Desi Rajma Chawal

This desi Rajma Chawal is quick and easy to make yet gloriously delicious. It is one of those wholesome recipes which are eaten together and is a match made in heaven.

Desi Rajma Chawal served with some papad and pakoras

I am sure many of us would have a couple of red kidney bean tins lying around in our pantry or some others might just have raw red kidney beans in bulk with some other pulses. This is one of those recipes you can make with fewer ingredients from your pantry.

These quarantine times are perfect to make wholesome meals with basic ingredients from our pantries. Besides, being a finger-licking goodness this recipe is quite nutritious and the perfect kind of recipe for all you vegans out there.


Red kidney beans or rajma is a robust-flavoured bean mainly used in the North Indian kitchen. It’s hearty texture makes it a favourite meatless meal amongst vegetarians. It is cooked with strong gravies and seasonings. This dish is a staple of homes in Delhi and Punjab and is accompanied with rice in the famous dish called Rajma chawal. It is richly satisfying and a nutritionally complete meal.

Red kidney beans are also widely eaten in the US, Spain and the West-Indies. It is used in the making of chilli con carne. It is cultivated in some parts of France and is often cooked with red wine and bacon.

In Goa, we cook these beans along with some Goan pork sausages and is famously called Feijoada.

Red Kidney Beans or Rajma


There are numerous different ways to cook the rice for this Rajma Chawal recipe. One of the ways is to either eat it with plain steamed rice or the other is to flavour the rice as per choice maybe even by adding some tadka to the rice.

I’ve kept the flavouring of this rice simple in order for the rajma to shine as a show-stopper. The cooking measurement for the rice is as per the quantity of rice you want to prepare. I’ve cooked the rice in a rice cooker and flavoured it with three basic ingredients~ some salt to taste, one tablespoon cumin seeds and a pinch of turmeric powder for some colour. If preferred, add some ghee to the rice once it is ready. The secret to getting long grained rice is to pre soak the rice in water for sometime before cooking.

The rice can also be flavoured with some cloves, cinnamon, bay-leaves or even some cardamom. A few saffron strands can also be added to flavour the rice. Add the whole spices together or by its own or even in various combinations.

Cumin and turmeric flavoured steamed rice or chawal to accompany the rajma


You can use tinned red kidney beans in salt water which are pre cooked for this recipe. Make sure to drain the water out and give them a good rinse. Similarly you can even soak raw red kidney beans in normal water overnight, and then cook it under pressure for around 7-8 whistles.

I’ve used a slightly chunky tomato puree for this recipe. However, you can always add finely chopped tomatoes and then blitz the fried masala mixture with a hand blender to obtain a slight depth to your gravy.

Desi Rajma Chawal

Another advantage of making this recipe is that, you can add pre-packaged store-bought rajma masala like the Everest Rajma masala or even the MDH Rajmah masala. This helps in turn, to quicken the cooking process even further thus making it much more fun and an easier cooking task.



Vania Cotta
This flavoursome rajma recipe is quick and easy to make with a fewer ingredients and is accompanied by some simple steamed rice or plain rotis.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 people


  • 1 tin Red kidney beans in salt water or brine pre-cooked, net weight of the beans after draining the water is 240 gms
  • 2 nos Red onions large sized, finely chopped
  • 1 cup Tomato puree tinned
  • 2 tbsp Vegetable oil for cooking
  • 2 nos Green chillies slit lengthwise
  • ½ tbsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp Coriander powder
  • 2-3 tbsp Everest rajma masala (check notes below for contents)
  • tbsp Ginger-garlic paste
  • Coriander leaves finely chopped
  • ¼ nos Lime juice squeezed before serving
  • Salt to taste
  • Water for gravy


  • Drain the water out of the kidney beans, rinse well and set aside.
  • Finely chop the onions and keep a handful aside to serve with the food. Slit the green chillies lengthwise and cut the coriander leaves finely and keep aside.
  • In a heavy bottom pan, heat the oil and once the oil is heated, sauté the onions well until translucent. Add the green chillies at this point too.
  • Now add the tomato puree and the garlic-ginger paste. Sauté until well incorporated with the onions.
  • Now add the dried masalas and mix well for a minute or two.
  • Next add the beans, some salt to taste and some water as per preference and cook until the gravy thickens.
  • Squeeze some lime juice on. Give it a good stir and finish with a sprinkle of fresh coriander leaves.
  • Serve hot with some steamed rice, onion, lime for extra tanginess if required or even a side of some pickle and papad or pappadom.


