Rajma (Red Kidney Beans Simmered in an Aromatic Tomato Sauce)


Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Vegan-friendly Rajma

Rajma is a classic red kidney bean curry. Originating in North India, this popular dish is all vegetarian. The defining feature is the cooked kidney beans that are simmered in a aromatic and spicy tomato sauce. Not all versions are vegan friendly, however, as sometimes yogurt or cream is added — and one of my favorite versions features paneer cheese. I've presented several variations of rajma here at Lisa's Kitchen, but this one is yet again slightly different and it is completely dairy-free. I used coconut milk for a little creaminess, and I must say it is among the best rajmas I've ever made.

Red Kidney Beans Simmered in an Aromatic Tomato Sauce

To make the meal extra special, I served the rajma with a Brussel sprouts poriyal and hot fresh cooked white basmati rice. To finish the meal, I offered up a crustless pumpkin cheesecake for dessert.

Rajma (Red Kidney Beans Simmered in an Aromatic Tomato Sauce)Rajma (Red Kidney Beans Simmered in an Aromatic Tomato Sauce)
Recipe by
Cuisine: North Indian
Published on November 19, 2018

Classic north Indian red kidney bean curry cooked in a fragrant spiced tomato sauce

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Ingredients:
  • 1 1/4 cups dried red kidney beans
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 black cardamon pods, slightly crushed
  • 2-inch piece cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  •  
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil or other cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon asafetida
  • 2 to 3 fresh red chilies, seeded and minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced or crushed
  • 1-inch fresh ginger, minced or grated
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon amchoor (dried mango) powder (optional)
 
  • 2 large tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves (methi)
  • handful of fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
Instructions:
  • Rinse the kidney beans under cold water. Soak overnight in several inches of cold water. Drain and rinse, then transfer to a large saucepan, pour in 4 cups of water, and add the cardamon pods, cinnamon stick and turmeric. Bring to boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the beans are tender, stirring occasionally — about 1 hour. Remove from heat and set aside. Do not drain.

  • While the beans are cooking, prepare the sauce. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds. Cook until the mustard seeds turn grey and begin to splutter and pop, about 60 seconds. Stir in the asafetida and reduce the heat to medium. Toss in the paprika, coriander, cumin, cayenne and amchoor powder if using, and stir for 1 minute until the spices are fragrant.

  • Now add the chilies, garlic and ginger, and stir for another few minutes. Pour in the tomatoes and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often, until the tomatoes begin to thicken. Pour in the coconut milk and add the coriander, cumin, garam masala, fenugreek leaves and most of the parsley or cilantro. Cook for another few minutes.

  • Pour the sauce into the beans, turn the heat on medium-low, and simmer, covered, for another 10 to 15 minutes, stirring often. Add a bit of water or almond milk to the pan if the mixture seems too thick.

  • Stir in the salt and lemon juice. Adjust the seasoning to taste. Serve hot, garnished with the remaining parsley or cilantro.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Indian Kidney Bean Curry

More rajma dishes to try from Lisa's Kitchen:
Mint and Potato Rajma
Curried Red Kidney Beans with Paneer
Lucknow Rajma with Sautéed Chard

On the top of the reading stack: Discrimination and Disparities by Thomas Sowell

Audio accompaniment: The End of Words by Marsen Jules

I'm sharing this recipe with My Legume Love Affair, a monthly event celebrating the goodness of legumes, administered by me, and started by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook. Renu of Cook with Renu is kindly hosting this month. Please see her post for details on how to contribute a recipe for November.

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