February 8, 2012

Rajma masala

Rajma a.k.a Red kidney beans masala is a popular & healthy north-Indian recipe. Rajma is known for its high protein content and soluble dietary fiber that helps in lowering blood cholesterol levels.

I remember being introduced to rajma during my school days, after my mom got into the groove of making north Indian curries/gravies. Here is a tip - if you want to introduce something new to your kids/family, just remember - "Food not only should taste great but also look good". This is the only way to get your family keep coming back for the dish again & again. My mom always plays this trick on us - whatever she makes looks great and tastes out-of-the-world. Especially, her delicious rajma masala is simply aromatic & inviting and serves as a great side for soft rotis.

Basic Info
Complexity - Medium
Prep time - 8-10 hrs (includes soaking time)
Cook time - 30 mins
Serves - 4

Rajma (red kidney beans) - 1.5 cups

Onion - 1.5 nos (chopped)
Ginger - 1 inch

Tomatoes - 2-3 nos (medium sized, chopped)
Bell pepper - 1 no (chopped)
Fresh Methi leaves - a handful, optional
Chopped greens -  3-4 cups (spinach, arugula, chard etc or a mix of one or more)

Oil - 1 tbsp 
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp

Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
Amchur powder - 1/2 tsp, replace it with juice from 1/2 lime

Cilantro - a handful, chopped
Dry methi leaves - 1 tbsp, crushed

Salt to taste

Soak rajma for 6-8 hrs (or) overnight in water. On the following day, wash, drain and pressure cook rajma in 3 cups of water for 3 whistles. Drain rajma and keep it aside. Save a cup of drained water to add to the gravy.

Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Add cumin seeds and let them crackle. Add onion, grated ginger and saute until onion turns soft & translucent. Add tomatoes and saute until soft.

Add bell pepper, fresh methi leaves, if using and saute until soft & cooked. Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, salt, garam masala and give it a good mix. Cook until the raw smell of the masala powders are gone.

At this point, you can choose to let this onion/tomato mixture cool and blend it into a smooth paste. Otherwise, continue just as is.

Next, add drained rajma along with chopped greens, if using to onion-tomato mixture along with a cup of reserved water and simmer on medium heat for atleast 10 mins until all the flavors mingle well. Add amchur powder (if using), more salt/water to adjust the gravy to required taste/consistency and give it a good mix.

Garnish with cilantro and serve this delicious recipe with rice/roti.

- Do not over-cook rajma and mush it up.
- Add spices like cinnamon (1 inch piece) / cloves (3 nos) / bay leaves (1 no) along with cumin seeds, if you like to have some masala kick.
- Garnish the gravy with a tbsp of finely chopped mint leaves for a minty zing.
- After you remove the gravy from heat, add lime juice from 1 lime for tangy flavor.


  1. rajma looks delicious..very tempting clicks!!
    Kande Pohe

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