Rajma masala / Red kidney bean curry / Rajma chawal /Rajma curry

Rajma masala is the perfect blend of a spicy gravy with melt in the mouth bean.

I grew up in a  multilingual neighborhood  not knowing what a blessing that was. The food indulgences and festivals were never for one family.But what about daily food that too was not for one family :))I mean did u love the food ur friend brought everyday to school or is it just me ? My friend S Kaur  used to bring choley,rajma ,dal makhani and so many saags which tasted awesome. Her mom knew how much I loved it so she would come to the balcony occasionally and shout at the top of her voice saying,”Meena, I have sent rajma with S do eat in the afternoon okay don’t forget okay !! this broadcast  happens in  Hindi though and the whole neighborhood would have heard her … Oh!no feeling ashamed? not me I would reply in the same volume “thank you Auntiji”.My school days were simpler  when phone calls were meant only for long distance or after 9 in the night for sure some bad news.All the other friendly expressions were always loud,clear and face to face:))).

Auntiji  used to send extra food but I don’t think she knew how many Meenas ate from that  😀 The steel  lunch box  had some cucumber and onion slices, few rotis and awesome rajma in a curry dibba.This went on for a while.Then a few years later S went back to Punjab from Kerala.While they were leaving we went to see off at the railway station.There were suit cases and few large cartons all marked ‘fragile’.Since all their things were transported by road we knew this must be really breakable stuff.

One of our friends Ar who stayed close to the station brought adrak wali chai and hot samosas.As we sat there enjoying it admist the chaos the train arrived and the porter swung into action by lifting a large feather light box and vanishing into the crowd. Uncleji worriedly ran after him yelling something .I looked at Auntiji with a puzzled face, she stood there shaking her head in disbelief and said ,”Betta ,there is plantain chips inside I hope that fellow doesn’t crumble it .Those are for all our relatives.” :)))))

 Fast forward –S’s latest update is her toddler pulled out  the escape button from the new laptop with the help of a toy .We laughed on how times have changed also the criteria of ‘ fragile ‘ is not bothering anymore :))S tells me she misses the idli sambar and banana chips!!!

Over to my story now!Love having rajma with rice the next morning too when all the flavors sink in, so that is what u see here.In March, I took 93 pics  ya!  of rajma alone okay let me not go to the numbers you might come here and beat me 😀 but I can tell you it was a learning process on how light works so bear with me cos I just did not have the heart to delete.  Rajma tastes good anytime of the year but awesome on cold mornings.:))


Rajma – 1 cup  or more (soaked over night in large pot with 5 cups of water )
Red onion- 2 large
Tomato- 2 large
Ginger garlic paste – 2 tsp
Green chili -1 -2
Red chili powder- 1 tsp
Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
Coriander powder- 1 tbsp
Bay leaf-1
kasuri methi – 1/2 tsp (crushed with ur palms)
Cumin seed- 1/2 tsp
Garam masala -1 tsp
Cinnamon – 1/2 inch stick
Cardamom- 2 -3
Cloves -2 -3
Salt to taste
Amchur powder(mango powder)- 1/4 tsp or chaat masala
Tea bag – 1 (for deep brown color)

Butter- 1 tbsp
Coriander leaves – few to season

1. Pressure cook the rajma adding enough water to a really tender but not mashed up stage .Keep the stock for gravy and add only according  to the thickness required.
2. Heat a  few tsps of cooking oil and add the whole spices that is cumin,bay leaf,cinnamon,cloves cardamom saute for a minute the add the ginger garlic paste,green chili, the onions finely chopped when they become brownish add tomatoes chopped when that becomes mashed add powder turmeric powder ,salt ,coriander powder and continue sauteing till the masala leaves sides and masala dries up and leaves sides at this point pour the rajma stock 1-2 cup let it boil then add the cooked rajma reduce heat Insert tea bag into the boiling curry and tie the end to the handle of pot.Keep the pot covered and let the curry simmer for 10-15 minutes.Open lid and discard the tea bag after that.
3.  Mash a few rajma beans by pressing it with ladle to the walls of the pot add kasuri methi, green chili slit garam masala ,amchur, mix well simmer for 3-4 minutes switch off flame and sprinkle the coriander leaves on top and also drop the butter piece into it cover and keep it aside  to rest and flavors to sink in for at least 2 hours.
Goes well with flat breads but excellent with white rice.
Curry tastes best the next day.


  • Adding amchur / chaat masala brings the much needed tang that tomatoes do not give.It is optional but I just lovvve it.
  • I sometimes go for two cans of organic red kidney beans and forgo soaking and pressure cooking.
  • Store bought tomato paste -2 tsp gives a rich color to the curry.
Please let me know if my stories are getting longer these days 🙂
Hope to hear from u lovely people out there.


