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How to Make Rajma Chawal (Kidney Bean Curry and Rice)

Rajan writes to share his knowledge of health, yoga, pranayama, alternative therapies, natural remedies, food recipes, and more.

Rajma are red kidney beans, and when you use them to prepare a curry or gravy dish, it is called rajma curry. Kidney beans are a high-protein food that provide a number of health benefits.

Rajma chawal is when boiled rice and rajma curry are each prepared separately and then combined to create a single dish. It is a traditional Punjabi dish as well as a popular street food. Usually, medium-sized rajma from Jammu in India are preferred, as these beans have the best flavor. However, you can use any rajma you have on hand, and this dish will still taste wonderful.

I have simplified the recipe so there is no need to roast the spices separately. The resulting recipe is a two-pot preparation: one for the rajma curry and one for the rice. You will therefore be able to taste the range of flavors of the spices used in each dish.

Do try this dish and give your feedback in the comments section below.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

15 min

1 hour

1 hour 15 min

4 servings

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Ingredients for Rice

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1.5 cups rice soaked in water
  • 3 cups water + 1/4 cup
  • 1 medium sized onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon jeera (cumin seeds)
  • 2 tejpatta (bay leaves)
  • 1 black cardamom, coarsley crushed
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 1/2 inch cinnamon stick
  • 1.5 teaspoon sendha namak (rock salt) or table salt

Instructions to Cook Rice

  1. Pre-soak the rice for 30 minutes before cooking.
  2. Pace a kadahi (wok) over medium heat and add oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions and saute them until they turn golden. Then add the cumin seeds, bay leaves, cloves, and cinnamon. Keep sauteeing the onions until they turn medium brown.
  3. Brown the onions so that the rice gets a brown tinge while cooking. If you wish to keep the rice white, do not brown the rice. When the onions have browned, add about 1/4 cup water and stir a few times.
  4. Add 1.5 tsp salt and stir a few times, then add the soaked rice without the water. Add 3 cups water and mix well. Keep the heat on high and let the water come to a boil.
  5. When the water starts bubbling a bit, cover the dish with a lid and reduce heat to low. Cook until the water dries up. This should take about 15 minutes.
  6. After 15 minutes of cooking, all of the water should have boiled off. The rice is ready. Turn the heat off but put the lid back on the pot and let the rice sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Ingredients for Rajma Curry

  • 1 cup rajma (kidney beans), soaked in water overnight
  • 2 medium-sized tomatoes, chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons of oil
  • 1 inch ginger, crushed
  • 1 green chili, finely crushed
  • 10-12 garlic cloves
  • 2 medium sized onions, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
  • 1/2 teaspoon deghi mirch (red chili powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon haldi (turmeric powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon sendha namak (rock salt) or table salt
  • 1 liter + 1 cup of water

Instructions to Cook Rajma Curry

  1. In a pressure cooker, add the rajma, onions, tomatoes, crushed ginger, green chili, garlic cloves, garam masala, haldi powder, deghi mirch, salt, coriander powder, and oil. Add 1 cup water and stir to mix.
  2. Close the pressure cooker and turn the heat on high. At the first whistle, reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes more. Open the pressure cooker when the pressure subsides.
  3. The rajma should have softened. Turn the heat on high and stir until the water dries up, then add the kasuri methi. Cook the rajma for 8-10 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Add 1 liter of water and mix well. Close the pressure cooker and turn the heat to medium. At the first whistle, reduce the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and let the pressure subside.
  6. Open the pressure cooker. The rajma will be soft. If the curry is thin, let it boil over a high flame and keep stirring it until it reaches the consistency you want. Our curry took about 5 minutes to reach the desired consistency.
  7. Your rajma curry is ready to be assembled.

Assembling the Rajma Chawal Dish

To assemble the rajma chawal dish:

  1. Put the hot rice on a plate.
  2. Pour the hot rajma curry over it.
  3. Serve.

© 2018 Rajan Singh Jolly

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