Rajma in Instant Pot | Kidney Beans Curry

July 10, 2019 (Updated: September 9, 2019) By Aneesha |

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An easy Instant Pot recipe for a traditional Indian red kidney beans curry, called Rajma. This popular vegan and gluten-free comfort food can be made with dry or canned beans and is best enjoyed with steamed basmati rice.

Indian kidney beans curry called Rajma served in a copper bowl

This recipe always brings back sweet childhood memories for me. Piping hot Rajma served over steamed basmati rice used to be at the top of my comfort foods list. And mom would remember to make this for lunch on my birthday…. every year 🙂

Delicious Vegan & Gluten-Free Recipe

Beans are a great source of plant-based protein and fiber. They are nutritious, inexpensive and widely available, which is why they are a staple food in so many cultures around the world. Another huge plus is that they are naturally vegan and gluten-free.

This Rajma Masala recipe pairs beautifully with steamed basmati rice, which makes this one tasty vegan and gluten-free meal.

Easy One-Pot Meal – Great for Weeknights

My mom makes Rajma in a 2-step process. She pressure cooks the soaked beans with salt and turmeric. Simultaneously, she prepares an onion-tomato gravy in another pan and seasons it with ground Indian spices. Then, she simmers the cooked beans with this gravy for a few minutes.

I LOVE mom’s recipe, but I wanted to simplify it and make it a one-step process.  So, I tweaked it a bit and ended up with this recipe, in which I cook the beans in the gravy, all in the same pot.

I also ended up cooking rice in the same pot as the beans, using the pot-in-pot method, which made this a perfect weeknight dinner option!

Rajma masala garnished with green chillies and cilantro

Looking for more recipes like this, checkout Top 10 Indian Vegetarian recipes for your Instant Pot

How to Make Rajma in an Instant Pot

If using dry kidney beans, rinse and soak them overnight or 8 hours. Drain them before using. If using canned beans, rinse them till water runs clear and drain them.

Chop onions and grate or puree ginger and garlic. I pulse ginger and garlic 10-12 times in a mini food processor, add onion chunks and pulse another 10 times, till the onions gets finely chopped. Puree tomatoes or chop them finely if using fresh.

  • Turn the Instant Pot on SAUTE mode, adjust to more. Wait till the display reads ‘hot’.
  • Add oil or ghee and cumin seeds. When the cumin seeds begin to sizzle (a few seconds), add chopped onions, green chilies and crushed ginger and garlic. Saute for 30 seconds.
Step by step instructions on how to make Rajma in Instant Pot
  • Add crushed tomatoes, salt, turmeric, garam masala, cumin, coriander, cayenne and paprika. Saute for 30 seconds.
  • Add drained and rinsed kidney beans to the pot. Add fresh water and stir.
  • Close the lid and set the valve to sealing position. Cook on Bean/Chili or Pressure Cook mode for 30 minutes.
  • After the cooking time is done, wait for the pressure to release naturally (NPR).
Step by step instructions on how to make Rajma in Instant Pot
  • Open the lid after the pin drops and garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve warm with white or brown basmati rice.
Rajma masala garnished with green chillies and cilantro

Pro-Tip for a Creamy and Thick Curry

I learnt this simple trick from my mother-in-law. To thicken the consistency of the gravy, I mash a ladle-full of beans with a fork and add them back to the curry. This not only thickens the curry, but also makes it more creamy in texture.

Rajma Chawal – One Pot Beans and Rice using Pot-in-Pot Method (PIP)

In northern India, the pairing of beans and rice is called Rajma Chawal, where Rajma refers to any variety of kidney beans, and, Chawal means rice in Hindi.

You can cook this beans curry along with rice, using the Pot-in-Pot technique, all in the same pot. There are two possible combinations for this:

  • Dried soaked Kidney Beans Curry with Brown basmati rice, or
  • Canned kidney beans with White basmati rice.
Rajma masala served with brown rice and boondi raita

The texture of the brown rice turns out a bit more soft when cooked for 30 mins, but I feel that goes really well with the curry.

How to Make Rajma Chawal in an Instant Pot

  • Assemble the beans curry in the main cooking pot as per recipe instructions.
  • Assemble rice, water, salt and oil in any oven safe cooking bowl that fits easily in the Instant Pot.
  • Place a trivet in the cooking pot and place the rice bowl (rice+water+salt) on top of that.
  • Close the lid and pressure cook for:
    • 30 mins for soaked dried kidney beans + Brown Basmati rice, or,
    • 6 mins for canned kidney beans + White Basmati rice.
Kidney Beans and Rice, Instant pot, Pot in pot
Kidney Beans and Rice, Instant pot, Pot in pot

Make a Meal: What To Serve with Rajma

How to Make Rajma with Unsoaked Beans

If you forgot to soak the beans or want to skip the overnight soaking process, you can still enjoy this curry by modifying the cooking time. Here’s how:

  • Simply rinse and drain the dried beans.
  • Add them in the recipe as per instructions and set a cooking time of 55 mins on bean/Chili or Pressure Cook mode.
  • Add an extra cup of water as the dried beans will soak up more water to cook.

30-Minute Meal: Using Canned Beans in This Recipe

For weeknights, using canned red kidney beans and crushed tomatoes in the same recipe, makes this comfort meal possible in 30 minutes.

