Dal Makhani| Healthy Dal Makhani Recipe

I love the creamy deliciousness of well-made Dal Makhani. I love how it literally melts in your mouth and slides down your throat. I love how simple, how unassuming, it looks but how it manages to surprise you with the burst of flavours that it is. Well-made Dal Makhani is a joy to eat, and absolutely not a difficult thing to get right at home.

Dal Makhani has always been projected as this dish that needs hours and hours of slow cooking, perfect technique and measurements to get right, something that is very difficult to achieve in a home setting. However, that so isn’t the case. A good Dal Makhani is, at its heart, very simple. You can pare down the ingredients to a minimum – even cut out the cream, which is considered a must – and still get an awesome, awesome Dal Makhani. Considering this, it is actually a highly nutritious dish, especially so if you can manage to use home-made spice powders. Just think of all the protein packed into that black urad that goes in there!

I have seen a number of celebrity chefs prepare Dal Makhani on television, seen several home chefs and my very own house help make it several times over. Somewhere down the line, I started making it myself, going on to develop a simple style that perfectly suits my family’s taste buds. We rather prefer this home-made version of Dal Makhani to the cream- and calorie-laden version that is typically served in restaurants.

Today, I share with you the way I make Dal Makhani at home. I will very occasionally use cream in it, that too just a teeny bit for garnishing. I cook it for 20-25 minutes, which is enough to give it a silky smoothness and gorgeous taste. As opposed to the traditional method of making Dal Makhani on a wood fire, I cook it in a pan. There is no smoky fragrance in the Dal Makhani I make – my family and I aren’t big fans of it, anyway. Ok, maybe my Dal Makhani isn’t the most authentic version there is, but it surely is delicious and healthy!

Let’s now check out my Healthy Dal Makhani Recipe, shall we?

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

  1. 1/2 cup whole black urad dal (sabut udad)
  2. 4 medium-sized tomatoes
  3. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  4. 5-6 cloves of garlic
  5. 1 medium-sized onion
  6. 1 tablespoon butter
  7. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  8. 2 generous pinches of asafoetida
  9. A 1/2-inch piece of cinnamon
  10. 2-3 cloves
  11. 2-3 green cardamom
  12. 1 medium-sized bay leaf
  13. 1 black cardamom
  14. Salt to taste
  15. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  16. 1/2 teaspoon Kashmiri red chilli powder or to taste
  17. 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  18. 1/2 teaspoon amchoor powder (optional)
  19. About 1/2 teaspoon of kasoori methi
  20. Cream, as needed to garnish (optional)
  21. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander for garnishing


1. Wash the whole black urad well under running water. Drain out all the water. Add in enough fresh water to cover the washed and drained urad, and let it soak for 8-10 hours or overnight.

2. When the urad is done soaking, drain out all the water from it. Transfer it to a wide vessel and add in just enough fresh water to cover it. Place the vessel in the pressure cooker and put the weight on. Pressure cook the urad for 5-6 whistles on high flame or till it is well cooked, soft and mushy. Let the pressure release naturally.

3. Chop up the tomatoes roughly. Peel the garlic cloves. Peel the ginger and chop roughly. Grind the tomatoes, ginger and garlic together in a mixer to a fine puree. Keep aside.

4. Chop the onion finely. Keep aside.

5. When the pressure from the cooker has gone down completely, remove the cooked urad dal from it. The urad should be super soft – there should be no give to it.

6. Heat the butter in a large pan. Add in the cumin and let it stay in for a couple of seconds. Add in the cinnamon, black cardamom, green cardamom, bay leaf, cloves and asafoetida. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds.

7. Add the chopped onions to the pan. Cook on medium flame till the onions begin to brown.

8. Add the tomato-ginger-garlic puree to the pan. Add salt to taste, turmeric powder and Kashmiri red chilli powder. Cook on medium flame for 2-3 minutes, or till the raw smell of the ingredients goes away. Stir intermittently.

9. Add the cooked urad dal to the pan, along with the water it was cooked in. Add about 1/2 cup of fresh water or as needed to adjust the consistency. Cook on medium flame for about 15 minutes or till the dal begins to thicken.

10. Add garam masala and amchoor powder to the pan, and more water if you feel the dal is getting too thick. Adjust salt and other spices. Mix well.

