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!


Broccoli, Green Chana & Peas Tikki

Winter is, slowly and gradually, beating a retreat, here in Bangalore. The days are getting longer, and hotter. The choliya (aka hara chana or fresh green chickpeas) and green peas that I so love using in the winter months have all but disappeared from the markets. I decided to make a little something with these favourite ingredients of mine before they are not available any more – Broccoli, Green Chana & Peas Tikki.

These Broccoli, Green Chana & Peas Tikkis turned out to be a favourite with everyone at home. They turned out absolutely flavourful, and were devoured in a few minutes flat. We had guests over when I made these, and they adored the tikkis as well. Served hot, they make for a different-from-the-usual, healthy evening snack.

Here’s how I made the Broccoli, Green Chana & Peas Tikkis.

Ingredients (makes about 15 tikkis):

  1. 2 cups finely chopped broccoli
  2. 1 cup choliya aka fresh green chana
  3. 1/2 cup fresh green peas
  4. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  5. 2-3 green chillies or as per taste
  6. 6-7 cloves of garlic
  7. 4 slices of bread
  8. Salt to taste
  9. 2 generous pinches of asafoetida
  10. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  11. 3/4 tablespoon garam masala or to taste
  12. 3/4 tablespoon jaggery powder or to taste
  13. 1/2 tablespoon chaat masala or to taste
  14. 1/2 tablespoon amchoor powder or to taste
  15. 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander
  16. 1 tablespoon oil, plus as needed to shallow fry the tikkis
  17. Tomato ketchup, as needed to serve the tikkis


1. Pressure cook the green peas and fresh green chana on a high flame, without adding any water, for 3 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally.

2. When the pressure has fully gone down, allow the cooked green chana and peas to cool down fully.

3. Coarsely grind the cooked green chana and peas in a mixer. Remember not to make a fine paste, but to just crush the green chana and peas coarsely. Keep aside.

4. Peel the ginger and garlic. Chop the ginger and green chillies finely. Grind the ginger, garlic and green chillies together to a fine paste, using a little water. Keep aside.

5. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan, and add in the finely chopped broccoli. Saute on medium heat for a minute.

6. Add the ginger-green chillies-garlic paste to the pan, along with salt to taste, turmeric powder, asafoetida, jaggery powder, amchoor powder, garam masala and chaat masala. Saute for another minute on medium flame. Switch off gas.

7. Dip each slice of bread in a little water, just for a second, squeeze out the excess water and add to the cooked broccoli mixture in the pan.

8. Add the coarsely crushed green chana and peas to the cooked broccoli. Add in the finely chopped coriander too.

9. When the mixture is cool enough to handle, mix everything well. Shape tikkis out of the mixture, using your hands.

10. Get a thick dosa pan nice and hot. Spread a little oil all over the pan, and place 2-3 tikkis over it. Add a little oil around the tikkis. Cook on medium heat till the tikkis brown at the bottom. Then, flip the tikkis over and cook on medium heat till they are brown on the other side as well.

11. Serve the tikkis hot with tomato sauce or any accompaniment of your choice.


1. The garam masala can be substituted by chana masala.

2. I have used multi-millet bread in the making of these Broccoli, Green Chana & Peas Tikkis. You can use any other variety of bread, of your preference, instead, too.


I’m sending this post to the 125th edition of My Legume Love Affair (MLLA),  a monthly event wherein participants from around the world share vegetarian legume-based recipes. This event was conceptualised by Lisa of Lisa’s Kitchen and Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook. This month, MLLA is being hosted by Seema of Mildly Indian.


I’m sharing this post with Fiesta Friday #262. The co-host is Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook.

Here are some other recipes from my blog that use choliya:

Choliya Kadhi| Hara Chana Chaat

(Hara Chana) Choliya Kadhi| Fresh Green Chana Kadhi

Every year, I wait patiently for winter to arrive. Not because I am particularly fond of the season or anything – though Bangalore does get extremely pretty in the winters – but because the cold months bring with them an abundance of gorgeous, fresh produce. One of the winter delights I eagerly look forward to are fresh green chickpeas, aka choliya or hara chana. They seem to scream ‘WINTER’ to me!

