Main Course

Rajma (Kidney Bean Stew)

Rajma is one of those dishes that every Punjabi mom knows how to make. It’s like a prerequisite for every Punjabi lady. I almost feel like the quote from “Bend It Like Beckham” should have been about rajma instead of full Indian cooking.

Quote from Bend It Like Beckham

Unfortunately, I am not one of those Punjabi women. I hated rajma growing up. I think it has to do with my mom making the worst rajma ever. Probably because she didn’t like it either and would make it for my Dad because he missed having rajma chawal (rice). 

When I met my mother-in-law, she was in shock that I didn’t like rajma. Of course, she made it for me and guess what? I liked it. It was delicious! I had never tasted such yummy rajma before. I lie. I did have great rajma when I went to Vaishno Devi in India. I just didn’t want to admit to my mom that I liked it else I would have to eat her way of making it.

Fast forward to today, I now have my mother-in-law’s easy recipe for rajma. Her secret is grating the tomatoes and the onion. Don’t ask my what the science behind it is, but it comes out wonderful. I have tried making it without grating it and it does not come out the same. I cannot STRESS this enough. Make sure you grate the onion and tomatoes. Ok, maybe you can get away with just grating the onions.

This recipe is not spicy because of my kids. If you want it spicy, add some red chili powder or green chili pepper. I made this in the Instant Pot which you can buy from here.  Here is how you make it.

Above are the ingredients. Soak your rajma overnight in water. Make sure the water is about 2 inches above the rajma. This is what it will look like after you have soaked the beans overnight.

Now grate your onion and tomatoes. Chop up your garlic.

I will admit that I didn’t grate my tomatoes this time around because I accidentally left the blade in my food processor on. Instead of grating my tomato, it pureed it. It came out good but I do prefer it grated.

Drain the water from your rajma and add it to your Instant Pot. Add your water, tomato, onions and garlic.

Now add salt, turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and stir.

Now drizzle with EVOO (extra virgin olive oil). Any oil will do, I just prefer cooking with EVOO.

Cook on high pressure for 60 minutes with natural release.

After the pressure is released, open and add garam masala.

Give it a quick stir and garnish with cilantro. Serve with white rice or chapattis.

Rajma (Kidney Bean Stew)

Print Recipe
Serves: 8 Cooking Time: 1 hour 30 mins


  • 2 cups dry rajma (red kidney beans)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 large onion, grated
  • 4 large tomatoes, grated
  • 10 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 3 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • red chili powder to taste (optional) I did not add since my kids don't eat spicy
  • 1 round drizzle of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil or your choice of oil)
  • 1 tsp garam masala



Measure 2 cups of dry rajma and add them to a medium size bowl.


Add enough water to cover the rajma by 2 inches.


Soak them overnight or for 6 hours.


Drain the water from the bowl and add the rajma to the instant pot.


Add the fresh water to the beans and stir.


Make sure to grate the onions and tomatoes. This is an important step. It will not taste good otherwise.


Add the tomatoes, onions, and garlic to the pot.


Add all spices but the garam masala to the pot and stir.


Drizzle one round of oil on the top.


Close the lid and set to manual high pressure for 60 minutes.


Once the pressure has released, open and add garam masala. Stir.


Taste the spices and adjust the salt accordingly.


Garnish with cilantro (optional)


This is made with the Instant Pot. For regular pressure cooker, after the first whistle, lower heat and cook for 60 minutes. Then open after all the pressure has released.


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