11. Continue to cook on medium flame for 3-4 more minutes. Stir intermittently. Switch off gas.

12. Crush the kasoori methi roughly with your hands and mix it into the Dal Makhani. Mix in the finely chopped fresh coriander too.

13. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature, garnished with a dollop of fresh cream. This Healthy Dal Makhani can be served with rotis, parathas or steamed rice – some of these pickled onions would make a great accompaniment!


1. You can use a mix of rajma and whole black urad to make the Dal Makhani. I have not used rajma here.

2. Butter works best in the tempering for Dal Makhani. Adjust the quantity as per personal taste preferences. I have used Amul salted butter here. You may use ghee instead, too.

3. Make sure the urad dal is very well cooked and soft, before adding it to the pan. There should be no crunch to it.

4. The whole spices used in the tempering – cumin, cinnamon, cloves, black cardamom, green cardamom and bay leaves – add all the zing that the Dal Makhani needs. If you don’t have any of these spices, though, you can omit it. The cumin is a must, though.

5. The slow cooking of the urad dal is what gives this Healthy Dal Makhani its creaminess. You can add in a tablespoon or so of fresh cream after the Dal Makhani is cooked and done, for more richness, but that is entirely up to you. Skip the fresh cream altogether if you are not comfortable using it, and your Dal Makhani will still be creamy and lovely. Here, I have used Amul fresh cream only for the purpose of garnishing the Dal Makhani.

6. Some people add coriander powder, fennel powder and/or roasted cumin powder to Dal Makhani. I don’t. I have used only a very little quantity of garam masala here.

7. Add the garam masala towards the end of the cooking, so it does not lose its flavour.

8. Kitchen King Masala, Dal Makhani masala or Chana Masala can also be used in place of the garam masala, in the above Healthy Dal Makhani Recipe.

9. Add the kasoori methi at the very end, after the Dal Makhani has finished cooking.

10. I like adding a bit of amchoor powder to the Dal Makhani. You may omit it if you don’t want to use it.

11. You can skip the onions, ginger and garlic if you want to.

12. Use Kashmiri red chilli powder in this recipe for best results. It imparts a very mild spiciness to the Dal Makhani, without making it overly hot, just the way it is supposed to be. It also adds a lovely colour to the Dal Makhani. Adjust the quantity as per personal taste preferences.

13. Dal Makhani is traditionally slow-cooked on a wood fire, which infuses the dish with a smoky fragrance. The above recipe is not a slow-cook version – it is cooked for 20-25 minutes as opposed to the hours of simmering the traditional Dal Makhani is subject to. There is no smoky fragrance in this version, though that can easily be achieved using a little piece of charcoal.

14. A few minor changes can help you make this dish vegan and gluten-free.


This recipe is for the Shhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge that I am part of. Every month, the food bloggers in the group pair up, and each pair exchanges secret ingredients. Then, the bloggers go on to use these secret ingredients to create a recipe from a particular Indian state’s cuisine.

The theme this month is Punjabi cuisine, food from the Indian state of Punjab. Punjabi cuisine is known the world over for being robust and supremely flavourful, with a number of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes on offer. Makke Di Roti, Sarson Da Saag, Dal Makhani, Chana Masala, Paneer Butter Masala, Rajma Masala, Kadhi Pakode, Pindi Chhole, Atte Ka Halwa and Malai Lassi are some examples of the delicious vegetarian food and drink from this state.

My partner for the month is Mayuri, who blogs at Mayuri’s Jikoni. She assigned me two secret ingredients – cream and Kashmiri red chilli powder – and I decided to showcase this Dal Makhani recipe using them. I gave Mayuri the two secret ingredients of paneer and tomato – check out the absolutely scrumptious Paneer Butter Masala she has dished up using them!

I’m also sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #282. The co-host this week is Antonia @ Zoale.com.

Gujarati Steamed Carrot Muthia| Gajar Na Muthiya

Are you looking for a delicious snack that you can enjoy without too much of guilt? If your answer to this question is ‘Yes’, these Gajar Na Muthiya or Carrot Muthia I tried out recently would be right up your alley. I’ll also add here that this is a super simple snack, an easy-peasy thing to whip up. Perfect for everyday days and occasions!

