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A spoonful of Instant pot rajma masala over a bowl of rice
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Rajma Masala In Instant Pot

Vegan Rajma Masala recipe made with red kidney beans, in the Instant Pot is the ultimate comfort food! Serve rajma curry with chawal or bread. This restaurant style recipe is aromatic, lightly spiced, creamy, delicious and nutritious. 
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine North Indian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Soaking time 8 hours
Servings 4 people
Calories 398.09kcal

Equipment

Ingredients

Instructions

Instant Pot

  • Rinse raw kidney beans under running water for a minute. Then soak them in water, overnight or for 8 hours. Drain and keep it aside.
  • Turn on the Instant Pot in sauté mode. Add oil, then fry the cumin seeds, bay leaf, minced green chillies and part of the cilantro. Fry for 15 seconds.
  • Add chopped onions, minced garlic and ginger paste. Sauté till the onions turn translucent. If the onions stick to the bottom, add a tablespoon of water to deglaze.
  • Next add the chopped tomatoes along with salt. Sauté till they turn soft.
  • Now add the spices like cumin powder, coriander powder, chilly powder, turmeric and amchur powder. Mix and continue to cook for another 15 seconds.
  • Then add the soaked and drained red kidney beans to the pot.
  • Followed by water. Turn off the sauté mode. Close the lid and ensure the valve is in sealing position. Select Bean/Chili mode and cook for 30 minutes.
  • Once the pot beeps, release the pressure naturally and then open the lid. Add more water if you feel the gravy is too thick.
  • Also, garnish with garam masala, crushed Kasuri methi, and the remaining cilantro. Give it all a good stir. Rajma Masala is ready.

Stovetop

  • Heat oil in a pan, temper mustard seeds. Once they crackle, add the onion paste. Fry for a minute and then add the tomato paste or puree. Continue to fry for a minute or two.
  • Then add the dry spices like turmeric powderdhania jeera powder, chilly powder, and amchur powder.
  • Cook for 2 minutes and then add the cooked kidney beans. Mix them all together and cook for another 2 minutes. Lastly add crushed Kasuri methi and garam masala
  • Take it off the flame and garnish with chopped cilantro along with some lemon juice. You can also mash some of the beans to make it thicker, but the curry will thicken as it cools.

Notes

I have also added rajma masala, pav bhaji masala, or chole masala spice mix in place of garam masala and it tastes amazing. Skip adding onion and garlic if you want.
Add more veggies like potatoes, bell peppers, carrots to this rajma masala to make it more wholesome but it will not be authentic rajma masala.
If you are not vegan, use ghee instead of cooking oil. It will lend a nice aromatic flavor to this recipe. Instead of red kidney beans, you can use any other beans.
Instead of chopped tomatoes, you can also use tomato puree or sauce. Add a teaspoon of sugar to balance the tartness.
While cooking, you can add 1/8th tsp of Baking Soda for buttery soft Kidney beans. Instead of tomatoes, you can also add tomato paste.
The cooking time remains the same even if you double the recipe. Just double the liquid when you double the quantity of beans.
Why to soak legumes
Beans have indigestible carbohydrates in it, which makes you gassy and bloated. But since these carbohydrates are water-soluble, soaking them first helps.
Soaking and then cooking the beans will break down the carbohydrates and makes it easily digestible. Soaked beans also cook faster. 
So even though this requires little prep and effort, it totally is worth it. Preferably do not skip this step.
Forgot to soak the kidney beans
Or if not in the mood to do any overnight prep, cook the raw beans a bit longer (50 minutes) in the Instant Pot with more water.
Add 2 cups of water for every cup of kidney beans you add in the Instant Pot. Alternatively, what also works is soaking the beans in hot water for 45-60 minutes.
Want to use canned beans instead
To save on cook time, you can use canned kidney beans instead of raw beans. If doing so, then reduce the water and, cook it on manual mode for 7 minutes.
For 16oz of canned beans, use 1 cup of water. You can add more after its cooked if needed. Also remember, One 16oz can is equal to half cup of dried beans.
If cooking with canned beans, you can cook white rice along with it using the pot-in-pot method since the cooking time is similar.
Just a point to note here - discard the liquid in the can first and then use the beans.
How to check if the beans are done
To check if the beans have cooked, test it by taking out one bean and mashing it using a fork. If the center is still hard, that means it will require further cooking.
How to do pot-in-pot cooking
To do pot-in-pot cooking, you will need a tall trivet and a stainless steel container that you can use within the main pot.
You can make rajma chawal together in the Instant Pot with brown rice using the pot-in-pot method. . Brown rice similar to kidney beans, cooks in 25 minutes.
White rice cooks very quickly so that will not work in this recipe. It will get overcooked if cooked for that long. You can cook white rice separately.
However, if you are using canned red kidney beans, then you can cook white rice with it using the pot-in-pot method.
Alternatively, you can also add the brown rice directly into the Instant Pot along with the rajma. Add water accordingly and make rajma chawal together.
Want to slow cook it or in crockpot
You can surely try to slow cook rajma. Just pressure cook for 25 minutes, then put in slow cook mode in the Instant Pot for 2-3 hours. I am yet to try this.
To make this rajma masala in a crockpot, just add all the ingredients and set on high for 4-5 hours. 
What to do with leftovers
I personally feel rajma or chana masala tastes better the next day. The beans have gotten sufficient time to soak up all the flavors of the gravy.
Just ensure you store it properly in an airtight container. It stays well for 5-6 days in the fridge. It also freezes well upto 4 months.
To reheat, thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then heat in a pan or in the microwave. Add some warm water to loosen it.
Some fun ways to reuse leftover rajma is to add it to patties, chilla batter, or use it as paratha stuffing. You can get creative and make your own recipe!

Nutrition

Calories: 398.09kcal | Carbohydrates: 69.08g | Protein: 22.69g | Fat: 4.7g | Saturated Fat: 0.69g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2.41g | Sodium: 153.16mg | Potassium: 1587.12mg | Fiber: 18.13g | Sugar: 6.82g | Vitamin A: 1044.31IU | Vitamin C: 24.69mg | Calcium: 139.97mg | Iron: 7.98mg