How to make Rajma Chawal

How to make Rajma Chawal

Rajma Chawal

Rajma Chawal is the most famous vegetarian North Indian dish, a delicious   and delectable recipe in which the kidney beans are cooked in a thick gravy. Well this is my very old recipe say about 20 years or so, since then I am preparing it like this way only. My Recipe is of tomato based gravy served with fresh salads and zeera Rice, This is the most loved recipe at my place. If I happen to ask my hubby what shall I cook today ? His reply is ” Rajma Chawal ” .

Rajma Chawal is one of the most loved dish in India. Rajma which is known as Red kidney beans is basically a north Indian cuisine, Rajma is very popular & authentic Punjabi gravy which is enjoyed with plain rice or chapattis or parathas, basically a main course, which is filling & nutritious & turns out excellent when cooked in tomato pulp with the spices. Well you can prepare with RED KIDNEY BEANS OR CHITRA KIDNEY BEANS OR KASHMIRI KIDNEY BEANS. ( details of the types of Rajma after the NOTES section)

Here is my Recipe of delicious and lip smacking Rajma Chawal.

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  • 1 cup Rajma
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3-4 whole black pepper
  • ½ tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 finely chopped onions
  • 3- 4 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • Coriander leaves for garnishing
  • ½ tsp coriander powder
  • 1 ½ tsp red chilli powder ( Kashmiri red chilly powder)
  • Pinch of turmeric powder
  • 1-2 green chilies finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil.


  • Soak Rajma  ( red kidney beans ) in an ample of water for 8- 10 hours ( preferably over night).
  • In a pressure cooker add oil, once oil is heated add whole black pepper, green chillies & onions, fry till onion becomes golden brown in colour, 
  • Add ginger garlic paste and fry it till raw smell disappears. Now add salt, turmeric powder, coriander powder, red chilly powder ( kashmiri powder ) and roast for a while.
  •  Now add tomatoes and stir. Cover and cook until tomatoes gets mashed, stir at intervals.
  • Drain the excess water from the pre-soaked Rajma and add to the gravy, saute for a minute & close the lid of the pressure cooker by adding 2 cups of water. Make it 2-3 whistles on high flame and then slow down the flame and let it make 3-4 whistles more.
  • Off the gas and once the pressure cooker comes to room temperature, open the lid and check the rajma ( kidney beans ) if they are done or no if they are yet to be done then cover the lid of the cooker and repeat the procedure of whistles till its completely done.
  • Once Rajma is done, add cumin powder ( roast & crush cumin seeds into powder) and garam masala powder, simmer till required gravy ( preferably thick gravy) on slow flame,garnish with coriander leaves.
  • Serve with a rice, paratha or chapattis.
  1. If you want you can add whole garam masala like cloves, bay leaf, black pepper, cardamom  & cinnamon.
  2. Cooking time for Rajma depends on the quality of Rajma , don’t buy dark color, it takes long time to cook .
  3. If Rajma is pre soaked overnight, it won’t take too long to be done completely other than those soaked for 2-3 hours unless it is Chitra Kidney beans. ( check the description for types of Rajmas)
  4. If you want you can grind tomatoes into paste or grate them, so that if tomatoes aren’t mashed properly they do not float in the gravy.
  5. If want you can add ½ tsp amchur powder for that extra flavor to give that Punjabi touch. 
  6. I usually use to prepare my rajma gravy with Kashmiri Kidney beans, but its your choice if you want to prepare the gravy with Red kidney beans, Chitra Kidney Beans or kashmiri Kidney beans, either of them , totally depends on you. Infact nowadays I prepare my Rajma Gravy with only with Chitra Kidney beans.
  7. Increase or decrease red chilly powder as per your preferences.
  8. Well if you are preparing Chitra Rajma just soak in warm water for an hour and then the rajma is ready to be cooked. ( make sure you cover with a lid )
  9. If you are running out of time then just soak rajma for 1-2 hours in warm water prior cooking, make sure you cover with the lid.
  10. Serve with normal or Jeera rice.
  11. You can add 1-2 tbsp fresh cream too. 

A Quick Preview on TYPES OF RAJMA : 

There are usually 3 types of kidney beans 


KASHMIRI KIDNEY BEANS/ RAJMA  are as name says it all famous as Kashmiri beans. They are fast to cook and you just need 4-5 hours to soak prior cooking.

RED KIDNEY BEANS/ RAJMA are dark red in colour and available in 2 sizes. They take a longer time then the chitra Rajma but are flavorful. They absorb the gravy and that in turn gives a good and tastier flavor to Rajma.

CHITRA KIDNEY BEANS / RAJMA : These rajma are called Chitra rajma only because of the shading on them. Well if you do not have time to soak these overnight, you can soak them in warm water for half to one hour prior to cooking. These are my favorites as they cook really fast.


COOKING TIME: 40-50 Minutes.

TOTAL TIME: 47 -57 Minutes.

SERVES: 4 Persons.


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Topics #punjabi rajma #rajma chawal

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