Speaking of occasions, it was the husband’s birthday recently, and we had a quiet little family celebration at home. I sent him an online birthday card from Paperless Post at work to make the day all the more memorable, and he absolutely loved it. I have been having fun playing around with the huge variety of fun, quirky, classy, stylish online stationery that Paperless Post has on offer. There’s something for every occasion, something for everyone – birthday and anniversary cards, Christmas cards, party invites, fun cards and what not. Have you checked out the website yet? You definitely must!

Coming back to the Gajar Na Muthiya now. For the uninitiated, ‘Muthia‘ refers to a Gujarati snack that can be either fried or steamed. The fried one is commonly used in vegetable curries and other delicacies, while the steamed one is tempered and consumed as a snack in itself. The latter, steamed and tempered, version of muthia is what I am about to present to you today.

Steamed muthia can be made using a variety of flours and binding agents – wheat flour, gram flour, oats, millets and semolina, for instance. A number of permutations and combinations of these ingredients are possible – go as far as your imagination takes you! I’ve seen some really unusual flours being used in muthia so, really, only the sky is the limit. In these Gajar Na Muthiya, I have used the combination of ingredients most commonly used in Gujarati households – whole wheat flour, gram flour and semolina.

In Gujarat, muthia are traditionally flavoured using green chilli-ginger paste and coriander-cumin powder (dhana jeeru), sometimes a bit of garlic and/or garam masala. Jaggery or sugar is usually added in, as well as lemon juice or amchoor powder to give them a little tartness. A variety of vegetables can be added to make the muthiya more nutritious – bottle gourd (doodhi), fenugreek greens (methi), spinach (palak) and cabbage (kobi) are some of the most commonly used ones. I had some beautiful orange Ooty carrots lying in my fridge, and so that is what I used in my muthia. The Gajar Na Muthiya turned out absolutely, lip-smackingly delicious, if I may say so myself.

Let us now check out how to make the Carrot Muthia.

Ingredients (serves 4):

  1. 1 cup whole wheat flour
  2. 3/4 cup gram flour (besan)
  3. 1/4 cup fine sooji (rava aka semolina)
  4. 1-1/2 cup grated carrot
  5. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  6. 5-6 cloves of garlic
  7. 2-3 green chillies
  8. Salt to taste
  9. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  10. 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  11. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  12. 2 tablespoons jaggery powder or to taste
  13. 1/2 tablespoon garam masala
  14. 1/2 tablespoon coriander powder
  15. 1/2 tablespoon cumin powder
  16. 1 tablespoon amchoor powder
  17. A little oil to grease the steaming vessel and your palms

For tempering:

  1. 1 tablespoon oil
  2. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  3. 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  4. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander
  5. 1 tablespoon fresh grated coconut


1. Take the whole wheat flour, gram flour and sooji in a large mixing bowl.

2. Add in salt, asafoetida, sesame seeds, turmeric powder, jaggery powder, garam masala, coriander powder, cumin powder and amchoor powder.

3. Peel the carrot and grate finely. Add the grated carrot to the mixing bowl.

4. Peel the ginger and garlic cloves and chop roughly. Chop the green chillies roughly. Grind the ginger, garlic cloves and green chillies together to a paste, adding a little water. Add this paste to the mixing bowl.

5. Adding water little by little, bind the ingredients in the mixing bowl to a soft dough. It should be a bit more squishy than roti dough.

6. Grease the bottom and sides of a colander with a little oil. We will use this greased colander to steam the Carrot Muthia. Keep it ready.

7. Using your greased hands, shape 3 logs from the dough. Keep aside.

8. Heat 1 cup of water in a pressure cooker base. Place a stand over the water, then place the greased colander on top of the stand, ensuring that no water enters it.

9. Place the dough logs you prepared earlier in the greased and heated colander, without overcrowding.

10. Close the pressure cooker. Don’t put the weight on. Steam the logs on high flame for 12-15 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle of them comes out mostly clean.

11. Allow the logs to cool down for 10-15 minutes, then use a sharp knife to cut them into slices.

12. Now, we will do the tempering. Heat the oil for tempering in a pan. Add the mustard seeds and allow them to sputter. Add the sesame seeds and let them stay in for a couple of seconds. Now, reduce the heat to medium, then add the slices to the pan. Cook on medium heat, stirring gently, for about 10 minutes or till the slices get crisp on the outside. Switch off gas. Your Gajar Na Muthiya or Carrot Muthia are ready for serving.

