Cooking Adventures : Quick Fix Rajma Chawal

Whenever I am missing home or just want a quick Indian meal, Rajma Chawal (red kidney beans + rice) is my go to. It is just so easy to cook, and so difficult to mess up!

I cook my rice in a pressure cooker, so it takes about 15 mins for 2 cups of rice, and the total prep + cook time of the Rajma is 20 mins! Served hot with cilantro and a yummy yogurt raita (plain yogurt with salt, sugar and onions), it is heavenly, especially considering the minimal amount of effort that goes into it.

For an Indian dish, it requires relatively few spices, especially if you use a pre-made spice powder such as the one I use below. (You could buy this or a different brand at any Indian store in your area). I use canned red kidney beans (in India, Rajma is also made from darker kidney beans, but this is just mine and husband’s personal preference). I also do subscribe to the organic train, and find Trader Joes Organic Kidney beans both affordable and delicious, but this recipe works with any canned kidney beans. It also works with the dry beans (soaked overnight and then pre-cooked in a pressure cooker, but that is too much of a hassle to call it quick-fix!).

Some staples you need in your kitchen for Indian cooking are onions, garlic, ginger (optional), tomatoes, chilli powder. Everything else is icing on the cake!

So for this rajma recipe, you cook the rice on the side, however you like it. I like mine to have a hint of cardamom and saffron!


Pressure Cooker


Rice with cardamom and saffron

While the rice cooks, prep for the rajma. Chop onions, tomatoes, and make a ginger-garlic paste. Make a paste of chilli powder, corriander powder and a pinch of turmeric – basically soak these with just enough water to make a paste. Don’t get lazy and just use the powders, because the paste really brings out the delicious smell. Make sure you use an oil that has a high heat index (I use canola or avocad0), and heat the oil before you addย any spices.


Tomatoes start cooking in the oil


Add beans when the tomatoes are 60% cooked


Top with cilantro to serve!


Tanmaya’s Medium Spicy Rajma Recipe

Serves : 2

Ingredients :

  1. 1 15.5 oz can of Organic Red Kidney Beans
  2. 1 red onion
  3. 2 medium sized tomatoes
  4. 2 cloves garlic
  5. 1/4 inch piece of ginger
  6. 1 tsp Rajma masala (preferred brand is MDH)
  7. 1/2 tsp red chili powder (more or less depending on desired spice level)
  8. 1/2 tsp corriander powder
  9. A pinch of turmeric
  10. 1 tbsp oil (avocado or canola)
  11. Salt to taste (for me about 1 tsp)

Preparation :

  1. Make a ginger garlic paste. You could either do this in a grinder/blender, or as I do it, on a garlic grater. It doesn’t have to be perfect!
  2. Chop the onion into very very small pieces
  3. Make a paste with the chili powder, coriander powder and turmeric. Add just enough water to make a paste, and let this soak.
  4. Heat the oil if you have an electric stove, otherwise do this after Step 4
  5. Chop the tomatoes, or if you want to go the extra mile, make a puree
  6. Put the ginger-garlic paste in the hot oil and let it cook for half a minute
  7. Before the paste starts burning, add the onion and stir
  8. Cook the onions until they are transparent (or slightly brown), and then add the chili-coriander-turmeric powder. Stir
  9. After you smell the delicious aroma of the powder, add the tomatoes.
  10. Drain and wash the kidney beans thoroughly.
  11. The tomatoes will start cooking, and the oil and water will slightly separate to the side. This is when you add the washed beans.
  12. Add the rajma masala powder.
  13. Close the lid of the pot and let cook for 12-17 mins until the beans are soft.
  14. Add freshly chopped cilantro and enjoy hot with rice!



Yummy rajma chawal! (The snack on the side is a Diwali indulgence ๐Ÿ™‚ )



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