Maya’s Rajma ( Curried Red Kidney Beans)

My Maya used to make the best Indian food ever!

I learned all my cooking basics from her. I would spend every summer vacation, during my undergrad years, in the kitchen with her learning anything she could teach me so I could eat “real food” whilst away in college in the US.

Rajma,  made with red kidney beans, is a classic comfort food in any Punjabi home. There is nothing like eating rajma-chawal ( rajma and rice).

Here is the way that Maya used to make her Rajma.

Rajma (Maya)

Serves 6


Kidney beans – soak overnight and boil till almost done

3-4 small tomatoes – pureed

2 medium onions ground

2 tbsp. oil

1 tsp. cumin seeds 

2 black cardamom pods (moti elaichi)

1 small stick cinnamon

2 tsp. coriander powder

1 tsp. turmeric

2 tbsp. garlic and ginger, ground together

Chili powder to taste

1 bunch cilantro, chopped


• Heat 3 tbsp. oil in a cooking pot.

• Add cumin seeds, black cardamom elaichi, 3 bay leaves and cinnamon.

• Add ground onions cook for about 10 minutes.

• Add ground garlic and ginger and cook 10 minutes.

• Add coriander powder, 2 tsp. turmeric and chili powder to taste.

• Cook for a minute and then add tomato puree.

• Let the whole mixture thicken and cook well for about 15 minutes.

• Add beans with water (that it was boiled in) and allow the mixture to come to a boil.

• Add salt and mix well.

• Cook the mixture in a pressure cooker for about 20 minutes.

• Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with basmati rice.

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