RAJMA CHAWAL – kidney beans with rice

In Northern part of India when you say Rajma chawal, most mouths will drool.  Yes, that’s how favourite this combination of food is.  This will also be a very common Sunday lunch for North Indian vegetarian households.

My dad was a potato lover, and therefore my mom had to put potatoes in every single dish she made.  My memory doesnt recall anything without potatoes and so, I never knew these dishes were almost always cooked without adding potatoes in it.   She even used to make Rajma with potatoes! Can you beat that……., and therefore I think I never liked rajma as much as I do now.

This is the combination that is truly made in heaven.  Nothing can beat the warmth this platter provides to your soul.  For me, rajma chawal is a definite on the menu at least once a week.

Here’s a simple recipe for one of the most comforting food from the North Indian cuisine.


Preperation time 

Soaking overnight

Cooking in a pressure cooker for 15 minutes

5 minutes for the tempering or tadka


Ingredients :-

1 cup red kidney beans (I prefer the dark red variety which are not spotted they are known as the Kashmiri rajma)

1 onion

2 tomatoes

3 flakes of garlic chopped finely

1/2 tspn grated ginger

a big pinch hing / asafetida

a tbspn corriander powder

a tspn garam masala

2 bay leaves

a tspn of jeera / cumin seeds

red chilli powder as per taste

half tspn amchoor / dry mango powder

half lemon juice

a big bunch corriander leaves

Salt as per taste


Cook the rajma in a pressure cooker on slow for 15 minutes along with salt and bay leaves.

In a pan, add oil and when hot add the cumin seeds

Once they sputter, add the garlic.

Puree the onion and tomatoes and add to the pan after the garlic

Fry till the oil separates

Add ginger and cook well

Add the dry masalas and asafetida

Once cooked add the rajma along with enough water to make a nice medium consistency gravy

Let it come to a boil

Put the flame off and add chopped corriander leaves and lemon juice


I usually serve it with boiled rice and some pickle, but ideally they are served with jeera rice.

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