Rajma Masala / Kidney Beans Curry – Instant Pot, Pressure Cooker

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Rajma Masala is a popular dish from North Indian Cuisine. Made by simmering kidney beans in an onion-tomato base sauce and some aromatic Indian spices. It is highly nutritious, delicious, one-pot meal. Excellent protein rich diet for vegetarians, and great for meatless options as well. Rajma Masala is typically served over steamed white rice. This recipe is VEGAN, GLUTEN-FREE

 

Rajma Masala - Instant Pot, Stove Top

 

RAJMA MASALA

Rajma, also known as kidney beans curry, is a popular dish from northern state of Punjab, India. Traditionally, rajma is soaked overnight, boiled, and mixed with onion-tomato based sauce, called “Bhuna Masala” in Hindi. Slow cooked with aromatic Indian spices, until it reaches a thick, stew like-consistency. Slow cooking enhances the flavors of this simple dish.

I am sharing my recipe for one-pot Rajma Masala, thus making it little easier. I cook the soaked rajma along with the onion-tomato sauce, and then pressure cook it to infuse all the flavors from the aromatic spices. Thus, keeping it simple, one-pot meal, great for those busy weeknights.

I am also sharing a PIP (pot-in-pot) method for cooking brown rice. Since, kidney beans and brown rice take around same amount of time to cook, you can also cook rice at the same time. Meals can’t be easier than this!!

Typically, Rajma Masala is served over steamed white rice (Chawal) and some onion salad, but you can also serve it with some Indian flatbread, roti or naan. I like to serve Rajma masala with some steamed Basmati Rice, some homemade yogurt and some salad!

Pic Shown: Rajma Masala 

 

Rajma Masala - Instant Pot, Stove Top

 

HOW TO COOK RAJMA MASALA

Preparing this Rajma Masala is very easy, the only preparation involved in this recipe is the soaking time. I prefer soaking kidney beans / rajma overnight or minimum of 4 hours. I believe soaking the kidney beans not only reduces the cooking time but also enhances the flavors.

There are couple of ways you can make this Rajma Masala, kidney beans/rajma can be boiled first and then slow cooked in onion, tomato gravy or you can make it as a one pot, which is what I am going to do today. There are mainly two types of kidney beans / rajma available in Indian grocery stores, light kidney beans or dark kidney beans. I am using light kidney beans for this recipe.

In India, pressure cooker is used to cook the beans. I remember my mom always used a pressure cooker to cook beans. It is so easy and convenient to cook beans in a pressure cooker. I love to cook beans in Instant Pot, it is so convenient. 

PREP FOR RAJMA MASALA

Drain and rinse soaked beans. Keep it aside.

Make onion-garlic paste. Blend onion, garlic into a smooth paste. Keep it aside.

Note: Add water as required to blend.

Make tomato puree. Blend tomatoes, green chili, ginger into a smooth puree. Keep it aside.

INSTANT POT RAJMA MASALA

Turn ON SAUTE (more). When it display “HOT”, add oil, cumin seeds, and onion-garlic paste. Saute for 2-3 minutes, stir frequently.

Note: Cook the paste down, until almost all the moisture has evaporated. 

 

 

Add tomato puree, dry spices – coriander powder, red chili powder, turmeric, dry mango powder and salt to taste. Saute for 3-5 minutes, or until oil separates from the tomato puree.

 

 

Add rinsed beans and fresh water, salt to taste. Mix well.

 

 

Optional: Place a trivet. In a insert (bowl) add all the ingredients for brown rice and place the insert on the trivet. Close the lid with vent on sealing position.

Turn ON MANUAL / PRESSURE COOK (high) for 30 minutes. Let pressure release naturally.

Note: For no-soak beans, pressure cook for 50 minutes.

Open the lid, check if the beans are soft and cooked. If required, add few minutes of pressure cooking.

Turn ON SAUTE (more), add garam masala, lemon juice. Simmer for few minutes or until desired thickness.

Note: Sauce thickens as it cools.

 

 

Adjust the consistency of the gravy, if desired add more water. Garnish with some fresh coriander. Serve hot with steamed rice.

Pic Shown: Rajma Masala

 

 

RAJMA MASALA AND BROWN RICE USING PIP (POT-IN-POT)

I absolutely love this concept of pot-in-pot cooking. Getting entire meal done in just one pot. How cool it is?? However, it is important to understand how pot-in-pot method works.

