How to make home like Rajma Chawal

Craving for Mumma’s Rajma Chawal? Or did your Nani/Dadi used to make it when you went to their place during vacations? You don’t actually have to wait for vacations to enjoy Rajma Chawal again. Let’s see how to make home like Rajma chawal with simple ingredients!

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In today’s world, who doesn’t like traveling! Everyone wants to explore new destinations – the places, the food, the culture and the list goes on…

But a few days down the line at the new destination, and many of us start feeling homesick. We crave for homely food! Because home food has that warmth and comfort, that pleases our taste buds in a different way.

For me, the first thing that comes in my mind when I think of Home food is, Rajma Chawal (red kidney beans, cooked in tomato gravy added with Indian spices and served with plain cooked rice)! The aroma of the spices, the freshness of the rice, the richness of the gravy; oh lord, my mouth is watering already!

This recipe has originated from Punjab but is made in almost every part of India as well as in many other countries around the world!

I guess that’s enough of jibber jabber, let’s get to work!

How to make home like Rajma Chawal?

The Soul of the dish – Rajma (Red Kidney beans)

There are different varieties of rajma (kidney beans) available in the market. Make sure you pick the right one. The next step is to soak the rajma overnight so that it softens and easily dissolves in your mouth while eating. You don’t want that awkward crunch while eating, do you?

Rajma/ Red kidney beans

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No Pressure!

It’s a simple recipe after all, no rocket science. So lay off all the pressure you have on your mind, and let the pressure cooker take it all in! Pressure cooking the rajma makes it soft and tender.

Cooking in pressure cooker

Image Source: Chicago Tribune

The Secret Ingredient – Gravy

It’s basically this gravy that makes it ‘Punjabi style Rajma’, otherwise it could be anything from a taco filling to a burrito filling or maybe even a nachos topping? So here, tomatoes are the base for our gravy.

Tomatoes for gravy

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Indian food and Spices always go along

Indian people refer to food without spices as patient’s food or famously said as ‘Bimaro ka Khana’! To provide the actual taste to the dish, we add ginger, garlic, spicy red chilli powder, red chilli powder (Kashmiri mirch) for the color and coriander powder. Don’t forget about salt!

indian spices

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Capture the Essence

Once all the spices go in and are mixed with tomatoes, cover the pan and let it simmer until the tomatoes are soft and all the flavours have blended in.

Simmering in pan

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Let’s play a Guessing game!

Can you guess the name of the movie in which Akshay Kumar, John Abraham, Rimi Sen, Neha Dhupia, Paresh Rawal and Rajpal Yadav were casted?

Garam Masala

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Yes, you got it right. It was GARAM MASALA! And Punjabi dishes have to have Garam Masala Right? The reason we didn’t mention it with the other spices is because if garam masala is added before the simmering process, it loses its flavour. That is why it is added towards the later part of the recipe.

The Freshness!

Right when you take the pan off the heat, make sure to add some fresh coriander to add in some extra flavors!

Image Source: Pexels

Here comes the Groom!

And now, since the bride is ready, let us call the groom. The Rice! Punjabi style Rajma is best enjoyed with Steamed Rice or the rice cooked in a regular pressure cooker.

Image Source: Pixabay

Image Source: Chef’s Mandala

INGREDIENTS (Serves 4 people)

For Rajma

  • 200 grams Rajma (Red Kidney Beans) soaked in water overnight
  • 4 large tomatoes – finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Red Chilli Powder (for spiciness)
  • 1 tablespoon Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder (for color)
  • 2 tablespoons Ginger-Garlic paste
  • 3 tablespoons Oil
  • 1 tablespoon Garam Masala
  • 1 tablespoon Coriander Powder
  • 2 tablespoons Coriander for garnishing – finely chopped
  • Salt to taste

For Rice

  • 2 cups Rice
  • Salt to taste


For Rajma

  1. Take a pressure cooker and add the soaked Rajma in it along with 2 glasses of water. Add half a tablespoon of salt and place the cooker on medium heat until 6 whistles.
  2. In a pan, add 3 tablespoons of oil. Once the oil is heated, add into it the ginger-garlic paste and sauté it until it is not raw or until it becomes golden-brown.
  3. Add the tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes become soft. Now add Red chilli powder, Kashmiri Red chilli powder and coriander powder. Pour in half a cup of water, cover the pan with a lid and cook the gravy for 5 minutes on medium flame.
  4. Add in the cooked Rajma, a glass of water and salt to taste. Give it all a nice mix and then add the garam masala. Mix it well and let it cook on high flame for 5 minutes with a lid on the pan, until the gravy boils.
  5. Turn off the flame and add chopped coriander.

For Rice

  1. Wash the rice twice with water.
  2. In a vessel, boil sufficient amount of water and add 1 tablespoon salt.
  3. Cook the rice in this boiling water until the rice is 80% cooked. Now drain out the water and place the vessel on low heat, covered with a lid and cook the rice for 5 more minutes.

Voila! Home like Punjabi style Rajma-Chawal is ready to be served!

Do try out the recipe and let us know your feedback about how the overall dish came out to be. Also, for more recipes, stay updated!

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