Rajma Curry: The Perfect Protein-Rich Companion To Rice

It would be shocking to hear that “Rajma”, a famous North Indian dish is not Native to India, but it is true. Rajma or Red Lobia is Mexican Red Kidney beans. They were carried by the sailors and traders of Portugal and Spain on the ships, due to their high content of Protein, amino acid and carbonitride, Zinc and Iron. Through these ships, red kidney beans reached Europe, Africa and eventually Asia.

Red Kidney beans are known to us Indians as Creamy, Sweet and thick Textured curry served with rice. Rajma rice can be found everywhere in the upper and central part of the Indian subcontinent from the valley of Kashmir to the deserts of Gujrat. The recipe may vary from place to place but the basics are standard everywhere. The beans are soaked overnight and then cooked in a paste of ginger, garlic, onion and tomato. 

There is a specific kind of recipe which is prevalent among the Kashmiri Pandits, Jains and some other communities who tend to avoid garlic, onion and tomatoes while cooking their Rajma rice. In this particular kind of recipe no onion, garlic or tomatoes are used, the curry is made up of Whisked curd and mashing the beans. 


  • Rajma - 250 gms
  • Turmeric Powder - 1/2 teaspoon
  • Black Cardamom/ Badi Elaichi - 1 crushed
  • Ginger Powder - 1 teaspoon levelled
  • Fennel Powder - 1 teaspoon heaped
  • Red Chilli Powder - 1 tablespoon
  • Mustard Oil - 1 tablespoon
  • Salt - To taste
  • Hing - Pinch
  • Vaer Masala - 1 teaspoon (if available)
  • Bay leaves (Tej Patta) - 2 small
  • Cinnamon Stick – 1 (approx 2-3 inches)
  • Clove - 4
  • Coriander powder (Dhaniya Powder) - 1 tablespoon
  • Water - 3 levels above Rajma


  • Wash and soak the Rajma for 6 to 8 hours or overnight
  • Drain the water and add the Rajma in a pressure cooker along with 3 cups of water, 2 tsp of salt (preferably according to the taste), fennel powder, ginger powder, turmeric powder, cloves, cinnamon, black cardamom, tej patta and heeng
  • Pressure cook until the rajma is soft - 10 to 15 minus approx
  • Remove the cooker from the heat and keep it aside

Tadka/Tempering -

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of mustard oil in a pan, add cumin seeds and let them crackle, add red chilli powder (be careful not to burn the spice - can add a few drops of water). Cook till oil separates
  • Add cooked Rajma along with the water, to the tadka. Mash a few pieces of rajma while it is simmering
  • Add coriander powder and Vaer tikki masala (if available) and let it simmer till you get a creamy consistency
  • Alternatively, you can add Anardana powder / Amchoor powder or lemon juice. This helps in bringing the flavours together
  • Before serving add a dollop of ghee or butter
  • This kidney bean curry recipe is usually served and enjoyed over a plate of hot steamy rice along with some pickles aside.