Hara chana or choliya pods nestled in between silky leaves

Separating the hara chana pods from the stems, and then shelling them, is a pain of a task, one that can run into more than a couple of hours. When the entire family pitches in, though, sitting on a mat in the afternoon sunshine, the chore of shelling becomes much more bearable – pleasant even. It becomes much more than a household task then – it becomes a family bonding activity. And the beautiful taste of the fresh chickpeas is so totally worth all the effort!

Fresh green chickpeas or hara chana, shelled and waiting to be used

Hara Chana Kadhi or Choliya Kadhi is one of the things I most enjoy making with the shelled fresh green chickpeas. I do make a whole lot of other dishes with them, too, but this is one of my most favourite. I make the kadhi the Punjabi style, serving it with piping hot phulkas or parathas and a vegetable side dish. It tastes absolutely delicious, the green chickpeas adding a lovely texture to the kadhi. Ah, the bliss!

Fresh Green Chana Kadhi or Choliya Kadhi

Today, I present to you the recipe for Hara Chana Kadhi or Choliya Kadhi, the way I make it.

Ingredients (serves 4):

  1. 2 cups home-made curd
  2. About 3/4 cup water
  3. 3/4 cup fresh green chickpeas or as needed
  4. Salt to taste
  5. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  6. 1 sprig curry leaves
  7. Red chilli powder to taste
  8. 2 green chillies
  9. 2 tablespoons gram flour aka besan
  10. 1-1/2 tablespoons oil
  11. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  12. A pinch of fenugreek seeds
  13. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  14. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  15. 3-4 dry red chillies
  16. 5-6 cloves of garlic
  17. 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander


1. Take the curd in a mixing bowl. Add in the water, curry leaves, salt to taste, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and gram flour. Slit the green chillies length-wise, and add them in too. Mix well. Keep aside.

2. Pressure cook the green chana, without adding any water, for 3 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally.

3. Peel and chop the garlic cloves very finely. Keep aside.

4. Take the curd mixture in a large pan, and set it on the gas. Add the pressure-cooked green chana to the pan, without any water. Cook the mixture on medium flame till it comes to a boil, 3-4 minutes. Then, lower the flame even more, and let simmer for a minute or so.

5. Meanwhile, get the tempering for the Choliya Kadhi ready. Heat oil in another pan, and add in the mustard seeds. Let them sputter. Now, lower the flame to medium. Add in the asafoetida, fenugreek seeds and cumin seeds, and let them stay in for a couple of seconds. Add the dried red chillies and the finely chopped garlic. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds. Switch off gas.

6. Transfer the tempering to the Choliya Kadhi simmering in the other pan. Mix well. Switch off gas, and mix in the finely chopped coriander. Done! Serve the kadhi hot or warm alongside rotis/parathas/rice.


  1. I used home-made curd that was thick, but not overly so. So, I added only about 3/4 cup of water to 2 cups of curd. If you are using store-bought curd that tends to be quite thick, you may add more water. Adjust the quantity of curd and water you use, depending upon the consistency of the kadhi that you require.
  2. Use curd that is slightly sour, but not overly so, for best results.
  3. You can use ghee for the tempering, instead of oil.
  4. The garlic in the tempering can be skipped, if you do not want to add it. Personally, I think it adds a lovely flavour to the kadhi, and must not be skipped.
  5. A bit of coriander (dhania) powder can be added to the kadhi, too, along with the other ingredients. I usually don’t.
  6. Make sure you do the tempering on medium flame and that it does not burn. Otherwise, it might alter the taste of the Hara Chana Kadhi.
  7. You can use dry green/black chickpeas (chana) to make this kadhi too, instead of fresh green chana. In that case, soak them overnight, then pressure cook them in enough water, drain out the water and add only the chickpeas to the curd mixture.
  8. Here, I have used choliya/hara chana/fresh green chana that are in season right now. I pressure cooked them without any water, as they were quite tender, and added the same to the kadhi. Make sure there is no water in the pressure-cooked chana you add to your kadhi, as this may dilute it and alter the taste.

