Rajmah Recipe: How to make Rajmah?

rajmah rajma

Rajmah Recipe / Rajmah rajma: Rajma [raːdʒmaː] (Hindi: राजमा, Urdu: راجما), also known as rajmahrāzmā, or lal lobia, is a vegetarian dish, originating from the Indian subcontinent als The best way to cook a hearty dal is to prepare a rajmah / rajma recipe. The basic ingredients include kidney beans, salt, cumin, and turmeric, and other ingredients may include green chili paste and pickled onions. For an authentic taste, rajma (rajmah chawal)is served with an onion salad and pickled red chilies. 

Ingredients of Rajmah Recipe


  • 1/2 cup red kidney beans
  • 1 large onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1/4 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1 green cardamom
  • 1 clove
  • 1 tablespoon mustard oil
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic
  • 1 green chilli
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin powder
  • salt As required
  • 1/2 tablespoon garam masala powder
  • 1/2 black cardamom
  • 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon ghee

Soak and cook Rajmah Rajma beans

1. Sort dried beans and discard any misshapen or discolored beans. Rinse a couple of times, then soak 1 cup rajma (kidney beans) in enough water to cover them. Soaking should ideally last for 8 to 9 hours, so I usually soak them the night before I cook.

2. Once the beans are well soaked, discard the soaking water. Drain and rinse the soaked beans a few times to remove any leftover grit, if any. Add the rinsed and drained kidney beans to a 3-liter pressure cooker.

3. 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). The cook time of your beans will vary depending on their quality and age.

4. While the kidney beans are cooking, chop one large onion (¾ to 1 cup finely chopped onion), two large tomatoes (1 cup finely chopped tomatoes), and make the crushed ginger+garlic+green chili paste.

5. For the paste, you need to crush or grind 1-inch ginger, 5 to 6 small garlic cloves (or 3 to 4 medium garlic cloves), and 1 to 2 green chilies to a paste in a mortar-pestle or a small grinder.

6. When the pressure settles down on its own in the cooker, open the lid. Check if the rajma is cooked or not by eating or pressing a bean with your fingers. The cooked beans should not have a bite to them and softened, and the rajma beans should be thoroughly-cooked. If they are not cooked thoroughly, pressure cook again (adding some water if required) for a few more minutes.

Make masala base for Rajmah Recipe

7. Heat either three tablespoons of butter (or two tablespoons butter + 1 tablespoon oil) in another pot or pan or Kadai. Keep the heat low or medium-low.

8. Add ½ teaspoon cumin seeds first and let them crackle, and get browned. Then add the finely chopped onions. Stir and begin to sauté them on medium-low to medium heat.

9. Keep stirring the onions while sautéing them, ensuring both uniform cooking and that they don’t get burnt. Don’t burn the onions, as this will impart bitter tones to the rajma curry.

10. Light browning of the onions is also acceptable. Sauté the onions till they are caramelized and golden brown. Lower the heat and add the crushed ginger-garlic-chili paste. Stir and sauté for 5 to 10 seconds on low heat or until the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away.

11. Add the finely chopped tomatoes. Mix very well. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until the tomatoes become soft on medium-low to medium heat.

12. Add all the spice powders one by one:

  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder (or cayenne pepper or paprika)
  • One teaspoon coriander powder
  • a pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala powder.

13. Mix again very well.

14. Continue to sauté the whole masala base until the fat starts leaving the sides of the masala on medium-low heat. The onion tomato masala will thicken, become glossy and start clumping around itself.

15. Use a slotted spoon or a strainer, remove the rajma beans from their cooking liquid and add them to the masala. Stir and sauté for a minute.

If you are unfamiliar with Indian cuisine, try this rajma recipe in the Instant Pot. It is similar to the dal, but it is made using small red kidney beans. If you prefer a milder flavor, try this Punjabi version, and it is also good with a splash of lemon juice and yogurt. The best recipe will satisfy your cravings and satiate your palate!

Make Rajma Masala

16. Add 2 cups of freshwater to the pan. If you like, you can also add the cooked rajma stock instead of freshwater. Add salt as required. Stir the whole rajma curry mixture.

17. On low to medium-low heat, simmer without a lid for 10 to 12 minutes or more until the curry thickens slightly. The rajma curry should not be watery.

18. Mash a few rajma beans with your spoon’s back, which helps to thicken the rajma gravy. Continue to simmer until you get a medium consistency in the curry.

19. Continue stirring at intervals when the rajma masala is simmering. The Punjabi rajma masala has to thicken, and the curry has to be of the right consistency, which is neither too thick nor thin.

20. Once the consistency is right, add one teaspoon crushed Kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves) and 2 to 3 tablespoons light cream. (If using heavy whipping cream, add one tablespoon of it.) Mix very well and simmer for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

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