Like most recipe sites, Dassana’s Veg Recipes has succumbed to the SEO horror. The end result is presumably good for stickiness, but terrible to following a recipe. End result? I’m writing up my own notes for Rajma!

  • kidney beans (see below)
  • green chilies (2 – 4)
  • root ginger (2 – 3cm chunk)
  • garlic (4 cloves)
  • oil / butter (1 tsb)
  • purple onion (medium size, approx 150g)
  • ripe Tomatoes (2 or 3, approx, 200g)
  • cumin seeds (1 tsp)
  • mango powder (1 tsp)
  • chili powder (1/2 – 1 tsp)
  • turmeric (1/4 – 1/2 tsp)
  • garam masala (1/2 tsp)
  • asafoetida / hing (1/4 tsp)
  • salt (1/4 – 1/2 tsp)
  • kasuri methi / dried fenugreek leaves 1 tsb)

I’m cooking kidney beans in a pressure cooker after soaking them for at least 24hrs. The thing with Rajma is that the beans need to be well cooked all the way through, close to the point where a few of them have skins cracked. It would probably work pretty well wish good quality canned. We usually cook more than are needed, but i guess that one, or one and a half cans would be about the right balance.


  • finely chop the onion and tomato.
  • crackle the cumin seeds in the oil, and start to slowly fry the onions. they need to be soft.
  • while the onions are frying grind the chilies / garlic / ginger into a paste (it doesn’t need to be smooth, and probably wont be!)
  • when the onions are soft, add the chili / garlic / ginger paste, let it cook for a minute or so – until the raw garlic smell goes
  • add the tomatoes, let them cook for a couple of minutes and start to break down
  • add the ground spices (mango powder, chili powder, turmeric, garam masala, hing) mix well
  • now you need to cook this masala until the oil starts to come out of the mixture. it’ll probably take longer than expect, but don’t let it dry out.
  • add the kidney beans, mix them into the masala
  • add 1 – 2 cups of water, or the cooking liquid from the pressure cooker, add salt, mix well
  • cook on a low simmer for around 10 minutes. the sauce will thicken, you have to make a decision about thick you want the rajma… the longer you let it simmer, the thicker it’s going to be. if you’re eating it with rice leave it a little thinner, with naan / chapati thicker. have noticed i tended to let it thicken too much in the first couple of attempts
  • crush the kasuri methi, and stir well

The whole “until the oil starts to come out” stage of cooking the masala seems to be the key to getting a good curry. You’re basically making a roux to thicken whatever comes next, and if you don’t let cook well things won’t end well!

The original recipe has a step about adding a couple of tablespoons of cream right at the end. Have never tried it with cream, but yogurt also works, just make sure it isn’t too sour. It doesn’t really add too much – but i’m not into that whole “restaurant style” thing, prefer to keep things “rustic”.

† – the garam masala that i’m using (TRS brand) kind of sucks… it’s so strong that you either use so little that you may as well not bother, or you don’t bother! When i forget and put it in… regret. Should probably try some other mixes. All the other spices are kind of integral to the experience – the mango powder providing extra sourness, and the asafoetida doing that thing that is does with beans / lentils… which is kind of indescribable. Sorry.