Rajma Masala, Warming Kidney Bean Curry

Rajma Masala, Warming Kidney Bean Curry

Kidney beans for some reason play second fiddle to chickpeas but I just don't understand why - they are so delicious naturally! There is a certain creaminess that comes from making this bean from its dried form which means you really don't need to add that much cooking oil or fat when preparing it. Lately I've been just pressing the bean setting on my Instant Pot while I work so I have the cooked beans ready to go when we're close to dinner time. They are also so dang cheap compared to buying cans of beans!

When I describe rajma to anyone that has not had it I say it's Indian chili but its much more than that. Rajma, kidney bean curry, is flavored with warming spices like cardamom, black peppercorns, clove and cinnamon. I love to eat it not just with rice and roti but it's amazing in tacos and also on nachos! This is one dish that Alok never says no to. Now I actually use my Cashew Butter Masala, as the base has onions, garlic, ginger, tomato and many of the spices (asafetida, cumin, coriander, garam masala, chili powder) already included but if you don't have the simmer sauce, I have also included the ingredients you will need to make the sauce from scratch.

Serves 4


2-3 cups cooked kidney beans (2 15 oz cans or 1 cup dried beans cooked in Instant Pot)

1 tablespoon mild oil such as sunflower

2 Diaspora Co. cardamom pods

few Diaspora Co. black peppercorns

2 cloves

1 stick cinnamon

1 bay leaf

1/4 teaspoon  Diaspora Co. turmeric powder

1 jar Brooklyn Delhi Cashew Butter Masala

1-2 teaspoons amchoor powder (green mango powder), optional - can sub in tamarind or lemon

1 teaspoon jaggery or brown sugar, optional

salt to taste

*If you don't have my Cashew Butter Masala, you can make the sauce from scratch using the following ingredients adding them in the following order: 

1 tablespoon mild oil such as sunflower or ghee

pinch of asafetida

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 medium red onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic minced

1 teaspoon ginger grated

2 green chilis or to taste (can use jalapeno as a sub), minced

1 15 oz can diced tomatoes or 3-4 chopped plum tomatoes  – can sub in a few tablespoons of tomato paste with a 1/2 cup of water

1 tablespoon coriander powder

1/3 teaspoon garam masala

1/4 teaspoon Diaspora Co. chili powder or to taste


In a saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil or ghee over medium heat. Add the cardamom, black peppercorns, cinnamon, clove and bay leaf and fry till they sizzle. Mix in the turmeric powder.

Add 1 jar of Cashew Butter Masala simmer sauce. Add the cooked kidney beans and simmer until flavors meld, 5 minutes. Add the optional amchoor powder and jaggery and salt to taste. 

Serve over rice or with roti or naan with yogurt and achaar for heat! Garnish with  chopped cilantro and sliced onions.

For Serving

Rice, Roti or Tortillas

Brooklyn Delhi Tomato Achaar or Roasted Garlic Achaar, for heat


sliced onions