  • You can increase the quantity of the dish as per requirement add more or less ingredients. 
  • The rajma masala used contains coriander, cumin, cassia leaf, dry mango, pomegranate seed, chilly, dry ginger, black pepper, black cardamom, common salt, black salt, fenugreek, mint leaf and nutmeg.
  • You can add some small cubed potatoes if you like it that way.
  • This recipe goes well with some freshly chopped onions and a squeeze of lime or maybe even a side salad with onions, tomatoes and cucumber.
Keyword desi cooking, desi rajma chawal, indian recipes, north indian recipes, rajma chawal, rajma recipes, red kidney bean recipes
North Indian favourite Rajma



Vania Cotta
This Rajma recipe is a longer version but worth the wait. It is power-packed with strong flavours and spice. It is best eaten with rice or rotis.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 45 mins
Soak the beans overnight 12 hrs
Total Time 13 hrs 55 mins
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 people


  • 225 gms Red kidney beans raw, soaked overnight in water
  • 2 nos Red onions finely chopped, medium sized
  • 5 cloves Garlic finely chopped
  • ¾ inch Ginger finely chopped
  • 2 nos Tomatoes finely chopped, large sized
  • 1 tbsp Coriander powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin powder
  • ½ tsp Red chilli powder
  • ¼ tsp Turmeric powder
  • ½ tbsp Garam masala
  • inch Cinnamon sticks
  • 2 nos Bay leaves (cassia leaves)
  • 2 nos Green chillies slit lengthwise
  • Salt to taste
  • Water to boil the rajma and the same used for gravy later as per requirement
  • Coriander leaves fresh finely chopped


  • Soak the kidney beans overnight in water. The next day rinse and drain and pressure cook the beans for about 7-8 whistles or boil for 15 minutes on a high heat and then simmer for an hour or until the beans are tender. Drain and reserve the liquid for the gravy. Do not forget to add salt to taste while boiling the beans,
  • Prep the onions, tomatoes, garlic, ginger, green chillies and set aside.
  • Heat the oil in a heavy bottom pan. Throw in the bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Sauté it for a few seconds.
  • Now next add the garlic and ginger. Sauté well.
  • Next add in the onions and green chillies. Sauté until the onions turn slightly brown.
  • Stir in the tomatoes and dried spice powders. Simmer for about 5 minutes or until the tomatoes are softened.
  • Now add the dried spices and stir well for a minute or two.
  • Add the beans with enough of its liquid to make a gravy. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the gravy thickens. Check for seasoning and add salt accordingly, if needed.
  • Serve topped with some freshly chopped coriander leaves.
  • Also, add a side of lime wedge and some sliced onions.


  • You can add a tin or two of pre-cooked kidney beans to quicken the cooking process.
  • You can also replace the chopped tomatoes with freshly made tomato puree or canned tomatoes.
  • To make tomato puree just boil two tomatoes with some salt and water, peel of the skin and blitz without making it too runny. Keep in some chunks for depth in your dish. 
Keyword desi cooking, desi rajma chawal, indian recipes, north indian recipes, rajma chawal, rajma recipes
A spoonful of Rajma Chawal

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The wholesome and nutritious meal of Rajma Chawal

Go and get this desi rajma chawal recipe on your plates now and enjoy it during this lockdown period. It is the perfect dish for everyone who has a predominately plant based diet. Enjoy!!

Until next time~ Namaste!

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