Rajma Masala

This hearty and comforting dish is perfect for a cozy night in and is often served with rice or naan.

Rajma Masala

Rajma masala is a popular and flavorful North Indian dish that is made with red kidney beans, tomatoes, and a blend of aromatic spices. This hearty and comforting dish is perfect for a cozy night in and is often served with rice or naan. In this article, we will explore the steps to create this delicious and nutritious recipe. Stay tuned to discover the secrets of making the perfect rajma masala!

What Is Rajma Masala?

  • Rajma Masala is a popular North Indian dish that features succulent red kidney beans cooked in a rich and flavorful tomato-based gravy. This dish perfectly combines the hearty texture of the beans with a blend of aromatic Indian spices and unique seasoning. The result is a delicious and wholesome meal that is a favorite in many Indian households.

Why You'll Love Rajma Masala?

  • Rich and Flavorful Texture: Rajma masala has a thick, rich, and flavorful texture that comes from the combination of spices and tomato puree. It makes for a hearty and satisfying meal.
  • High in Protein and Fiber: Rajma beans are packed with protein and fiber, making it a healthy and filling option for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.
  • Good Source of Iron: The canned red kidney beans used in rajma masala are a good source of iron, which is essential for carrying oxygen to the body's cells and supporting overall health.
  • Supports Digestive Health: The blend of spices used in rajma masala, such as ginger, garlic, and cumin seeds, can aid in digestion and promote gut health.
  • Heart-Healthy Ingredients: With the use of olive oil and the absence of saturated fats, this dish is heart-healthy and can support overall cardiovascular well-being.
  • Versatile and Customizable: Rajma masala can be enjoyed as a standalone dish with rice or naan, or it can be paired with other Indian curries and sides. It's a versatile dish that can be customized to suit individual preferences.

Ingredients for Rajma Masala

  • Canned Red kidney beans or Rajma beans: These provide the main protein base for the dish and add a rich, nutty flavor.
  • Onion: Finely chopped onion adds a strong, savory flavor and also helps to create the base of the gravy for the dish.
  • Tomato: Pureed tomato adds a tangy and slightly sweet flavor to the masala, as well as helping to thicken the gravy.
  • Green chili: Adds a spicy kick to the dish, balancing out the other flavors.
  • Ginger and garlic paste: This combination adds a warm, pungent flavor and aroma, enhancing the overall taste of the dish.
  • Spices (Red chili powder, Coriander powder, Turmeric powder, Garam masala powder, Salt): Each of these spices adds its own unique flavor profile, from heat to warmth to earthiness, creating a well-balanced and aromatic masala.

How To Make Rajma Masala?

Rajma masala is a classic Indian dish that is both flavorful and comforting. Follow these simple steps to create a delicious pot of rajma masala, and don't skip any key steps for the best experience.

  • Start by draining and washing the canned red kidney beans thoroughly. This step helps to remove any excess salt or preservatives, ensuring a cleaner and fresher taste to the beans.
  • Puree the tomatoes in a blender until smooth. This step adds a rich and tangy flavor to the curry, enhancing the overall taste of the dish.
  • Tempering the spices is crucial for rajma masala. Heat a pan with oil and fry the cumin seeds, cloves, and cinnamon stick until they begin to splutter. This step releases the aromatic flavors of the spices, infusing the oil and the entire dish with a warm and delightful fragrance.
  • Saute the onions, green chili, and ginger-garlic paste until they are browned and fragrant. This step builds the base of the curry, creating a deep and savory flavor that will carry through the entire dish.
  • Adding the tomato puree and sauteing it well before adding the spices allows the flavors to meld together, creating a rich and robust base for the rajma masala.
  • Sauteing the spices, such as turmeric, red chili powder, coriander powder, and garam masala, until the oil separates adds layers of complexity and depth to the dish, ensuring a well-rounded and balanced flavor profile.
  • Adding water and allowing the gravy to thicken before adding the red kidney beans ensures that the beans absorb the flavors of the curry, resulting in a cohesive and flavorful dish.
  • Garnishing the rajma masala with fresh coriander leaves adds a pop of freshness and color, elevating the overall presentation and taste of the dish.