13. Transfer the Carrot Muthia to serving plates. Serve hot, garnished with finely chopped coriander and fresh grated coconut.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!


This post is in collaboration with Paperless Post. The views about the service expressed in the post are completely honest and entirely my own. I have whole-heartedly enjoyed using Paperless Post, and would love to take this opportunity to introduce the website to you guys too.

I’m also sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #282. The co-host this week is Antonia @ Zoale.com.

Instant Khaman| Easy Khaman Recipe

Having grown up in Gujarat, it is but natural that I have a soft corner for the state’s cuisine. Give me a plate of Gujarati food any day, and I’ll get a goofy grin on my face. It speaks directly to my soul. Choosing just one favourite from the vast ocean that Gujarati cuisine is would be an impossible task for me – I love most of the foods the state has to offer. However, I can safely say that khaman ranks high up there, among the top things I love from amongst them. I’m here today with a recipe for Instant Khaman, an easy version of khaman that doesn’t require any prior soaking of lentils.

There are a couple of different varieties of khaman made in Gujarat – the Vati Dal Na Khaman made using soaked chana dal, for instance, and this instant variety, made using gram flour aka besan. Different families have slight variations in the making Instant Khaman, while the basic ingredients remain more or less the same. I share the simple recipe that I learnt from a Gujarati family friend of ours, years ago, tried and tested a countless number of times.

This Instant Khaman recipe yields beautiful results – pillow-soft, fluffy pieces, the perfect mix of sweet and sour and spicy, extremely delicious. This khaman is steamed in a pressure cooker or steamer, with only a little amount of oil used in the tempering. Citric acid and Eno Fruit Salt are the secret ingredients in this recipe, those that work behind-the-scenes to create spongy khaman.

This is an entirely plant-based dish, one suitable for those following a vegan diet. If you simply skip the asafoetida used in the tempering, this Instant Khaman recipe can be made gluten-free as well.

Let’s now check out the proceedure for making Instant Khaman.

Ingredients (yields about 15 pieces):

  1. 1 cup gram flour aka besan
  2. Salt to taste
  3. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  4. 2 tablespoons sugar
  5. 2 generous pinches of citric acid
  6. A dash of lemon juice
  7. 1 cup water
  8. 1 teaspoon Eno Fruit Salt (plain)
  9. A little oil for greasing the steaming vessel

For tempering:

  1. 1 tablespoon oil
  2. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  3. 2 generous pinches of asafoetida
  4. 2-3 green chillies
  5. 1 sprig fresh curry leaves

For garnishing:

  1. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander
  2. 1 tablespoon fresh grated coconut


1. Take the gram flour in a large mixing bowl. Add in the salt, sugar, turmeric powder and citric acid.

2. Add the water to the mixing bowl and whisk all the ingredients well, until they are properly combined together. Make sure there are no lumps. You should get a batter that is neither too runny nor too thick. Adjust water/gram flour accordingly. Taste and adjust salt and/or sugar accordingly too.

3. Take about a cup of water in a pressure cooker base. Place a stand inside it. Keep the cooker on high flame and let the water come to a boil.

4. In the meanwhile, grease the bottom and sides of a large, wide vessel with a little oil. Place the greased vessel over the stand, in the pressure cooker, and allow it to get hot too. Make sure water doesn’t enter the vessel.

5. When the water in the cooker is boiling, add the Eno Fruit Salt to the batter. Mix thoroughly. Pour all of the batter immediately into the hot greased vessel inside the cooker.

6. Close the pressure cooker. Do not put the weight on. Steam the khaman on high flame for 12-15 minutes.

7. When the khaman is done steaming, let it sit for a few minutes before opening the cooker. Then, remove the khaman.

8. Sprinkle the fresh grated coconut and finely chopped coriander evenly over the khaman.

9. Heat the oil for tempering in a small pan. Add in the mustard seeds and allow them to sputter. Add in the asafoetida, chopped green chillies and curry leaves and let them stay in for a couple of seconds. Pour this tempering evenly over the khaman.

