Curried Beans – Rajma


Rajma is a very popular dish in the Northern parts of India, especially in the Punjab.  Here it is usually served with rice and is a regular feature in most households.  As with all curries, most people have their own “take” on it ….. the spices may vary slightly, some use more chilli than others and the use of tomatoes will also vary from one household to another.

Red kidney beans are soaked overnight, rinsed and left to simmer until soft and squidgy.  I have used red kidney beans and Borlotti beans out of tins!  The pace of life being such, it is not always easy to remember to soak the beans and tins are a nifty option.  You can use just red kidney beans if you prefer.  I have also tried this recipe with black turtle beans, very popular in Latin American countries, and it was the most luscious, rich and gloopy bean curry I have ever tasted.  You can buy them in tins in most supermarkets.


1 tin Red Kidney beans, rinsed (400 gram tin)
1 tin Borlotti beans, rinsed (400 gram tin)
2 medium carrots, thickly sliced
1 large onion, sliced
3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 inch piece ginger, finely chopped
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon cumin powder
2 teaspoons curry powder (mild or hot, whichever you prefer)
1 tablespoon tomato puree
3 tablespoons oil
Salt to taste
Fresh chopped coriander to garnish
Garam Masala: to be fried whole with the onions
4 cloves, 6 black peppercorns, 2 pods cardamom, 2 inch stick cinnamon, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds


  1. Fry the onion with all of the garam masala listed above in 3 tablespoons oil until onions are golden
  2. In a bowl mix all the spices, garlic, ginger, tomato puree, salt and a little water to make a paste
  3. Add spice paste to the onions and fry for about 5-6 minutes, adding small splashes of water to stop it from burning
  4. Take about a third of a tin of either of the beans and mash them with a potato masher or fork
  5. Add all the beans including the mashed beans and the carrot with about 250ml of water (about 1 cup and a bit)
  6. Bring to boil, lower heat and simmer gently on low heat for about 25-30 minutes until you have a nice, thick sauce
  7. Sprinkle fresh coriander, give it a stir and serve with rice, quinoa or eat with chappati or any flat bread

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