Rajma Masala: Rich Kidney Beans In Punjabi Style Gravy

This vegetarian dish is a great source of protein and minerals. Normally, you need to soak it overnight. By doing this, the rajma does not only become palatable, it also gets rid of toxins and becomes digestible. It is a two-in-one option when you are bored of regular daal and vegetables.

Simple and very easy to make, you can cook it dry or with gravy. You can also twist it by adding saag or by using it with corns as done by the Mexicans. The thick curry with the correct balance of spices is a delicious treat for the young and old alike. Put a dollop of butter in the end and enjoy with rice or roti.

History of Rajma

Although Rajma has earned the title of the quintessential North Indian dish, its’ journey to India is through the land of Pablo Escobar. The red kidney beans were brought to India by the Spaniards and Portuguese. It has been used as a source of protein in Mexico and Guatemala for a thousand years. Because it was a dry product with a long shelf- life, it was a valuable source of protein for sailors. It was often eaten with wheat and corn to make up a wholesome meal without any deficiency of amino acids. As it looks like a kidney, it has been used by Native Americans as a medicine to treat the kidney or bladder. It is cooked by soaking overnight which also destroys lectin, a toxin.

It is full of minerals like Iron, Potassium, and Manganese which is why many deem it too heavy on the stomach. it is advisable to control portions if one is eating it for the first time. It is full of minerals like Iron, Potassium, and Manganese 

It is widely consumed in Punjab province, both in India and Pakistan. It is extremely popular in Nepal too. Often combined with rice, the boiled until cracked rajma soaks all the spice juices.


  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 4 clove garlic and ginger paste
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 4 green chilies
  • 3 tbsp Oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup of red kidney beans
  • Salt (according to taste)
  • 3 small tomatoes 


  • Soak the red kidney beans overnight
  • Next day, cook in a pressure cooker till done (should be boiled and slightly cracked, not mashed)
  • Save the rajma water to later add as stock when cooking the pastes
  • Heat the oil and add cumin seeds first
  • Once they splutter, add the onions and fry for 5 minutes {you can also add onion paste for a smoother gravy)
  • add ground garam masala (not whole masala to avoid any chunks in the gravy)
  • Add the grounded ginger-garlic paste 
  • Mix these
  • Add a little bit of rajma water if needed to prevent burning spices
  • Add coriander powder
  • Add tomatoes
  • Add chili powder and cook again for 3 minutes or more
  • Once you see that all the ingredients are mashed and in gravy, to the mixture add boiled kidney beans
  • Add the other spices like chilli powder, crushed Kasuri methi and salt 
  • Add butter
  • Cover and cook for another 15 minutes and ensure there is gravy in desired consistency
  • Garnish with coriander leaves
  • Serve