So basically, pot-in-pot cooking means, that multiple things can be cooked at the same time in the main pot (Instant Pot) using multiple, smaller pots or inserts that easily fit into the main pot.

For pot-in-pot cooking, I use the following stack-able egg trivet (just the tall trivet). It’s dual purpose you can use this for pot-in-pot cooking as well as for cooking eggs in Instant Pot. I also use stainless steel inserts or pots that easily fit into 5 quarts or larger Instant Pot.

 

Food that have similar cooking time can be cooked using this method. For example, Rajma Masala, it takes 30 minutes for dal to cook on Bean/Chili mode. Brown rice takes about 22-25 minutes of cooking. So, Rajma Masala and brown rice can be cooked together using pot-in-pot method.

Similarly, you can also cook Dal Makhani (Madras Lentils) and brown rice using pot-in-pot method. Here’s the recipe for Dal Makhani if you would like to check it out.

STOVE TOP RAJMA MASALA

Follow the recipe as discussed earlier. Close the pressure cooker, after the first whistle, reduce the heat to low and cook for 25-30 minutes. Let pressure release naturally. Rest of the recipe is same as Instant Pot.

Pic Shown: Rajma Masala

 

Rajma Masala - Instant Pot, Stove Top

 

PRO TIPS FOR BEST RAJMA MASALA

SOAKING BEANS – I prefer to soak kidney beans overnight or minimum of 4 hours prior to cooking. Soaking the beans not only reduces the cooking time but it also enhances the taste and flavor of Rajma Masala. If using dry beans, double the cooking time.

LIGHT OR DARK KIDNEY BEANS – I use both, light and dark kidney beans depending upon the availability. Light kidney beans take less time to cook as compared to dark ones. Adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Also, depending upon the type of beans used, the Rajma masala will turn out light or dark in color.

SAUCE OR GRAVY – Onion paste or chopped onions, both work fine in this recipe. However, if using the onion paste, cook the paste down. Beans absorb flavors from the sauce, so depending upon how flavorful the sauce is, the Rajma Masala will turn out. 

FRESH OR CANNED TOMATOES – I use both fresh or canned tomatoes, depending upon the availability. With canned tomatoes, the sauce turns bright in color. 

COOKING TIME – Depending upon how old the kidney beans are, the cooking time will vary. Sometimes, even after soaking the beans overnight, I still have to cook them longer. Please use timing as a guideline, adjust the cooking time as needed.

Also, light kidney beans take less time as compared to dark ones.

CANNED BEANS – If using canned kidney beans, follow the same recipe, pressure cook for 10 minutes. This will allow beans to absorb all the flavors to blend in well.

FAQ ABOUT RAJMA MASALA

SOAKING KIDNEY BEANS 

I prefer to soak kidney beans overnight or minimum of 4 hours prior to cooking. Soaking the beans not only reduces the cooking time but it also enhances the taste and flavor of Rajma Masala. I remember my mom always use to soak beans for good reasons prior to cooking.

Soaking the beans prior to cooking helps break down some of the complex sugars and also reduces the cooking time. It makes easy to digest for some people. It also cleans them thoroughly (since beans cannot be washed before being sold or they can turn moldy).

Soak beans in enough water overnight or for few hours, discard the water the beans are soaked in, and rinse the beans thoroughly before cooking.

Cooking beans can be very tricky at times. Depending upon the quality of the beans, if it is aged (old), it might take longer to cook even though it is soaked overnight. 

FORGOT TO SOAK BEANS, CAN I STILL MAKE RAJMA

Yes, absolutely you can. Soak the beans in hot water for 45-60 mins, covered. After 60 mins, discard the water beans are soaked in, rinse beans with fresh water and they are ready to be used in the recipe.

You may have to adjust the cooking time, since these may take little longer to cook as compared to once that have been soaked overnight.

CAN I USE CANNED BEANS

Yes, you can use canned beans for this Rajma Masala. Follow the same recipe, drain and rinse the beans. Cook beans on Pressure Cook / Manual mode (high) for 10 minutes. This will allow all the flavors to incorporate well. Rajma masala is ready to be devoured.

Reduce the amount of water to half, as these beans are already cooked. You need water only to make the sauce or gravy.

HOW TO SERVE RAJMA MASALA

Rajma Masala is typically served over steamed white rice (Chawal), some yogurt, and some onion salad. 

I also like to serve Aloo Gobi / Cauliflower Potato Curry as a side dish. 

