Rajma or Razma Masala, is a popular vegetarian curry originating from North India. This North Indian melt-in-your-mouth kidney Bean Curry is made with rajma. In this curry, red kidney beans are soaked overnight, cooked in a spicy and thick onion tomato gravy consisting whole and powdered spices.
These melt-in-mouth kidney beans coated in a thick and spicy masala gravy are loaded with mesmerizing aroma and spell-binding flavor. Rajma Masala is usually served with steamed basmati rice and it is one of the staple foods in Northern India. Rajma Masala is an entirely vegan & gluten-free dish.
What is Rajma Masala?
Rajma masala is a famous vegan-vegetarian side dish which has its origin from the Indian subcontinent. This flavorsome and succulent dish consists of rajma (red kidney beans) in a thick gravy with an array of fragrant whole and powdered spices. You can make this dish using a traditional stovetop pressure cooker or an electric pressure cooker such as an Instant Pot.
Rajma masala is best served with rice, and this combo is called Rajma Chawal — the ultimate comfort food. Just combine rajma with some rice, and you are all set to go on a journey of joy and comfort.
How to Serve Instant Pot Rajma Masala?
What is Rajma Chawal?
Rajma Chawal is a crowd-pleasing North Indian dish. When you mingle Rajma Masala curry with rice, the whole dish is referred to as Rajma Chawal. Rajma and Chawal and a match made in heaven. The combination of Rajma and chawal (rice) typically ranks amongst top favorite dishes with North Indians.
In Punjabi families, folks love greeting their guests with tender Rajma Chawal topped with pure homemade white butter aka desi makkhan. Stuff your mouth with a spoonful of rajma chawal or shove it off using your hands. The choice is up to you. No matter how you eat it, this dish would always taste awesome.
How to serve Rajma Chawal?
To serve Rajma Chawal, simply put hot steamed rice in a bowl and press it with a spoon, so that it holds the shape. Then flip it on a serving plate. Top it with a generous amount of hot Rajma Masala. And for a final touch garnish it dish with fresh coriander leaves and some onion rings. You can also add a dollop of butter on top if you like it.
How many types of Rajma or kidney beans are available?
There are usually 4 types of Rajma available:
Red Rajma (Red Kidney Beans): Red rajma or ‘lal rajma’ are dark red and they have a velvety texture and have a great flavor. This type of rajma is accessible in small as well as in big sizes. The additional wonderful thing about this rajma is that they hold their shape well during boiling/cooking. They are ideal for those cooking dishes where simmering is required.
Kashmiri Rajma/ Jammu Rajma (Kashmiri kidney beans): Then there is another popular rajma beans known as Kashmiri Rajma. This Rajma is grown in the north Indian state of Himachal Pradesh and the Jammu region of Jammu and Kashmir. These red kidney beans are smaller in size and have a slightly sweeter taste.
They taste delicious and have a delicate aroma. Since this type of rajma is smaller in size, you don’t have to immerse this rajma overnight or 7-8 hours. To cook Kashmiri rajma, you simply need to soak them for 4-5 hours before cooking.
Chitra Rajma (Speckled Kidney Beans or Rajma White beans ): These are either white or light brown in color. They are very soft in texture and have a more delicate taste. This type of rajma bean is considered to be of the finest quality. Chitra Rajma beans are high in fiber content, that’s why this prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal.
Black Rajma (black beans, pinto beans or navy beans): Black Rajma beans are the most common type of kidney beans, which are easily available in both small and big sizes. This Rajma is known for its distinct taste and color. This is also a great source of protein and fibers.
How to Make Rajma Masala?
Rajma Masala or red bean curry is a vegetarian bean-based curry which is a very famous dish in the Northern states of India. The most popular way of cooking Rajma Masala is the Punjabi way of cooking. This rajma Masala has the perfect texture, flavor, and aroma.
In you soak the rajma beans overnight in water. Then you boil it using a pan or a pressure cooker. Once the rajma is cooked, you then mix it with masala gravy made with chopped onions, pureed tomato, ginger, garlic and the combination of whole and powdered spices. Finally, garnish with fresh cilantro leaves. Serve hot Rajma Masala with some , or
What are the health benefits for Rajma beans?
is also known as Red Kidney Beans. They are rich in protein, making them excellent heart-healthy food choices, and also serve as a great source of protein in vegetarian dishes. Rajma beans are also low in fat & cholesterol. They are a rich source of fiber.
How to make Rajma in Instant Pot?
The traditional recipe of Indian Rajma masala calls for pressure cooking. In India, rajma and other beans are always cooked in a traditional stovetop pressure cooker. The reason is that the rajma or red kidney beans take longer to cook, and pressure cooking is the best for the dishes who take a longer time to cook.
So Instant pot (IP) is the best alternative to old stovetop pressure cooker when it comes to cooking rajma or any other beans. Cooking rajma in Instant Pot is much more convenient. It doesn’t require any babysitting.