Simply rinse and drain the canned beans and add to the pot. Follow the remaining directions and set a 6 minute pressure cooking time on Manual/Pressure cook mode. Cook white basmati or jasmine rice PIP in the same time and enjoy a complete meal!

Rajma masala garnished with green chillies and cilantro

Different Variety of Dried Beans

Red kidney beans come in a few different varieties. They vary in size, which results in different pressure cooking times.

This recipe uses a medium size kidney bean variety, in which the beans are typically around 1/4 inch long. If using the larger variety of kidney beans, increase the pressure cooking time to 40 mins.

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Indian kidney beans curry called Rajma served in a copper bowl

Rajma in Instant Pot | Red Kidney Beans Curry

An easy Instant Pot recipe for a traditional Indian red kidney beans curry, called Rajma. This popular vegan and gluten-free comfort food can be made with dry or canned beans and is best enjoyed with steamed basmati rice.
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate Recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Soak Beans: 8 hours
Total Time: 9 hours
Servings: 5 people
Calories: 101kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Red Kidney Beans Dry (Rajma) soaked overnight, OR, 2 Cans Kidney Beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon Light Olive Oil or Ghee
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin Seed
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste 1/2 inch ginger + 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 green chillies whole or de-seeded (Optional)
  • 2 medium tomatoes pureed, OR, 1 cup Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1.5 cups water

Spices

Garnish

  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro for garnish

Equipment

Instructions

  • 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 SAUTE mode, adjust to more. When the display reads 'hot add oil or ghee and cumin seeds.
  • When the cumin seeds begin to sizzle (a few seconds), add chopped onions, green chilies and crushed ginger-garlic. Saute for 30 seconds.
  • Add crushed tomatoes, salt, turmeric, garam masala, cumin, coriander, cayenne and paprika. Saute for 30 seconds.
  • Add drained and rinsed kidney beans to the pot. Add fresh water and stir.
  • Close the lid and set the valve to sealing position. Cook on Bean/Chili or Pressure Cook mode for 30 minutes.
  • After the cooking time is done, wait for the pressure to release naturally (NPR). Open the lid after the pin drops and garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve warm with white or brown basmati rice.

Video

Notes

 
  • Pro-Tip for a Creamy and Thick Curry: Mash a ladle-full of beans with a fork and add them back to the curry. This not only thickens the curry, but also makes it more creamy in texture.  
  • Using Unsoaked Beans in this recipe: Simply rinse and drain the beans and add them in the recipe as per instructions and set a cooking time of 55 mins on bean/Chili or Pressure Cook mode.
  • Using Canned beans in this recipe: Rinse and drain the canned beans and add them to the recipe and set a 6 mins pressure cooking time. 
  • Different varieties of kidney beans: This recipe uses a medium size kidney bean variety, in which the beans are typically around 1/4 inch long. If using the larger variety of kidney beans, increase the pressure cooking time to 40 mins.
  • Making Pot-in-Pot Basmati rice with Rajma: Use these cooking times:
    • 30 mins for soaked dried kidney beans + Brown Basmati rice, or,
    • 6 mins for canned kidney beans + White Basmati rice.
  • If you are new to the Instant Pot, please read my FAQ on Instant Pot Terminology and Accessories to learn more.
Note: The nutrition facts below are my estimates and do not include rice.  If you are following any diet plan, I recommend cross-checking with your preferred nutrition calculator.

Nutrition

Calories: 101kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 536mg | Potassium: 315mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 659IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Instant Pot Rajma, Rajma, Rajma Masala in Instant Pot
Did you try this recipe?Mention @SpiceCravings or tag #spicecravings!

This recipe was originally posted in 2017, but was updated in 2019 with new photos, helpful information, tips, and step-by-step photos.

HEY! NICE TO MEET YOU!

Aneesha holding a glass of white wine Hi, I'm Aneesha, a foodie by birth and the mind, body and soul behind Spice Cravings. Here I share quick, easy & healthy Indian & global recipes that are low in effort and big on taste! A recipe doesn't make it on the blog unless it is tested multiple times and gets a thumbs-up from my taster-in-chief, my husband, and my teen-chefs, my twin girls!

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Alice
    November 1, 2019 at 5:07 pm

    5 stars
    If using canned beans cut way down on the water. I added 1 cup instead of 1.5, 1/2 or 3/4 would have been better. But so delicious! We moved to the country where there are NO Indian or Mediterranean eateries, do I am trying to learn to cook them myself.

    • Reply
      Aneesha
      November 2, 2019 at 9:53 am

      Hi Alice, Thank you, I’m very glad you enjoyed this recipe. You made the right decision by cutting down water for canned beans, I’ll add that to the recipe notes. I hope you try some other mediterranean and Indian recipes on the blog- even Ethiopian, you’ll be surprised with the flavors:)

  • Reply
    Pamela
    November 19, 2018 at 5:44 pm

    I made this tonight but did not use my Instant Pot, simply because I used canned beans and wanted the extra simmer as I made my bread. I also left out the cayenne to suit my taste but otherwise made with the ingredients and measurements stated. The taste was spot on. Loved it and will make again.

    • Reply
      aneeshasg
      November 19, 2018 at 9:14 pm

      Hi Pamela, that is awesome! I’m glad you customized the recipe to your liking. Thanks for sharing your feedback! If you haven’t already, please click on the stars and rate the recipe, it helps other readers! Thanks much!

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