled to make a big batch.
  • If you want to make this rajma pulao in an Instant pot then first cook the rajma in the Instant pot adding water as needed. Then adapt the same recipe with the Instant pot functions.
– for cooking kidney beans in a pot or pan:
Take a deep bottomed pan or pot. Add 2.5 to 3 cups of water along with the kidney beans. Cover the pan and on a medium to high flame cook the beans. If required add more hot water.
– for cooking pulao in a pot.
Add 2 cups water. On a low to medium flame, cover and cook till rice is done.

Nutrition Info (Approximate values)

Nutrition Facts
Rajma Pulao
Amount Per Serving
Calories 741 Calories from Fat 207
% Daily Value*
Fat 23g35%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 18g
Sodium 1144mg50%
Potassium 905mg26%
Carbohydrates 116g39%
Fiber 13g54%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 19g38%
Vitamin A 310IU6%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 3mg15%
Vitamin B6 1mg50%
Vitamin C 17mg21%
Vitamin E 9mg60%
Vitamin K 12µg11%
Calcium 127mg13%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 197µg49%
Iron 5mg28%
Magnesium 110mg28%
Phosphorus 329mg33%
Zinc 3mg20%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This Rajma Pulao post from the blog archives first published in May 2016 has been republished and updated on 20 January 2022.

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Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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26 Comments

  1. Mam, all your recepies are just awesome and mouth watering.i always try to check your webpage before starting any spl recepies and all of them come out very well. Thank you soo much for this step by step procedure with picture, it really helps.5 stars

    1. thanks a lot padma. glad to know that the recipes turn out good and that the step by step format is of help. welcome and happy cooking.

  2. Your recipes are making me a very good cook.. superrrb dish! I just added tomatoes so as to make it little gravy4 stars

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