Simply throw all the ingredients in the Instant Pot (IP) and then the IP would do its magic. Instant Pot Rajma Masala Recipe is an excellent way to savor authentic Punjabi Rajma Masala with fewer efforts.
For this Instant Pot Rajma Masala recipe, I cooked my rajma masala on high pressure for 35 minutes. But you can also make the Rajma masala using “Bean/Chili” mode.
What is my preferred method of cooking authentic Punjabi Rajma Masala in the instant pot?
Soak the rajma beans in plenty of water for about 8 hours or overnight. Puree tomatoes, ginger, and garlic in a blender. Set it aside. Start the instant pot in ‘SAUTE’ mode. Select the “MEDIUM” temperature setting, and let it heat until it displays “HOT”. Now add oil, cumin seeds and bay leaf and cloves to it. Saute for a few seconds.
Add chopped onions, and saute for 3 minutes. Now add tomato and ginger and garlic puree to it. Stir well and saute for about 3 minutes. Add salt and mix everything well. Add slit green chilies, red chili powder, coriander powder, and cumin powder to the instant pot. Stir and saute for 2 more minutes.
Add the soaked rajma and water to the instant pot. Stir everything well. Cover the instant pot with lid, set the valve to sealing position. Select manual/pressure cooking on HIGH pressure for 35 minutes.
Once the instant pot beeps, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then quick release.
Carefully turn steam release handle to “VENTING” position, and let steam fully escape. Remove the lid from the cooker, and press cancel. Now press saute mode. Lightly mash some of the cooked rajma beans between two ladles in the instant pot. This will thicken the gravy.
Add Kasuri methi, cumin powder, and coriander powder. Mix everything well and cook for another 2 minutes. Turn off the Instant Pot. Your Rajma Masala is ready. Serve with rice or roti.
How to make Rajma in a Stovetop Pressure Cooker?
Soak the rajma beans in plenty of water for about 8 hours or overnight. Puree tomatoes, ginger, and garlic in a blender. Set it aside. Heat a pressure cooker over medium heat.
Add oil, cumin seeds, and bay leaf and cloves to it. Saute for a few seconds.
Add chopped onions, and saute for 3 minutes. Now add tomato and ginger and garlic puree to it. Stir well and saute for about 3 minutes. Add salt and mix everything well. Add slit green chilies, red chili powder, coriander powder, and cumin powder to the pressure cooker. Stir and saute for 2 more minutes.
Add the soaked rajma and water to the pressure cooker. Stir everything well. Cover the pressure cooker with lid and pressure cook rajma on high heat for 5-6 whistles, and then cook on medium heat for 15 minutes.
Let the pressure go off completely, before opening the lid.
Remove the lid from the cooker. Lightly mash some of the cooked rajma beans between two ladles in the instant pot. This will thicken the gravy.
Add Kasuri methi, cumin powder, and coriander powder. Mix everything well and cook for another 2 minutes. Turn off the cooker. Rajma masala is ready. Serve with rice or roti.
Is it necessary to soak kidney beans before cooking?
I would say yes. In most of the Indian dishes where you need to add Rajma beans, they need to be well cooked, velvety and melt-in-mouth. Soaking them in water makes them softer and they easily get cooked in lesser time. Also soaked Rajma aids in digestion, thus, it is light on the stomach.
Studies also show that eating kidney beans which aren’t properly cooked can cause gastrointestinal symptoms. So there is another reason to soak the rajma before cooking it.
However, some people like to use rajma without soaking. So it’s entirely up to you whether to soak the beans or not. In addition to increasing the cooking time – just keep in mind that if you decide to use unsoaked rajma then add more water while cooking.
This is because soaked kidney beans absorb water while soaking, that’s why you need to add extra water if you are using unsoaked kidney beans.
I forgot to soak kidney beans overnight, can I still make Rajma masala?
No worries, if you forgot to soak rajma beans. You can still make rajma masala using this . There is a quick rajma soaking method. Lightly dry roast rajma in a pan and soak in warm or hot water for 2 hours before cooking. Your soaked rajma is ready for cooking.
Can I use canned beans in this Instant Pot Rajma Masala recipe?
Yes, you can use canned kidney beans for cooking this Instant Pot Rajma Masala recipe. If you are planning to use canned kidney beans in this rajma masala recipe, then simply reduce the cooking time.
You only need to cook them for just 5 minutes on high pressure. 5 minutes are enough for the canned beans to absorb-in the delectable flavors of curry.
Tips for making Instant Pot Rajma Masala:
- Red beans take longer to cook when they are old. Make sure that you use the beans which are not too old.
- I did not add any Rajma Masala Powder, but to make it more flavorful you can also add some readymade Rajma Masala Powder along with the spices I wrote in the recipe. Just make sure to reduce the amount of other powdered spices by 1/4 th when you are adding readymade rajma masala powder.
- I pureed ginger garlic with tomatoes, but if you like you can also use minced ginger and garlic instead of pureeing them with tomatoes.
Here are some awesome Instant Pot Vegetarian Recipes for you to try: