Punjabi Rajmah Curry

“Rajmah (Red kidney beans) Curry” is a very popular, vegetarian dish from North India. Cook red kidney beans (soaked overnight in water) with tomatoes, onions, whole spices like black cardamom, cloves and bay leaf. Serve with white rice or Indian bread.
This recipe is adapted from Nita Mehta’s amazing  cookbook, Nita Mehta’s Punjabi Khaana. The recipe’s fairly simple but can take a while to prepare on account of the browning of the onions. The dish also freezes very well – so great as a make-ahead dish as well.
  • 1 1/2 cups red kidney beans (lal rajmah) soaked overnight
  • 1 tablespoon split gram (channa dal) soaked overnight
  • salt to taste
  • 2 onions
  • 6  to 8 garlic flakes
  • 1″piece ginger
  • 6 tablespoons oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 3 tomatoes-pureed in a blender
  • 1/2 cup yogurt- beaten well
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 3 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mando powder “Aamchur”
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chilly powder
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro


Pressure cook red kidney beans, split gram and add salt with 6 cups of water. Let it cook till it gives one whistle. Keep on low flame for 20 minutes and then remove from fire and keep aside. If you do not have a pressure cooker, add 7 to 8 cups of water and let it cook on medium heat for 25 to 30 minutes.

Grind the onion, ginger and garlic to a fine paste.

Heat oil in a heavy bottomed vessel. Add bay leaf, black cardamom and cloves. Wait for a minute.

Add onion paste and stir fry till golden brown.

Reduce heat. Add turmeric, coriander powder, dry mango powder, garam masala and red chilly powder. Stir for a few seconds.

Add pureed tomatoes. Cook till tomatoes turn dry and oil separates.

Add beaten curd and stir continuously on low flame till the masala turns red again and the oil separates.

Strain and add the pressure cooked rajmah, by keeping the liquid aside. Stir fry on low flame for 2 to 3 minutes, mashing occasionally.

Add the water of the rajmahs and pressure cook again for 8 to 10 minutes on low flame after the first whistle.

Remove from fire. Add freshly chopped cilantro. Serve hot with white rice or Indian bread.

Note: If you find the gravy too thick , add 1/2 to 3/4 cup boiling water to it and simmer for 5 minutes.

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