Punjabi Rajma (Red Kidney Beans)


Rajma is a staple North Indian dish that is enjoyed with rice but goes well with rotis (Indian bread) too.  Rajma is a part of our weekly ritual; every Sunday, we  had rajma chawal, or rice, for lunch.  I have yet to come across any Punjabi who does not like (and crave) rajma!

I make this dish in a pressure cooker as it takes less time and I don’t have to stand by its side–I end up getting other chores done alongside by setting up the kitchen timer.  While this can also be cooked in a pot, it will surely take more time and work–you would have to keep checking so that it does not burn.


Rajma is cooked in different ways.  Some people boil it first and then make curry,  but this separates the water from the rajma.  I make curry first and then add in the rajma, keeping it all consistent and creamy.


You should soak your rajma overnight to lessen your cooking time.  Cooking rajma this way only takes half hour of actual cooking time. The rest will be taken care of by your pressure cooker. Try this and make your own Sunday ritual!

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  • 3 cups rajma (soaked overnight in water)
  • 7 cups water for cooking
  • 5 tbs oil
  • 2 large onions
  • 4 tbs tomato puree (this gives a nice color to the curry) or you can make a puree of 2-3 large tomatoes
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 or 2 bay leaves (optional)
  • 3 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 7 or 8 strings of cilantro
  • 1 tsp garam masala


  1. Wash the soaked rajma and keep them aside.
  2. Puree onions in a blender.
  3. Heat the oil and add in cumin seeds and bay leaves.
  4. Add in the onions and stir.
  5. Once onions are brown, lower the heat and add in ginger and garlic paste and stir.
  6. Stir in coriander powder, red chili powder, and salt.
  7. Add the tomato puree and stir.  When you see the oil separated from the curry, add in rajma and stir.
  8. Add the water, stir, and shut the lid of the pressure cooker.  When you hear the first whistle, lower the heat and set the timer for 60 minutes.
  9. After one hour, switch off the heat and let cool.  (This is important! Once cooled, there is no pressure left and it is safe to open the lid.) Stir/mash the rajma to thicken the gravy.  Add in chopped cilantro and garam masala as garnish. Serve it hot.

Total cooking time: 1 1/2 hr

Serves: 8 – 9 servings

One Comment Add yours

  1. mistimaan says:

    Nice recipe


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