Punjabi rajma masala

Punjabi rajma masala

Spice At Home
Lara Holmes

This recipe is yet another one of the hundreds of possibilities that lentils, pulses and beans present in Indian food. Neither my wife, Archana, nor I are from Punjab, but somehow Rajma-chawal (kidney bean curry and steamed rice) has made it to the top of the charts in the Singh household.


Quantity Ingredient
100g red kidney beans, soaked overnight, (alternatively used tinned kidney beans)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 bay leaves
2 onions, finely chopped
2.5cm piece of ginger, finely chopped
6-8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons red chilli powder
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves, crushed lightly
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon chopped coriander


  1. Pressure-cook the kidney beans with five cups of water until you hear five whistles or until totally cooked and soft. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, place the kidney beans in a pan, cover with 2 litres of cold water, bring to the boil and boil vigorously for 10 minutes. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 1½–2 hours or until tender. Alternatively, use tinned kidney beans which do not require any pre-cooking and can be used straight from the tin.
  2. Heat the oil in a deep pan. Add the bay leaves and onions and sauté for 6–8 minutes until golden. Add the ginger and garlic and continue to sauté for a minute. Add the chilli, ground coriander, turmeric and cumin and stir, then add the tomatoes and salt and cook for about 5 minutes until the tomatoes are cooked and the oil begins to leave the masala.
  3. Add the cooked kidney beans along with the cooking liquid (or all the liquid in the tin, if using tinned beans) and mix together. Cook over a low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Adjust the salt, add the dried fenugreek leaves and garam masala and cook for 2 minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with steamed rice.
Vivek Singh
Cinnamon Club
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