This Palak Rajma masala | curried spinach kidney beans is a one pot curry which doesn’t require boiling first. Everything goes into the pot and pressure cooked for convenient weeknight meal and one pot less to clean . Make a big batch as it tastes even better the next day. This Rajma Masala is vegan and gluten free too. Enjoy it with a side of rotis , steamed rice or quinoa .
In this rajma masala recipe, Kidney beans are pressure cooked with tomato puree and warm Indian spices . This recipe isn’t completely bean centric .Towards the end a generous amount of spinach is added for added nutrition.
However you may skip it or add other greens like kale or swiss chard too.
Rajma Chawal i.e kidney beans curry and rice is one of the most popular comfort food for many in India , especially North India. A plate full of rice topped with generous amount of rajma is my all time favorite comfort food too. I can survive on it all life long.
Preparing Kidney Beans
One important thing you need to know about kidney beans that it has toxins. Now I don’t wanna scare you but if the beans are not cooked properly it may lead to stomach upset. Kidney beans shouldn’t be consumed raw because of high toxin levels. It has to be completely cooked through.
I even advice you to soak the beans in enough water for 8-10 hours / overnight. Discard the water and use fresh water for cooking.
So why eat Rajma / Kidney beans
We love including kidney beans in our diet as they are high in fiber and rich in so many vitamins , minerals like phosphorus , copper, iron ,folate ,Vitamin K1 and so on.
Pressure cooking makes it easier to include beans and lentils effortlessly in your diet. This curry here is made in an Instant pot i.e an electric pressure cooker. However you may make it in a stove top pressure cooker too. The instructions for both are mentioned below.
There are a couple of varieties of Kidney beans available. I have always had luck with the lighter ones as compared to the darker ones in terms of cooking nice and soft.
How to make Rajma masala in an Instant Pot –
Palak Rajma masala | curried spinach kidney beans
- For soaking
- 1 cup Kidney beans / Rajma
- 3 cups water
- For cooking
- 2 tablespoon mustard oil/ cooking oil of your choice
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 big cardamom / badi elaichi
- 1 cup finely chopped onions
- 1 deseeded green chili finely chopped optional
- 2 teaspoon ginger paste/ minced fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon garlic paste/ minced fresh garlic
- 2 roma tomato puree or ½ cup tomato puree of your choice
- 1 ¼ cups water
- Spices used
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder adjust to your spice level
- 1.5 teaspoon garam masala
- To be added later
- Salt to taste
- 2 cups chopped spinach
- 1 teaspoon crushed kasoori methi
- Fistful of chopped fresh cilantro
- Wash beans in a mesh/ colander under cold running water for 30 seconds.
- Add 3 cups water to the beans and boil it for 5 minutes on the stovetop.
- Let the beans soak in warm water for 8-10 hours or overnight.
- The beans will double it’s size the next day.
- Before cooking drain out all the excess water from soaked rajma/ kidney beans .
- Switch on the IP on saute mode.
- Pour in the cooking oil .
- Once warm add in bay leaves , big cardamom and stir it for 10 seconds.
- Now add in the chopped onions and saute until they are translucent for about a minute.
- Add in finely chopped green chili , ginger garlic paste and stir well for 30 seconds.
- Now add in the tomato puree , dry spices except salt and give it a quick stir.
- Cook this mixture for about 2 minutes.
- If it tends to splatter then cover it with some lid .
- Now add in the beans , 11/4 cups water and give it a stir.
- Cancel saute mode and place the IP lid on sealing position.
- Press manual , HIGH pressure for 24 minutes .
- Natural pressure release . Once the pin drops , vent out any steam and carefully open the lid.
- Check by pressing one of the beans by back of the spoon for doneness. It should smash without resistance.
- Add in salt , kasoori methi and give it a quick stir .
- Smash few beans roughly with the back of your spoon to make thick gravy .
- Start Saute mode and add in the Spinach.
- Cook for a minute until the spinach is wilted .
- Add cilantro.
- Taste test and adjust the spices to your taste.
- Squeeze in fresh lemon if desired.
SALT is added after cooking as beans take longer to cook if salt is added during the process . (Still debatable , but do whatever works for you)
This curry thickens as it starts cooling.
You may cook off any extra liquid on sautee mode towards the end to achieve thick consistency.
Discard bay leaf and cardamom after cooking to avoid chewing on it. You may skip Spinach or add other greens like chopped kale or Swiss Chard.
Skip Kasoori methi if unavailable.
Skip black cardamom or bay leaf if unavailable.
Pinto beans work great too for this recipe.
The spice level of this curry is 3 on 5. 5 being hot.
Adjust spices to your preference.
This curry keeps well up to 4 days in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer.
Tastes great the next day as the flavor deepens.
For Stove top pressure cooker follow IP steps . Cook on medium heat for 5-6 whistles . Let the pressure come down naturally.
Hope you like this Palak Rajma masala | curried spinach kidney beans recipe and do give it a try .
Do not forget to checkout other healthy Instant Pot recipe here .
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Thanks for stopping by.
I tried this today. I had my doubts that a meal this lean would actually taste good. I was pleasantly surprised!
I did it without a pressure cooker and used tomatos instead of puree+water. I will definitely cook this again. Thank you!
I am glad you like it, Sebastian. Thank you for the lovely feedback!
Rajma Rice is my favorite Indian food
It was very tasty and authentic.
I added green bell peppers instead bc I did not have spinach but wanted some veggies so not all carb.
May cook 5 min longer next time to ensure all beans are soft.
Thank you Sue for your feedback. Cooking time highly depends on the quality of beans . If they are old then they take longer to cook. I have personally had this problem of beans taking longer to cook with this recipe recently with a new pack of beans I got. Otherwise they always cooked well. I will retest and review the recipe tomorrow considering cooking time for old beans.
It was tasty and so easy
The rice looks great, as well. Do you have a recipe for the rice? It looks as if it is a rice blend of some sort. Looks delicious
Thank you Tia , it’s quick biryani made with mix vegetables especially carrots and saffron.
Was delicious and cooked well. Thank you.
Turned out so good for dinner yesterday
Glad to know that Genna 🙂
This is amazing! i love rajma and i am so gonna try this recipe.
Thank you so much for sharing
Awesome, do let me know if you liked it.
Have a question. You said add water means 3 cup water for 1 cup of bean ?
Amar, For soaking the beans yes.
Made this yesterday for dinner. And having it for lunch today – you are so right it tastes enjoy better today. I skipped spinach
Haha told ya Holly , Indian curries taste better with time 😉
Palak is my fav …. hence loved the recipe …