 

Rajma Masala - Instant Pot, Stove Top

 

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Rajma Masala / Kidney Beans Curry

Rajma Masala / Kidney Beans curry is a very popular kidney beans recipe from Indian Cuisine. This kidney beans is highly nutritious, yummy and an easy one pot meal. An excellent protein rich diet for vegetarians.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian, North Indian
Keyword rajma,rajma chawal,rajma masala,kidney beans,kidney beans curry, instant pot rajma,instant pot rajma masala, pressure cooker recipes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Soaking Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 50 minutes
Servings 4
Author Jyoti Behrani

Ingredients

For onion paste:

  • 1 medium onion
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp water, for making the paste

For tomato puree:

  • 2 medium tomato
  • 1/2 inch ginger
  • 1 green chili, optional

(Optional) For Brown Rice:

  • 1 cup brown rice, rinsed
  • 1.5 cup water
  • 1 tsp oil, optional
  • salt to taste

Instructions

PREP FOR RAJMA MASALA

  • Drain and rinse soaked beans. Keep it aside.
  • Make onion-garlic paste. Blend onion, garlic into a smooth paste. Keep it aside.
    Note: Add water as required to blend.
  • Make tomato puree. Blend tomatoes, green chili, ginger into a smooth puree. Keep it aside.

INSTANT POT RAJMA MASALA

  • You will need Instant Pot
    Optional: Insert PanTrivetSteel Tongs
  • Turn ON SAUTE (more). When it display “HOT”, add oil, cumin seeds, and onion-garlic paste. Saute for 2-3 minutes, stir frequently.
    Note: Cook the paste down, until almost all the moisture has evaporated.
  • Add tomato puree, dry spices – coriander powder, red chili powder, turmeric, dry mango powder and salt to taste. Saute for 3-5 minutes, or until oil separates from the tomato puree.
  • Add rinsed beans and fresh water, salt to taste. Mix well.
  • Optional: Place a trivet. In a insert (bowl) add all the ingredients for brown rice and place the insert on the trivet. Close the lid with vent on sealing position.
  • Turn ON MANUAL / PRESSURE COOK (high) for 30 minutes. Let pressure release naturally.
    Note: For no-soak beans, pressure cook for 50 minutes.
  • Open the lid, check if the beans are soft and cooked. If required, add few minutes of pressure cooking.
  • Turn ON SAUTE (more), add garam masala, lemon juice. Simmer for few minutes or until desired thickness.
    Note: Sauce thickens as it cools.
  • Adjust the consistency of the gravy, if desired add more water. Garnish with some fresh coriander. Serve hot with steamed rice.

STOVE TOP RAJMA MASALA

  • Follow the recipe as discussed earlier. Close the pressure cooker, after the first whistle, reduce the heat to low and cook for 25-30 minutes. Let pressure release naturally. Rest of the recipe is same as Instant Pot.

Notes

  1. Thoroughly wash beans and soak them in enough water (beans:water = 1 cup:3 cup) overnight or 4 hours. Before cooking beans, discard the water the beans were soaked in, rinse beans and use them as suggested.
  2. For no-soak beans, increase the cooking time to 50 minutes. Rest is same. 
  3. I prefer onion paste, it gives nice texture to the gravy. But you can use chopped onions, tomatoes for this recipe as well. If using onion paste, cook the paste properly. 
  4. Cooking Rajma Masala can be very tricky at times. Depending upon the quality of the beans, if it is aged/old, it might take longer to cook even though it is soaked overnight. Please use timing as a guideline. If required add additional cooking time. 
  5. Canned beans can also be used in this recipe. Follow the same recipe, drain and rinse the beans. Cook beans on Pressure Cook / Manual (high) for 10 minutes. This will allow all the flavors to incorporate well. Reduce the amount of water to half, as these beans are already cooked. You need water only to make the sauce or gravy.
  6. Rajma Masala tastes even better the next day, as the beans soak up all the flavors.
  7. For brown rice, we like the rice well done. Ratio 1:1.25, rice:water can also be used.
  8. PRO TIPS FOR RAJMA MASALA - please refer to the post earlier
  9. FAQ ABOUT RAJMA MASALA - please refer to the post earlier

 

 

 

 

Jyoti Behrani

Hello!! Welcome to my blog, my journey Living Smart and Healthy! Cook with me easy and authentic Indian food and around the globe. Will be sharing tips and tricks on easy authentic cooking, without spending hours in the kitchen or comprising on authentic flavors. Keeping things simple and healthy is what I am all about. Life is simple, so lets keep cooking simple too!!

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