10. Cut the khaman into pieces using a sharp knife. Serve hot, warm or cold.


1. Citric acid, commonly available in several departmental stores, works best in the making of Instant Khaman. This is an industrially manufactured substance, but considered to be quite safe when used occasionally in small quantities. Read this article by Healthline for more details.

2. Citric acid occurs naturally in citrus fruits like lemon. Therefore, lemon juice can indeed be used as a substitute for citric acid in the above recipe. However, it doesn’t yield the beautifully light and fluffy khaman that you get by using store-bought citric acid.

3. The time taken for the khaman to get steamed differs on the basis of various factors – consistency of the batter, make of pressure cooker, etc. However, anywhere between 12 to 15 minutes works in most cases.

4. Steam the khaman till a skewer inserted into the centre comes out mostly clean. Do not over-steam the khaman, as this might cause them to become hard.

5. Eno Fruit Salt is typically used in Gujarati households for the batter to rise, which goes a long way towards ensuring that the khaman turn out spongy-soft. Make sure you use the plain version, without any flavouring added to it.

6. Add the Eno Fruit Salt at the very end, just before the batter goes into the pressure cooker for steaming.

7. Use a fresh packet of Eno Fruit Salt, every time you make Instant Khaman. Also, do check its ‘best before’ date. Fruit salt that has been open or lying around for some time or past its ‘best before’ date might not work very effectively in the above recipe.

8. For best results, use fresh besan aka chickpea flour which is free of any odours or pests.

9. Baking soda can be substituted for the Eno Fruit Salt, as far as I know, but I have never tried that out.

10. Adjust the quantity of sugar as per personal taste preferences. Ideally, khaman batter should be a good mix of sweet and sour.

11. The khaman batter should neither be too runny nor too thick. Sticking to the ratios of ingredients provided above helps arrive at just the right batter consistency.

12. Sesame seeds can be added in while tempering the Instant Khaman. I haven’t, here.

13. Don’t overdo the citric acid in this recipe. Use only two good pinches for the above quantities of ingredients, and that is enough. More citric acid would make the khaman too sour.

14. In Gujarat, khaman – instant or otherwise – is traditionally served with Papaya Nu Kachumber and/or a sweetish version of gram flour chutney, called Kadhi Chutney.


This recipe is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop group that I am part of. Every Monday, the members of this group present recipes based on a pre-determined theme.

The theme for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop is #JamvaChaloJi, suggested by the very talented blogger Mayuri, who writes at Mayuri’s Jikoni. All of us are showcasing recipes from Gujarat, for the theme.

I’m also sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #282. The co-host this week is Antonia @ Zoale.com.

Home-Made Kala Khatta Syrup| Java Plum Syrup

If you’ve grown up in India, particularly in the north, I’m sure you have fond memories associated with Kala Khatta. I am no exception. As a child and then as a teenager and young adult, I used to adore the sweet and sour Kala Khatta, which typically had a hint of spice to it. I still have a soft spot for it. 🙂 Kala Khatta ice golas and sherbet were among the things most looked forward to by the kids of the 80s and 90s in their summer holidays, and I remember rushing to have my fill of these the minute my final exams were done and dusted. However, did you know that the Kala Khatta is traditionally made using jamuns aka java plums?

It is the season for jamuns now, and markets all over Bangalore are flooded with the lovely, purple-black fruit. It is a pleasure biting into a ripe jamun, the slightly sweet, slightly sour flesh meeting your tastebuds. We usually love eating jamuns on their own, but this season, I tried using them to make some Home-Made Kala Khatta Syrup this season – an immensely successful experiment that I’m so very glad I undertook.

Java plums are chock-full of health benefits as, probably, a lot of us already know. I’m not sure how many of these health benefits are retained in the Kala Khatta syrup but, oh my God, it’s brilliant! Also, making it at home ensures that you know exactly what is going into it. A bit of mindful indulgence once in a while doesn’t hurt, eh?

I followed Sunanyna Gupta’s recipe for the Home-Made Kala Khatta Syrup, with a few little variations of my own. We have been treasuring the bottle of syrup I made a while back, relishing it in various forms, from sherbet to popsicles. I love just how versatile it is!

Now, without further ado, let’s check out the proceedure for Home-Made Kala Khatta Syrup or Java Plum Syrup.

