Rajma sundal is a South Indian dish made with kidney beans, coconut, spices and herbs. Sundal is basically a dry legume and lentil preparation and tastes delicious. Rajma sundal can be served as a side dish with a vegetarian meal or can be eaten as is. If you like kidney beans, then surely give this recipe a try.
This recipe of rajma sundal is a unique variant made with kidney beans (also known as rajma in Hindi). To make this dish first the whole spices are sautéed and later the cooked kidney beans are mixed in. Lastly fresh coconut is added to the mix. Rajma sundal is also a vegan dish.
Sundals are prepared during Janmashtami puja or Ganesh Chaturthi or Navratri fasting in South India. If you love sundals then you can prepare them for any occasion. They make a quick and guilt-free snack or brunch. They can also be had as a side dish with roti or even with curd-rice or just plain sambar or rasam and rice.
Sundals are a hit at home. So when the family tasted the Green Peas Sundal and the Channa Sundal, they asked me to make rajma sundal. Why rajma? – because rajma or kidney beans are our favorite beans. I took a long time to share this rajma sundal, although it was on my mind.
How to make Rajma Sundal
1. Rinse 1 cup kidney beans (rajma) couple of times in fresh water. You also have the option to use canned kidney beans if short of time. Usually I always prefer to soak the dried beans and then use them.
If using canned kidney beans, then jump ahead to step 7.
2. Then drain the water and soak the kidney beans overnight or for 8 to 9 hours in enough water in a bowl.
3. Next day drain the water and rinse the rajma beans with fresh water a few times.
4. In a 3 litre stovetop pressure cooker, add the soaked kidney beans. Also, add 1 teaspoon salt and 4 cups water.
You can also cook the beans in an Instant pot adding water as required. I won’t suggest to boil them in a pan on the stovetop as they take a lot of time to cook.
5. Pressure cook the rajma for 15 to 20 minutes on high heat or till they are completely cooked, softened and tender.
Open the lid when the pressure falls naturally in the cooker. Check the cooked beans and there should not be any bite in them.
Take care as the beans will be very hot. You can either mash them with a spoon or do a taste test.
6. Then drain the water and keep the cooked rajma aside.
7. Measure all the ingredients for making the recipe and set them aside.
Making rajma sundal
8. Heat 1 to 2 tablespoon sesame oil in a pan or kadai. This sesame oil is also called as gingelly oil and is made with raw sesame seeds. Instead you can also use sunflower oil or peanut oil.
9. Keep the heat to a low. Add 1 teaspoon mustard seeds and 1 teaspoon split and hulled black gram (urad dal).
10. The mustard seeds will crackle and the urad dal will get browned. Stir often.
11. They almost take the same time to cook on a low heat.
12. Once the urad dal gets golden then add 12 to 15 curry leaves, 2 dry red chilies (broken and seeds removed) and 1 pinch of asafoetida (hing).
13. Fry for few seconds stirring often till the red chillies change color and curry leaves look crisp.
14. Then add the cooked kidney beans.
15. Stir and mix well.
16. Add salt as required.
17. Stir gently and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes on a low to medium heat.
18. Switch off the heat and then add 2 to 3 tablespoons of fresh grated coconut. You can also use frozen grated coconut. Thaw the coconut before adding.
19. Mix well again.
20. Serve rajma sundal as prashad or naivedyam. You can also serve it as a side dish with any vegetarian South Indian meal.
Few more sundal recipes for you!
- Konda kadalai sundal – made with black chickpeas.
- Kadalai paruppu sundal – made with chana dal or husked and split bengal gram.
- Sweet corn sundal – made with corn or makai.
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For pressure cooking
- 1 cup kidney beans (rajma)
- enough water – for soaking rajma overnight
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups water – for pressure cooking rajma
- 1 to 2 tablespoons sesame oil or sunflower oil or peanut oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon urad dal (split and hulled black gram)
- 12 to 15 curry leaves
- 2 dry red chilies (broken and seeds removed)
- 1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
- salt as required
- 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh grated coconut or frozen grated coconut
- Rinse and soak the kidney beans overnight or for 8 to 9 hours in enough water.
- Next day drain the water and rinse the beans a few times with fresh water.
- In a 3 litre stovetop pressure cooker, add the soaked beans. Also add 1 teaspoon salt and 4 cups water. Pressure cook on high heat for 15 to 20 minutes or till the beans are softened and tender.
- Let the pressure fall on its own in the cooker and then only open the lid.
- Check the beans and they should be completely cooked.
- Then drain the water and keep the cooked kidney beans aside.
Making rajma sundal
- Heat 1 to 2 tablespoon sesame oil in a pan or kadai. Keep the heat to a low.
- Add mustard seeds and split hulled black gram (urad dal).
- The mustard seeds will crackle and the urad dal will get browned. Stir often.
- They almost take the same time to cook on a low heat.
- Once the urad dal gets golden then add curry leaves, dry red chilies (broken and seeds removed) and asafoetida (hing).
- Fry for few seconds till the curry leaves become crisp and the red chillies change color.
- Now add the cooked kidney beans. Season with salt according to taste.
- Stir and mix gently. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes on a low to medium heat.
- Switch off the heat and add the fresh grated coconut. Mix well again.
- Serve the rajma sundal as prashad or naivedyam. Or serve with a South Indian vegetarian main course or as a side dish.
- Use kidney beans which are in their shelf period. Do not use aged beans as they will take a lot of time to cook.
- Remember to soak the kidney beans overnight. Feel free to use canned kidney beans instead if short of time.
- The kidney beans can be pressure cooked in the Instant pot also. Add water as required while cooking in the instant pot.
- Instead of dry red chillies, you can add green chillies. You can also swap the chillies with a bit of crushed black pepper.
- If you do not have fresh coconut, then swap it with frozen coconut. Thaw the frozen coconut before adding to the dish.
- This recipe can be doubled.
Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)
This Rajma Sundal post from the blog archives first published in August 2013 has been republished and updated on 19 January 2022.