Follow these steps to make a delicious pot of rajma masala that is bursting with flavor and perfectly balanced.

Serving Suggestions

  • Pair with Basmati Rice: Serve the delicious and flavorful rajma masala with fragrant basmati rice to create a satisfying and filling meal.
  • Accompany with Naan Bread: Enjoy the rajma masala with some warm and fluffy naan bread to scoop up the rich and savory gravy.
  • Side of Raita: Balance out the spiciness of the rajma masala with a refreshing side of raita, made with yogurt and cucumber, to cool down your palate.
  • Fresh Salad: A side salad of freshly chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions with a drizzle of lemon juice can add a refreshing touch to the meal.
  • Papadum: Serve crispy papadums on the side for some extra crunch and texture to complement the creamy rajma masala.
  • Mango Lassi: Complete the meal with a refreshing mango lassi, a classic Indian yogurt-based drink, to provide a sweet contrast to the flavorful rajma masala.

Tips for Making Rajma Masala

Furthermore, I would like to share some of my suggestions for making rajma masala.

  • Firstly, in this recipe, I used canned beans. Because it does not require the soaking and cooking steps. If you don’t have canned beans, soak rajma or red kidney beans for 12 hours or overnight and drain the water. Then pressure cook it for 6 to 7 whistles with enough water. Otherwise, the rajma would not cook properly and perhaps half cooked to spoil your taste and stomach.
  • Secondly, try to add ripe tomatoes for this recipe because it will give a nice color and tangy taste to your curry.
  • Finally, if you want more gravy, then add 1 or 2 tbsp of coriander powder and adjust the red chili powder and salt.

Variations for Rajma Masala

  • Add vegetables: Try adding diced potatoes, carrots, or bell peppers to the rajma masala for extra flavor and nutrients. You can experiment with different combinations of vegetables for a unique twist.
  • Creamy coconut milk: For a creamy and rich variation, substitute some of the water with coconut milk. This will add a subtle coconut flavor to the dish and make it more indulgent.
  • Paneer Rajma: For a protein-packed variation, add cubes of paneer (Indian cottage cheese) to the rajma masala. The paneer will absorb the flavors of the masala and add a delicious creamy texture to the dish.
  • Spicy twist: Add a teaspoon of Kashmiri red chili powder for a vibrant red color and a slightly milder heat. You can also experiment with different types of chili powder for a spicier variation.
  • Tangy tamarind: For a tangy and flavorful twist, add a small piece of soaked tamarind pulp to the rajma masala. This will add a hint of sourness and depth of flavor to the dish.
  • Fresh herbs: Experiment with adding fresh herbs such as mint or cilantro to the dish for a burst of freshness. You can also try garnishing with finely chopped fresh herbs for a vibrant and aromatic variation.

How to Store Rajma Masala

  • Storing Canned Red Kidney Beans or Rajma Beans: To maintain the freshness of the canned beans, ensure to drain and wash them thoroughly before storing in an airtight container. This will help prevent spoilage and maintain the flavor.
  • Preserving Tomato Puree: After blending the tomatoes, store the puree in an airtight container and refrigerate. It's important to keep the puree fresh to enhance the flavor of the rajma masala when used in the dish.
  • Keeping Spices Fresh: Store the turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, and garam masala powder in airtight containers away from direct sunlight and heat to preserve their flavor and potency.
  • Maintaining Freshness of Aromatics: Properly store the finely chopped onion, green chili, and ginger and garlic paste in airtight containers in the refrigerator to maintain their freshness and flavor.
  • Storing Cooking Oil: Olive oil or any other oil used in the recipe should be stored in a cool, dark place to prevent it from going rancid. Ensure the lid is tightly closed to maintain its freshness.
  • Preserving Whole Spices: Cumin seeds, cloves, and cinnamon stick should be stored in airtight containers away from moisture and heat to retain their aroma and flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I use fresh kidney beans instead of canned?

