An overhead shot of rajma chawal served on a gray plate.

Punjabi Rajma Masala Curry

This quick & easy one-pot Punjabi rajma masala curry is super simple to make and loaded with rich and delicious flavors.
Course Lunch/Dinner
Cuisine Indian
Keyword Authentic, Dhaba-style, Punjabi
Method Instant Pot
Diet Gluten-free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Pressure release time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6
Calories 209kcal
Author Anushree Shetty


  • 1.5 cups rajma kidney beans
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons coconut or olive oil
  • 2 black cardamom
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • salt as needed
  • 1 Indian or Thai green chilies (Bird's eye) slit lengthwise
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mango powder amchoor, optional


  • Soak the kidney beans for about 6-8 hours or overnight with 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Pressure cooking

  • Stovetop pressure cooker - Rinse the soaked kidney beans and pressure cook it over medium heat it with 3 cups of water and 1/2 a teaspoon of salt (Approximately till the vent or whistle goes off 4 times). Set it aside to cool.
  • Instant Pot - Rinse the soaked kidney beans and pressure cook it over high for 25 minutes with 3 cups of water and 1/2 a teaspoon of salt. Allow the pressure to release naturally.

Making the gravy (start this process as the kidney beans are being pressure cooked)

  • Heat oil in a wok over medium heat. If using an Instant Pot, add oil and select the saute function and set it to 'Normal'.
  • Add the whole spices - black cardamom and bay leaf. Let it fry for about 30 seconds.
  • Add the chopped onions. Fry the onions till they turn soft and translucent (approximately 10 minutes)
  • Add chopped green chilies along with ginger and garlic. Fry them for a minute or two to let the raw taste disappear.
  • Add chopped tomatoes, along with the spice powders - chili, cumin, and coriander powder. Mix well.
  • Continue to cook till the tomatoes begin to soften.
  • [Optional step] Add about a cup of liquid from the cooked rajma. Use an immersion blender, and blend the onion-tomato mixture to a fine paste. [This gives the gravy a creamy texture].
  • Add the cooked kidney beans with the liquid along with garam masala and dry mango powder (if using).
  • Let the rajma simmer for about 10 minutes. For best results, simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Serve with either chapatis or steamed rice.


  1. Add a teaspoon of store-bought Rajma masala - gives this dish a nice tang. 
  2. To make it a one-pot meal,
    • Prepare the gravy first and then add soaked beans to it.
    • Pressure cook the beans with the gravy for about 30 minutes using an Instant Pot.
Note - The reason I don't pressure cook kidney beans with the gravy because the results are inconsistent. The beans don't cook uniformly (at times) and often take longer to cook. This is because tomatoes are acidic and they interfere with the cooking of the beans. 


Calories: 209kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Sodium: 346mg | Potassium: 203mg | Fiber: 15g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 190IU | Vitamin C: 10.5mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 1.2mg