Ingredients (makes about 250 ml of concentrated syrup):

  1. 15-18 plump java plums
  2. 1 cup sugar
  3. 2 cups water
  4. Black salt to taste
  5. 1 teaspoon roasted cumin powder or to taste
  6. Juice of 1 lemon or to taste


  1. Wash the java plums well under running water. Drain out all the water.
  2. Place the dried java plums in a large mixing bowl. Squeeze them with your hands to get all the pulp out of them. Discard all the seeds. You should get about 1 cup of java plum pulp.
  3. Adding a little water at a time, extract all the juice out of the java plums. Add this to the pulp. Keep aside.
  4. Take the water in a large pan, and place it on high flame. Add the sugar to it. Cook on high flame till the sugar is completely dissolved in the water, and the syrup comes to a boil. This should take 4-5 minutes.
  5. At this stage, reduce the flame to medium. Add the java plum puree to the pan. Cook on medium flame for about 2 minutes or till the syrup slightly thickens. Switch off gas.
  6. Add in the black salt, roasted cumin powder and lemon juice. Mix well.
  7. Let the syrup cool down fully before transferring it to a clean, dry, air-tight bottle. Store refrigerated.


1. You may also cook the java plums first, then squeeze out all the juice from them. That’s the procedure I followed while making this grape squash.

2. Adjust the quantity of sugar, black salt, lemon juice and roasted cumin powder as per individual taste preferences.

3. You can strain the pulp before cooking it. I didn’t.

4. Don’t overcook the sugar syrup, as it will become overly thick then. Just let the sugar get completely dissolved in the water, and then come to a boil. You should add in the java plum puree to the pan at this stage.

5. Stored hygienically and refrigerated, the Home-Made Kala Khatta Syrup stays well for at least a couple of months. However, for the sake of freshness, I prefer using it up within 10 days or so.

6. This Kala Khatta syrup can be used in various ways. Chilled water can be mixed to it to make Jamun Sherbet. It can also be used as a topping for ice cream and other desserts. It can be slightly diluted, poured into popsicle moulds and frozen. It can also be poured over ice shavings, to make home-made gola.

Do try out this Home-Made Java Plum Syrup too, while the fruit is still in season! I’m pretty sure you will love it.


I’m linking this recipe to Fiesta Friday #281. Do hop over to see the other interesting recipes there!

Pressure Cooker Rajma Masala| Kidney Beans Curry

Growing up, I was never a fan of Rajma Masala. It would be prepared occasionally at home by Amma then, with some very South Indian flourishes. 🙂 I wouldn’t mind it per se, but I didn’t really take to the dish till the husband introduced me to the Delhi version many years later. The city’s love for Rajma Chawal caught on to the husband too, and it became comfort food for him the many lonely days he spent in Delhi. I would accompany him on some of these work trips, and the cook at the office guesthouse taught me the proper North Indian version of Rajma Masala. Over the years, I have made it many, many times, falling in love with it a little more every time. Slowly, my own style of Rajma Masala emerged – a relatively simpler, easier and healthier one that perfectly suits my family’s tastebuds.

Today, I present to you my Pressure Cooker Rajma Masala recipe, which yields a hugely delectable result. I don’t use many whole spices in it, nor cream. All the flavour in it comes from the country tomatoes that go into it and the chana masala that I usually use in it. Once you have the rajma soaked and ready, the rest is a breeze, considering this is a one-pot recipe.

Kidney beans aka rajma is a legume full of health benefits, as I’m sure many of us are already aware. This curry is a delicious way to use them! It turns out just the right amount of thick and super flavourful. The husband likes this Rajma Masala with plain steamed rice, while I prefer it with rotis, parathas or pooris. These pickled onions are just the perfect accompaniment to it, I think.

The next time you consider making Rajma Masala, I hope you will try out this pressure cooker version. Do share your feedback!

Let’s now check out the recipe for Pressure Cooker Rajma Masala.