  • Yes, you can definitely use fresh kidney beans instead of canned. However, you will need to soak the beans overnight and then boil them until they are cooked before using them in the recipe.

How can I make the rajma masala less spicy?

  • If you prefer a milder version of rajma masala, you can reduce the amount of red chili powder and green chili in the recipe. You can also add a little bit of cream or yogurt to balance out the spiciness.

Can I make rajma masala in advance and reheat it later?

  • Yes, you can make rajma masala in advance and store it in the refrigerator for a few days. When reheating, you may need to add a little bit of water or cream to adjust the consistency.

What can I serve with rajma masala?

  • Rajma masala is traditionally served with steamed rice, but you can also serve it with naan, roti, or paratha for a complete meal.

Is it necessary to use garam masala powder in the recipe?

  • Garam masala powder adds warmth and depth to the flavor of the dish, but it is optional. If you prefer, you can omit it or replace it with a small amount of ground cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom.

Can I use a different type of oil for cooking the rajma masala?

  • You can use any neutral-flavored cooking oil like vegetable oil, canola oil, or even ghee instead of olive oil in the recipe. Each type of oil will impart a slightly different flavor to the dish, so feel free to use your preferred option.

Recipe Card

Rajma Masala

Rajma Masala 2017-03-02 07:15:04

Serves 3                            Print        

Prep Time   00:05        

Cook Time   00:20        

Total Time   00:25                      


  • 400 grams Canned Red kidney beans or Rajma beans
  • 1 medium sized onion finely chopped
  • 150 grams tomato
  • 1 green chili finely chopped
  • 1&1/2 tsp ginger and garlic paste
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala powder
  • salt to taste
  • coriander leaves for garnishing          

To Temper

  • 2 tbsp olive oi or any other oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick          


  • Drain and then wash the canned beans thoroughly and keep it aside.
  • Chop and place the tomatoes in the blender and blend until pureed, keep it aside.          

How to cook Rajma Masala

  • Meanwhile, heat a pan with oil, add all the ingredients given under 'to temper' and fry until spluttering.
  • Add finely chopped onion and green chili, fry until browned.
  • Then add ginger and garlic paste, stir-fry until raw smell leaves.
  • Pour the tomato puree and saute well for 2 to 3 mins.
  • Then add turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder and salt, saute well until the oil separates out from the masala.
  • Then add 1 cup of water and mix well.
  • When it starts to boil, add red kidney beans, close the lid and cook for 5 mins or until the gravy becomes thick.
  • Switch off the heat and finally, garnish it with coriander leaves.         

By Santhi Therese    The Indian Claypot


You may also like my other Indian Curries posts and recipes like Vendakkai Mor Kuzhambu / Okra Yogurt Gravy, Kadai Paneer Recipe, Mutton Peas Curry, Kadai Paneer Masala, Karela Curry / Bitter Gourd Curry, Mochai Kuzhambu Recipe / Fresh Field Beans Curry, Palak Paneer Recipe, Omelette Curry, Indian Fish Curry, Liver Recipe, Ginger Garlic Paste Recipe, Mutton Chukka Recipe, Paneer Jalfrezi Recipe, Chole Bhature / Chola Poori, Nandu Masala / Crab Masala, Chettinad Egg Curry, Matar Paneer Masala, Indian Mutton Curry Recipe, Paneer Butter Masala, Soya Chunks Kurma .

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Palak Paneer Recipe
Omelette Curry
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Liver Recipe
Ginger Garlic Paste Recipe
Mutton Chukka Recipe
Paneer Jalfrezi Recipe
Chole Bhature / Chola Poori
Nandu Masala / Crab Masala
Chettinad Egg Curry
Matar Paneer Masala
Indian Mutton Curry Recipe
Paneer Butter Masala
Soya Chunks Kurma

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