Beans and Rice are a staple food in so many cultures around the world. It’s nutritious, it’s widely available, it’s inexpensive and most of all- it’s hearty food which leaves you full and satisfied.
In northern India, this popular combination is called Rajma Chawal, where Rajma refers to any variety of kidney beans, and, Chawal means rice. This dish is very close to my heart- it represents my Punjabi roots and has countless childhood memories attached to it. I n this recipe, I have cooked Kidney Beans and Rice Pot-in-Pot, which means I’ve cooked both in the same pot, using the pot-in-pot technique (PIP), a huge time and effort saver. When you scroll down, you’ll see an elaboration of the PIP concept. You can learn more on my dedicated page for PIP (pot-in-pot) cooking HERE.
Canned vs Dry Kidney Beans
When I have time to plan ahead, I soak the dry kidney beans the night before. Then, I cook these rinsed and drained beans in a mildly spicy, tomato based curry, seasoned with warm Indian spices. Beans take around 45-50 minutes to cook on a stove-top, so I always pressure cook them, which cuts the cooking time in half.
For weeknights, using canned kidney beans and crushed tomatoes in the same recipe, makes this comfort meal possible in 5-6 minutes of cooking time. When using canned beans, this kidney beans and rice recipe can be combined with white Basmati or Jasmine rice, with a cook time of 6 minutes.
Pot-in-Pot Cooking (PIP)
In this recipe, I have made the whole meal Pot-in-Pot (PIP), in my electric pressure cooker, Instant Pot. It’s a huge time and effort saver. Once you set your pot, you don’t have to worry about dinner anymore. To learn more about the instant pot, check out my Instant Pot FAQ and Accessories blog.
I cooked the kidney beans curry in the main pot and brown rice in a smaller pot, placed on a trivet in the Instant Pot. When cooking using the PIP technique, the important thing to remember is, to combine things with similar cooking times.
Here’s how you make Rajma Chawal:
Cook the curry per recipe, place trivet
Place a bowl with Brown rice, water, salt, butter
Some popular PIP combinations:
- Dry Beans (Kidney/Red/Garbanzo) and Brown rice (25 minutes Manual/Pressure Cook, NPR)
- Goat Curry and Brown Rice (25 minutes Manual/Pressure Cook, NPR)
- Chicken Breast/Thighs and White Rice (6 minutes Manual/Pressure Cook, NPR 10)
- Fish and Vegetables (2 minutes Manual/Pressure Cook, QR)
- Beef Curry and Brown rice (25 minutes Manual/Pressure Cook, NPR)
- Fish and Quinoa (2 minutes Manual/Pressure Cook, QR)
- Quinoa and Vegetables (2 minutes Manual/Pressure Cook, QR)
- Eggs and Chicken Tenders/Cubes (5 minutes Manual/Pressure Cook, NPR 5)
These cooking times are based on my texture and cook level preference. You can adjust it to your taste and use this chart as a guideline.
Accessories I use for this meal:
Stackable containers fit 6qt, 8qt
This Pot-in-Pot technique can work in a stove-top pressure cooker like Hawkins Pressure Cooker too. Simply follow this recipe and start off on medium heat on your stove. Reduce heat to medium after first whistle, and cook for 20-22 minutes, depending on your stove’s heat capacity.
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Kidney Beans and Brown Rice Pot-in-Pot | Instant Pot Rajma Chawal
Kidney Beans Curry (Rajma)
- 1 cup Red Kidney Beans : Rajma,soaked overnight, OR, 1 Can Kidney Beans
- 1 tablespoon Light Olive Oil or Ghee
- 1 teaspoon Cumin Seed
- 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste : 1/2 inch ginger + 3 cloves garlic
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 2 green chillies whole or de-seeded (Optional)
- 2 tomatoes pureed, OR, 1 cup Crushed Tomatoes
- 2 teaspoon Garam Masala
- 2 teaspoon Coriander Powder
- 1 teaspoon Roasted Ground Cumin
- 1 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
- 1 teaspoon salt adjust to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
- 1.5 cups water
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro for garnish
- Prep: If using dry kidney beans, rinse and soak them overnight. Drain them before use. Chop onions and crush ginger-garlic. You can do that by pulsing them together in a mini food processor. Puree tomatoes if using fresh.
- Turn the Instant Pot on to SAUTE mode, adjust to more. Wait 30 seconds and add oil/ghee, cumin seeds and green chillies. When the cumin seeds begin to sizzle (a few seconds), add chopped onions and crushed ginger-garlic. Saute for 30 seconds. Add crushed tomatoes and all spices, saute for 30 seconds. Add drained kidney beans and water and stir.
- Assemble rinsed brown rice, water, salt and oil/ghee in a small stainless steel or cooker safe bowl. Place trivet in inner pot, place rice bowl on top. Close lid, Valve set to sealing. Set Manual or Pressure Cook for 25 minutes, NPR (natural Pressure release).
- Open lid after NPR, remove the rice. Garnish the Kidney Beans curry (Rajma) with chopped cilantro. Using a fork, fluff the rice in a bowl. You're done!