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Simple & Quick Kidney Beans in Tomato Gravy – Scrumptious Rajma

21 November 2011 8 Comments

spicy kidney beans in tomato gravy - Rajma

Rajma-rice, a plateful of sliced onion in vinegar, a few books in hand, hot debate on current topics and our dinner would be over in no time. This was the regular evening routine for a bunch of close friends during the college days we spent together away from our homes in Delhi, hardly missing out on homely food. We would stop by that open Dhaba (makeshift restaurant) with a very few chairs spread under a tree and wait for our piping hot plate of Rajma-rice served by this rugged looking pot bellied man who cooked & served the same meal throughout the year. At times he served us Rajma with Naan and a  dessert which looked like cooked rice in sugar syrup during festivals to make sure we remain his  loyal customers. Must say that I have never been able to cook nor have eaten better tasting Rajma than that.

Rajam-rice is almost a staple meal in many North Indian cities and most of the Punjabi families. When I visited a childhood friend in Uttaranchal two years back, I came to know a new variety of mountain Rajma, which tasted entirely different from the deep red kidney beans. She used minimal of spices and made a simple Rajma which was an instant hit with my family, who likes simple and less spiced curries over the garish and rich recipes.

I use her recipe more often at home now and pair it with plain rice or stuffed Naan. An authentic recipe of Rajma has a small percentage of black gram which gives the creamy texture and body to the recipe and taste scrumptious with hot Phulkas or Indian flat breads and plain rice.

I made this recipe with very few spices and avoided more tomatoes to make it simple and light as I paired it with stuffed Naan. And the simple recipe without any garnish is a wonderful combo with my exotic cottage cheese stuffed Naan.

Spicy Kidney Beans in Tomato Gravy - Rajma


  • 1 cup Kidney beans (Rajma)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp. crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp. crushed ginger
  • Salt as desired
  • A pinch of sugar


  • 1 tsp. red chilly powder
  • 1 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder


  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves

Spicy Kidney Beans in Tomato Gravy - Rajma

Method; Wash and soak kidney beans in water overnight or for 7-8 hours. Prep all the vegetables and keep the spices ready.

Add water in a pressure cooker and add soaked kidney beans, cloves, diced tomatoes, sliced onions, ginger and garlic into it. Pressure cook for 4 whistles on high. Take off the pressure cooker from the flame and let it cool.

Open the pressure cooker and mash all the onion, tomato pieces in it, making sure not to mash the kidney beans.

Heat oil in a kadai/wok and crackle mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Add chilly powder, coriander powder, salt and sugar in it and cook for about one minute.

Spicy Kidney Beans in Tomato Gravy - Rajma

Pour the above seasoning into the pressure cooker and close the lid again. Keep it on flame and cook again for 3 more whistles on high. This will make all the spices get thoroughly mixed with the kidney beans.

Garnish and serve the Rajma or spicy Kidney beans with plain rice or stuffed Naan (Indian flat breads).


  1. Increase or decrease the amount of water according to the consistency you require.
  2. Drain the water in which kidney beans were soaked if you have problem of flatulence (gas).
  3. Sugar in the recipe is just to give a balance to all the flavors. You can avoid it if you wish.
  4. I avoided too much of garam masala and other garnish in this recipe as I was pairing it with stuffed Naan, and did not want to destroy the flavors of Naan.
  5. Add fresh cream while serving the recipe for an exotic look and taste.



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