Punjabi Rajma Masala is a delicious curried dish of red kidney beans, spices, onions, tomatoes and herbs. Serve Rajma with Chawal (Rice) or with roti, paratha and naan. Make it in the stovetop pressure cooker, instant pot or in the regular pot. Instructions included for using fresh and canned beans.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips.
½ to 1tablespoonkasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
Few Ginger juliennes (optional)
2tablespoonscoriander leaves (fine chopped)
2 to 3tablespoonsheavy cream (Optional)
How to make the recipe
Add rajma to a large bowl and rinse them well with water thrice. Drain and soak them in enough water for at least 8 hours and up to 12 hours. Do not cover the bowl while you soak. You may spread a thin cotton cloth so the beans don’t turn sticky.
When you are ready to cook, drain the water and rinse them very well with fresh water at least twice and drain completely.
Chop the onions finely and puree the tomatoes. Keep them aside.
How to Make Rajma Masala in Pressure cooker
Add ghee or oil to a pressure cooker. Heat it on a medium heat.
When the ghee melts, saute ginger garlic and green chilies for a minute just until it begins to smell good.
Add the chopped onions and sprinkle salt. Saute until the onions turn golden and about to caramelize.
Turn off the stove. Now add all the spices – red chilli powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, garam masala and turmeric.
Mix everything well and add drained rajma and pour 2 ¼ cups water. Mix everything well and loosen any bits of spices or onions stuck at the bottom of the cooker.
Cover the pressure cooker and cook on a medium heat until you hear 4 to 6 whistles, depending on the kind of pressure cooker and the age of your rajma.
While the rajma cooks, pour the tomato puree to a small pot or pan and cook it on a medium heat, for 6 to 7 mins until the raw smell disappears completely. Keep the pan slightly covered to prevent splatters. Keep this aside.
When the pressure in the cooker drops, open the lid and check. Rajma will be fully cooked. To check mash a rajma, it has to be soft and get mashed very well. It should not have a bite to it. If you think they are undercooked, simply cook for a few more whistles.
Add the cooked tomato puree to the hot rajma and mix well. If required you may add more hot boiling water to adjust the consistency.
Bring this to a boil and cook for 3 to 4 mins, until it reaches a desired consistency. Taste test and add more salt and garam masala if required. Crush kasuri methi in your hands and sprinkle it. Stir in the cream (optional).
Garnish rajma masala with chopped coriander leaves and ginger juliennes.
Instant Pot Rajma
Press Saute button and Pour ghee to the steel insert. Add ginger garlic and chilies. Saute for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Add onions and salt. Saute for about 5 minutes stirring constantly to cook evenly until golden, about to caramelize.
Add all the spice powders and press cancel. Stir well. Add rajma and pour 2 cups water. Deglaze to release any bits of food stuck at the bottom.
Place a trivet and keep the bowl of tomato puree over that. Secure the IP with the lid and pressure cook for 20 mins (for softer beans, if you prefer al dente – 18 mins).
When the pressure drops, open the IP. Rajma is super soft. Pour the tomato puree and cook for 2 to 3 mins on saute mode. If required pour about ½ to ¾ cup water to bring to runny consistency. Taste test and add more salt, ¼ teaspoon garam masala, cream (optional) and crushed kasuri methi. Press cancel.
Garnish with coriander leaves and ginger juliennes. Serve rajma with chawal. Drizzle some lemon juice.
Rajma masala in pan or pot
Pour 2 cups water to overnight soaked rajma and pressure cook until soft, for 4 to 5 whistles. Or in the instant pot for 18 mins. Or alternately use 2 – 15 Oz cans, drain the liquid and rinse them well. Rajma should be soft and has to easily get mashed.
Optional - You can boil the diced onions for 3 to 4 minutes and then puree to a smooth paste in a grinder. For the tomato puree you can add 2 tablespoons cooked rajma for a thicker texture. Both these will give you smooth gravy but are optional.
Heat ghee in a pan or pot. Saute ginger garlic and green chilli for 1 minute, without burning.
On a medium heat, saute onions with salt until golden and about to get caramelized, but not burnt. Add the spices – chili powder, garam masala, coriander powder, cumin powder and turmeric.
Stir well and add tomato puree. Cook on a medium heat stirring constantly until the onion tomato masala thickens and begins to smell aromatic. It should lose the raw flavor of tomatoes.
Add the rajma along with the stock (rajma cooked water). Pour ¼ to ½ cup more water or as required. Mix well and simmer for 10 to 15 mins, until slightly thick. (If using canned beans, use more water as required to bring it to a consistency).
Taste test and add more salt, ¼ teaspoon garam masala if required and crushed kasuri methi. Optionally you may stir in cream and garnish with coriander leaves and ginger juliennes. Squeeze some lemon juice. Serve rajma with chawal.