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How to Make Authentic Rajma Chawal: A Step-by-Step Guide

Rajma Chawal


How to Make Authentic Rajma Chawal: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Make Authentic Rajma Chawal: A Step-by-Step Guide

Reading Time: 3 Minutes

Rajma Chawal, a beloved North Indian dish, is a comforting combination of kidney beans (rajma) cooked in a flavorful tomato-based gravy, served with steamed rice (chawal). This hearty and nutritious meal is not only delicious but also easy to prepare. Follow this step-by-step guide to make authentic Rajma Chawal at home.


For Rajma (Kidney Beans) Curry

  • 1 cup kidney beans (rajma)
  • 3 cups water (for soaking and boiling rajma)
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 3 medium tomatoes, pureed
  • 2 green chilies, slit
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 tablespoons oil or ghee
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 2 green cardamoms
  • 4 cloves
  • 1-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • Fresh coriander leaves, chopped (for garnish)

For Chawal (Rice)

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon oil or ghee
  • Salt, to taste


Step 1: Soaking and Boiling the Rajma

  1. Rinse the Rajma: Rinse 1 cup of kidney beans thoroughly under running water.
  2. Soak the Rajma: Soak the rinsed rajma in 3 cups of water overnight or for at least 8 hours.
  3. Boil the Rajma: After soaking, drain the water. In a pressure cooker, add the soaked rajma and 3 cups of fresh water. Pressure cook for 15-20 minutes or until the beans are soft and tender. Set aside.

Step 2: Preparing the Masala

  1. Heat Oil/Ghee: In a large pan or kadai, heat 2 tablespoons of oil or ghee over medium heat.
  2. Add Whole Spices: Add 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, 1 bay leaf, 1 black cardamom, 2 green cardamoms, 4 cloves, and a 1-inch cinnamon stick. Sauté until fragrant.
  3. Add Onions: Add finely chopped onions and sauté until they turn golden brown.
  4. Add Ginger-Garlic Paste: Add 1 tablespoon of ginger-garlic paste and cook until the raw smell disappears.
  5. Add Tomato Puree: Add the puree of 3 medium tomatoes and cook until the oil separates from the masala.
  6. Add Spices: Add 1 teaspoon coriander powder, 1 teaspoon cumin powder, 1 teaspoon garam masala, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon red chili powder, and salt to taste. Mix well.

Step 3: Cooking the Rajma Curry

  1. Combine Rajma and Masala: Add the boiled rajma along with the water it was cooked in to the masala. Mix well.
  2. Simmer: Let the curry simmer on low heat for 20-30 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together. Stir occasionally.
  3. Adjust Consistency: If the curry is too thick, add some water. If it’s too thin, let it cook longer to thicken. The desired consistency is a thick, hearty gravy.
  4. Check Seasoning: Taste and adjust salt and spices as needed.

Step 4: Cooking the Rice

  1. Rinse the Rice: Rinse 1 cup of basmati rice under running water until the water runs clear.
  2. Boil the Rice: In a pot, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon of oil or ghee and salt to taste.
  3. Cook the Rice: Add the rinsed rice to the boiling water. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the rice is fully cooked and all the water is absorbed.
  4. Fluff the Rice: Once done, fluff the rice with a fork.

Step 5: Serving

  1. Plate the Dish: Serve the hot rajma curry over a bed of steamed basmati rice.
  2. Garnish: Garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves.

Tips for Perfect Rajma Chawal

  • Quality Ingredients: Use fresh, high-quality spices and kidney beans for the best flavor.
  • Soaking Time: Ensure that the rajma is soaked for at least 8 hours to achieve the perfect texture.
  • Cooking Time: Be patient while cooking the masala and rajma. Allowing them to simmer ensures a richer taste.
  • Garnish: Fresh coriander leaves add a burst of freshness and enhance the visual appeal of the dish.

Nutritional Benefits

Rajma Chawal is not only delicious but also nutritious. Kidney beans are a great source of protein, dietary fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals. Combined with rice, it makes a complete, balanced meal.


Making authentic Rajma Chawal at home is a rewarding experience that brings the rich flavors of North Indian cuisine to your table. With this detailed guide, you can master the art of preparing this classic dish. Enjoy the wholesome, comforting taste of Rajma Chawal with your family and friends, and cherish the culinary heritage it represents.

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