Though kidney beans do not have a Southeast Asian origin, they have become crucial in the Indian diet, especially in the northern parts. Rajma served with boiled rice is popular in both northern India and parts of Nepal. Some have compared Rajma to a spicy vegetarian chili, which is not far off. It has a nice consistency, it is full of yummy beans and spices, and has a deep, rich tomato base. Others say that it is too thin to be a chili and is instead a curry. If you think it is like a chili, it would be a good thing to tell the picky eaters in your life if you want them to try it.

Made with classic Indian spices, this is an easy recipe that can be whipped up quickly and can act as good exposure for people who don’t really know what to expect from Indian food. It can also quickly find a home in your comfort food arsenal; it is both warm and filling for the body and soul. This recipe gets its spiciness from the chiles used, which can be either dried or fresh. We used fresh Serrano Chiles.

This is a vegetarian dish with a lot of protein, but you could serve it with a meat. It is extremely flavorful and delicious over rice with a side of naan bread, which is how we served it. Chapati is another type of flatbread that can be had with rajma. Our taste testers liked this recipe, stating that it was fragrant and that the beans added a nice texture.

 Print Recipe

Prep Time: 15 min.
Cooking Time: 35 min.
Servings: 4
Cooking Method: Stovetop
Category: Vegetarian, Legumes
Cuisine: Indian
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup onions, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 2 green chiles, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large tomatoes, cut into 1" cubes
  • 2 teaspoon Coriander Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon Tumeric
  • Pinch of Asafetida Powder
  • 2 cups kidney beans
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon Garam Masala
  1. In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add onions, bell pepper, and green chiles and cook until translucent.
  3. Add garlic, tomatoes, Coriander, Cumin, Tumeric, Asafetida Powder, and turn down heat to simmer for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  4. Turn heat back to medium, add beans and cook 5 minutes.
  5. Turn heat down to simmer, add lemon juice and Garam Marsala, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and serve with rice and naan.