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Punjabi Rajma Masala

Rajma Masala / Kidney Beans Curry

Jyoti Behrani
Rajma Masala is a popular dish from Indian Cuisine. Kidney beans are simmered in an onion-tomato base sauce and some aromatic Indian spices.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Soaking Time 4 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 50 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian, North Indian
Servings 4




  • 1 medium red or yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon water for grinding


  • 2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 inch ginger
  • 1-2 green chili, adjust to taste


  • 1 cup brown rice, rinsed
  • 1/5 cups water
  • 1 tsp ghee or oil; For vegan use oil
  • salt to taste



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


  • You will need Instant Pot
    Optional: Insert PanTrivetSteel Tongs
    Turn ON SAUTE (more). When it displays “HOT”, add oil, cumin seeds, and onion-garlic paste. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.
    Note: Cook the pastedown, 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. Sauté for 3-5 minutes, or until oil separates from the tomato puree.
  • Add rinsed beans and freshwater, and salt to taste. Mix well.
  • Optional: Place a trivet. In an insert (bowl) add all the ingredients for brown rice and place the insert on the trivet. Close the lid with a vent in the 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, and check if the beans are soft and cooked. If required, add a few minutes of pressure cooking.
  • Turn ON SAUTE (more), and add garam masala, and lemon juice. Simmer for a 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.


  • 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. The rest of the recipe is the same as Instant Pot.


  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. Tips For Best Rajma Masala - please refer to the post earlier
  9. Frequently Asked Questions - please refer to the post earlier
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