Ingredients (serves 4):

  1. 1 cup Kashmiri rajma (small red kidney beans)
  2. 1 tablespoon oil
  3. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  4. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  5. 4 large tomatoes
  6. 5-6 cloves of garlic
  7. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  8. 1 large onion
  9. Salt to taste
  10. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  11. Red chilli powder to taste
  12. 1 tablespoon chana masala or to taste
  13. 1 tablespoon jaggery powder or to taste (optional)
  14. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander


1. Soak the rajma for 8-10 hours or overnight, in enough water to cover it.

2. When the rajma is done soaking, drain out all the water from it. Transfer the soaked rajma to a wide vessel and add in just enough fresh water to cover it. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker. Pressure cook on high flame for about 5 whistles or till the rajma is cooked through. Let the pressure release naturally.

3. Chop the tomatoes roughly. Peel the ginger and chop roughly. Peel the garlic cloves. Grind the tomatoes, ginger and garlic to a fine puree without adding any water. Keep aside.

4. Chop the onion finely. Keep aside.

5. When the pressure from the cooker has entirely gone down, get the cooked rajma out. Retain the water it was cooked in.

6. Dry the pressure cooker you used to cook the rajma. Heat the oil in it. Add in the cumin seeds and asafoetida. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds.

7. Add the chopped onions to the cooker. Cook on medium flame till they start turning brown.

8. Add the tomato-ginger-garlic puree to the cooker, along with a little salt. Cook on medium flame till the puree loses its raw smell. This should take 3-4 minutes. You will need to stir intermittently.

9. Now, add the cooked rajma, along with the water it was cooked in. Add salt to taste, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, chana masala and jaggery powder (if using). If you feel the gravy is too thick, you can add in a bit of water at this stage. Mix well.

10. When the rajma begins to simmer, close the pressure cooker and put the weight on. Pressure cook on high flame for 3 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally.

11. When the pressure has gone down completely, stir the Rajma Masala gently. Sprinkle chopped coriander over the Rajma Masala. Serve hot.


1. Adjust the time for pressure cooking depending upon the type of rajma you use. Different types of rajma take different times to cook, as do different makes of pressure cookers. I use the small Kashmiri rajma from Popular Essentials, and make this in a 5-litre pressure cooker. The above cooking times are just perfect for me.

2. Make sure the rajma is well cooked, but not mushy, when you pressure cook it for the first time. Only then you should add it to the onion and tomato gravy and cook it further.

3. Kitchen King Masala, garam masala or rajma masala can be used in place of chana masala. I love using chana masala in this recipe.

4. If the Rajma Masala turns out a little watery, you can simmer it for a bit after the pressure has gone down fully.

5. You can add in a bit of amchoor powder or lemon juice to the Rajma Masala for extra tanginess. Alternatively, you can mix in a little curd into the Rajma Masala, at the very end. I don’t use any of these ingredients typically.

6. You can mix in a little cream and/or crushed kasoori methi after the Rajma Masala is done. I usually omit the cream, and add the kasoori methi once in a while.

7. Ghee or butter can be used for the tempering in the Rajma Masala, instead of oil.

8. You can add the tempering at the very end too, after the Rajma Masala is fully cooked and ready.

9. You can make the Rajma Masala in a pan too. I prefer making it in a pressure cooker as it is easier and the flavours get better absorbed this way.

10. Skip the onions, ginger and garlic if you plan to make a Jain version of this Rajma Masala.

11. You can also grind the onion along with the tomatoes, ginger and garlic, to a puree. I sometimes use chopped onion in Rajma Masala, and sometimes puree it with the tomatoes. Both methods yield an equally delicious outcome.

12. Country (nati) tomatoes work best in this recipe. They add a lovely tart flavour to the Rajma Masala.

13. Whole spices like bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves and dry red chillies can be used in the tempering. I prefer keeping my Rajma Masala really simple, though, and using only cumin in the tempering.

14. Using the jaggery powder is optional, but I would highly recommend it. It doesn’t make the Rajma Masala sweet, but helps round out the other flavours beautifully.

15. This is a completely plant-based, vegan and vegetarian recipe. It can be easily made gluten-free as well, if you only omit the asafoetida used in the tempering and use chana masala that is free of any ingredients that include gluten.


Did you like this recipe? Do tell me in your comments!

I’m sending this recipe to My Legume Love Affair #129. This is a monthly event started by Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook, the legacy carried forward for a long time by Lisa of Lisa’s Kitchen. This month, My Legume Love Affair is being hosted by Seduce Your Tastebuds.

I’m also linking this recipe to Fiesta Friday #281. Do hop over to see the other interesting recipes there!