Rajma Masala or Vegan Red Kidney Beans Curry is one of the most loved Punjabi dishes. It is a great comfort food enjoyed with rice or roti. You can make this dish in an instant pot or traditional pressure cooker. I will share how to make Rajma in Instant Pot along with Brown Rice pot-in-pot. This is a gluten-free and vegan recipe.
Rajma is also known as Red Kidney Beans. They are a rich source of fiber and protein. They serve as a great source of protein in a vegetarian recipe.
Rajma Chawal (Red Kidney Beans with Rice) used to be a favorite meal for me. Being a Punjabi, I was fortunate that my mom used to make rajma chawal almost every week when we were growing up. Now Instant Pot Rajma are my favorite. More so, as I can make the whole meal with brown rice in one pot.
How to make Rajma in Instant Pot?
Rajma or Red Beans takes longer to cook, which makes them a perfect fit for pressure cooking. In India, beans are always prepared in a traditional stove top pressure cooker. So when I got the Instant Pot, they were one of the first dishes I tried in Instant Pot. I was glad to see a “Bean/Chili” mode, which was the perfect setting to cook Rajma Masala.
In this recipe I use basic spices. You can also use Rajma Masala, which replaces all other spices in this recipe. I like the MDH brand Rajma masala powder.
As a preparation, soak the rajma beans in ample water for about 4 hours or overnight.
When you are ready to cook them, start with sauteing oil, jeera, chili pepper, onions, ginger and garlic in the Instant Pot. Then saute for 3-4 minutes. Add tomatoes and spices and saute for another 2 minutes.
Then you are ready to add the soaked beans and water to the instant pot and change setting to “Bean/Chili” mode. This will set the cooking time to 30 minutes on high pressure. Release the pressure naturally. Rajma should be ready. At this time, you can taste the rajma and if the spice is low for your taste buds, add more Garam Masala.
Red Kidney Beans Curry with Pot-in-Pot Brown Rice
One of the big advantages of the Instant Pot is – the option to do Pot-in-Pot Cooking or PIP. This means being able to cook multiple things at a time, by also cooking in a small pot inside the main pot. To do pot-in-pot cooking, you need a tall trivet and stainless steel containers that you can use within the main pot. Here are the one’s I use:
Another important thing with pot-in-pot cooking is to consider the cooking time for the dishes you want to cook together. As an example, red kidney beans take about 30 mins to cook at high pressure and brown rice take about 22-25 mins at high pressure. Hence if I add rice pot-in-pot with beans, they would get cooked well. I would not cook white rice along with rajma, however they would work well with split yellow lentils that cook in 6 mins at high pressure.
How to make Palak Rajma Masala in Instant Pot?
Want to add greens to your meal? A great variation to this rajma recipe would to add some greens such as spinach or kale or chard to the rajma. After the rajma is cooked, stir in 2 cups of chopped greens into the curry. Let it sit for 5 minutes so the greens can soak in the flavors of the curry and enjoy!
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Punjabi Rajma Masala / Red Kidney Beans Curry with Brown Rice - Instant Pot Pressure Cooker
For Brown Rice
- Start the instant pot in Saute (More) mode and let it heat until it displays HOT. Add oil, cumin seeds and green chili.
- Add onions, ginger and garlic. Stir and saute for about 3 minutes.
- Add tomatoes and spices to the instant pot. Stir and saute for 2 more minutes.
- Add the soaked rajma and water to the instant pot. Stir it all up.
- Place the trivet. In a bowl, add all ingredients for brown rice and place it on top of the trivet. Close the lid with vent in sealing position.
- Change the setting to "Bean/Chili" mode. This will set the timer to 30 minutes at high pressure cooking.
- Once the instant pot beeps, let the pressure release naturally.
- Using tongs, carefully take out the bowl of brown rice. Then take out the trivet.
- Add lemon juice and stir the rajma. Garnish with cilantro. Rajma masala is ready. Serve with rice or roti.
- One simple trick to get a thicker gravy texture is to mash some of the cooked rajma with a laddle in the same pot.
- I prefer to use dry red beans, but you can make this recipe with canned beans as well. If using canned beans, you want to cook on manual for about 6 minutes with natural pressure release. If cooking with canned beans, use white rice for pot-in-pot cooking.
- If you have Rajma Masala, you can substitute all spices with it. Just add the salt and garam masala to your taste.
Note: Nutrition for Rajma Masala only, does not include Brown Rice. Nutrition values are my best estimates. If you rely on them for your diet, use your preferred nutrition calculator.