Instant Pot Rajma Masala (Curried Kidney Beans)

rajma masala over rice in a plate

Red kidney beans cooked in a thick onion-tomato gravy. Ladled over rice, it makes for a complete meal and a very popular north Indian dish called rajma chawal. Vegan, gluten-free and yum!

  • Author: Saima Zaidi
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Lunch
  • Method: Pressure cooking/Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Indian



For the rajma curry

  • 1 cup red kidney beans
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 medium-sized onion, chopped roughly
  • 1" piece ginger root, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped, 0r 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • sea salt
  • 2 cups water

For the tempering (optional)

  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 tbsp onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1-2 dry red chillies



  1. Wash and soak the kidney beans in 2 cups water. Keep covered overnight or at least 4 hours.
  2. Grind the onion, ginger, garlic and tomato in a blender to a smooth puree.


  1. Switch on the instant pot to saute (normal), and add the oil, followed by the the onion puree prepared earlier. Add the red chilli, turmeric, coriander and garam masala powders. Sauté for 4-5 minutes, adding splashes of water if required.
  2. Add the kidney beans, salt and 2 cups water.
  3. Cancel the saute mode, close the lid, seal the vent and set the timer to 30 minutes, high pressure. When the timer beeps, let the steam escape naturally. Open the cooker and switch to saute mode again.
  4. Mash one or two tablespoonfuls of beans wit the back of a spoon and simmer for 5 minutes so that the beans get mixed with the gravy. Take out the rajma in a bowl.
  5. To temper the rajma curry, heat a tablespoon of oil in a small frypan and add the sliced onions and cumin seeds. When the onions turn reddish brown, add the dry red chillies and pour this seasoning into the bowl of rajma immediately.
  6. Serve hot with some steamed rice and a salad of your choice.


  1. Soak your beans in water for at least 12 hours before cooking them. Traditional cultures place a lot of emphasis on soaking legumes before cooking them and for a good reason. It aids in both digestibility and nutrient absorption.
  2. If, however, you don't want to soak the beans or forgot to, add more water while cooking them. Instead of 2 cups, add 3 cups of water in step 2. Also, set the timer to 45 minutes, high pressure. This will ensure that the beans are well-cooked and soft.
  3. If making this recipe in your stovetop pressure cooker, follow the same steps including the time for pressure cooking. After closing the lid, increase heat and wait for the pressure to build up. After one whistle, lower the heat and cook for 30 minutes, then switch off. Let the steam escape naturally, then open.
  4. I have not included the soaking time in the recipe.


Keywords: rajma masala, rajma chawal, kidney beans curry with rice, Indian curries