This recipe is going to Princy’s MLLA event

46 Replies to “Rajma masala / Red kidney bean curry / Rajma chawal /Rajma curry”

  1. Anonymous

    Love reading your story. I have same experience with my neighbors, learned lot of new things from them too. This is my take the stress out dish. To relieve I make this. Looks n clicks both r awesome. BTW this is Linsy.

  2. Priya Kheroun Tessy

    Lol…it was really very nice reading your intro about your childhood days and your Punjabi Auntyji. I could really picturise all that you have said ..it was like sort of seeing a movie!!! And rajma, as you said is a comfort food that can be had during anytime of the year.And about sneaking into and enjoying your friend's lunch is a trend that is quite common among all, I guess. I don't think there will be anyone who didn't do that in their school days.How I used to hate my lunch and love my friend's and vice versa:)))))Really missing those days:(((

  3. Meena Kumar

    Thank you Priya u made my day ! Come over anytime dear lets make lots of food,tell stories and make it a total party.
    It is ages since I had those chips I want some now 🙁

    He heee,,, rajma was almost sun dried by the time I was ready to eat it :))

  4. Rafeeda AR

    i just finished seeing a movie, i suppose… could visualize each and everything that you wrote… keep writing, mate. I'm in to read for sure!! 🙂

    that rajma looks so lipsmacking, even i love to have rajma anytime of the day though everybody else in the house gives a cold shoulder, dunno y! 🙁 ur version looks so yum… and 90+ pics!!! u must be kidding… i don't take more than 10 of any dish, otherwise i'l go mad!!! 😀 call it lack of patience… hehe…

  5. Meena Kumar

    Ha haaa….I am a happy girl today.
    I knew u would pick up that line for sure he hee ..Rafee I know loading the pics first then deleting pheww!! It is like a little treasure hunt sometimes. Now I tell myself stop that is enough:)

  6. Rekha Vengalil

    Wow just love this curry it's one of my favorite and I make it atleast once a week. I too had some wonderful North Indian neighbors who did share some awesome food 😉 the pictures looks great and u have teamed up with some great props too

  7. Priya

    Loved reading about 'S' and your Auntyji Meena 🙂 And Ha! Banana Chips are my fav things too – In fact so fav, that this is the thing I ask my Dad to brig whenever he visits 😉 And girl, you are making me miss my dear friends so bad. I will have to call one of them today 🙂

    And nopes your stories may be long. But I love reading them. So don't you think of cutting them short. Allenkil katha kelkkan njan avide varum 😉

    Love the sunshine on that first click 🙂 The Rajma of course. looks delish! The tea bag trick is neat. I didn't know of that till I read it somewhere else. But I almost always forget that!

  8. Ruxana Gafoor

    Wow !! What a beautiful childhood story..I could visualize the whole thing…your neighborhood, S, Auntiji…her way of telling you,sharing ….omg..and the fast forwarded update was also superb…wait..now I think I will forget to comment on your dish hehe..a real comfort dish dear..

  9. Venisri Senthan

    I'm so sorry that I did not read your whole post but kept scrolling back to the top to admire your shots!!! Simply wow!!! The picture is killing me…seriously!!! You did a great job there, dear.

    Thank you for commenting in today's guest post and giving me the boost, xoxo!!! 😉

    Okay, now I shall read your whole post…have a good day there,

  10. Nilu A

    Your post takes me back to my good old school days… Love this comforting, healthy and delicious rajma curry Meena 🙂

  11. Priya Suresh

    Wow, wat a fabulous story, seriously i do learn so many stuffs from my neighbous rather than from home, being a South Indian,i always crave for North Indian foods and i wont complain to eat their foods even daily. Omg, i love banana chips very much and even now i'll ask my sister to send me a parcel with those chips..

    90+ pictures, oh god, you have loads of patiences, i take hardly less than 10 and i feel already bored to click,seriously wish i could pictures like you.

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  13. Reni

    Lovely write up Meena ! I miss those days too when things were 'loud,clear and face to face'..well said 🙂 and lunch at school everyday was almost a picnic…Hey that boxes with banana chips marked fragile was really wonderful to read….and 93 pics girl….Hats off to your perseverance…you really have an eye for photography 🙂 and I simply love the rajma curry ,looks absolutely delicious !

  14. Swathi Iyer

    Yes I too take lot picture mainly 3-4 folders to single dish. finally get mad and will be bugging hubby which one is best. I exposed to north indian food only after my stay alone in other countries as friends cook northindian dishes. Love rajma curry you spice blend looks awesome.
    I am leaving my new website link here, please take a look , Zest South Indian Kitchen

  15. easyfoodsmith

    Very interesting shots Meena. Rajma chawal was the standard Sunday meal at my maternal home and I have grown up on this diet. I love the addition of kasuri methi and I am sure it must have taken the taste a few notches up.

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