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



This post is for My Legume Love Affair (MLLA) #124, an event conceptualised by Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook and hosted by Lisa of Lisa’s Kitchen. Participants are required to prepare one vegetarian recipes in which a legume is the star ingredient, and link up to the event.

This month, MLLA is being hosted by Heta of The VegHog. I decided on this Choliya Kadhi or Fresh Green Chana Kadhi for the month’s event.

I’m also sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #258. The co-host this week is Laurena @ Life Diet Health.

Green Chickpea Salad| Hara Chana Chaat

I bring to you today a healthy snack for those in-between-meal hunger pangs. This is also a perfect snack to whip up for when you want to eat something lovely, which will not make you feel guilty later. This Hara Chana Chaat, made using dried green chickpeas, is super easy to make, yet so delicious!

Here’s how to make this Hara Chana Chaat or Green Chickpea Salad.

Ingredients (serves 2-3):

  1. 1/2 cup dry green chickpeas aka hara chana
  2. A small piece of raw mango (optional)
  3. 1 small tomato
  4. A small piece of carrot
  5. 1 small onion
  6. 1 small cucumber
  7. 1 green chilly
  8. 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh coriander
  9. 1 teaspoon roasted cumin (jeera) powder
  10. A dash of chaat masala
  11. 1/2 teaspoon black salt (kala namak)
  12. Table salt, to taste
  13. Juice of 1 lemon or to taste


  1. Soak the dried green chickpeas for 8-10 hours or overnight, using just enough plain water to cover them.
  2. When the chickpeas are done soaking, discard the water they were soaked in. Add in just enough fresh water to cover them. Pressure cook for 4 whistles on high flame. Let the pressure release naturally.
  3. In the meanwhile, chop the onion, cucumber and tomato finely. Peel the carrot and grate finely. Peel the raw mango and chop finely (if using). Chop the green chilly very finely. Keep aside.
  4. When all the pressure has gone down, remove the cooked chickpeas from the cooker. Drain out all the water in which the chickpeas cooked and reserve it – see notes for what to do with this. Place the fully-drained chickpeas in a large mixing bowl.
  5. Add the chopped onion, cucumber, tomato, raw mango (if using), green chilly to the mixing bowl. Add the grated carrot and finely chopped coriander to the bowl.
  6. Add table salt to taste, chaat masala, black salt, roasted cumin powder and lemon juice to the mixing bowl. Mix well. Your Green Chickpea Salad or Hara Chana Chaat is ready – place it in serving bowls and serve immediately.


  1. Use a no-seed variety of cucumber, for best results. There’s no need to peel the cucumber. Here, I have used mini cucumbers from Mapletree Farms.
  2. Using the raw mango is optional. If you are using it, though, you might want to reduce the quantity of lemon juice you use.
  3. Be careful while adding the table salt. You will be adding chaat masala and black salt to the salad as well, both of which have saltiness of their own.
  4. You may add any other veggies of your choice to the salad – bell peppers, boiled sweet corn, etc.
  5. I have used dry green chickpeas here. You can use fresh ones, instead, too. You may even use other varieties of chickpeas – like kabuli chana, brown chana, etc.
  6. I discard the water in which the chana has been soaked overnight, in the morning. I pressure cook the chana with fresh water. This water is drained out and used in a rasam or soup. Only fully-drained chana are used in the salad.
  7. I have used store-bought black salt and chaat masala to make this Green Chickpea Salad.
  8. To make roasted cumin powder, I dry roast a handful of cumin (jeera) in a pan on medium flame till fragrant, taking care not to burn it. When the roasted cumin has entirely cooled down, dry grind in a mixer to a fine powder. You can even grind it coarsely if you so desire. Store in a clean, dry, air-tight container, and use as needed.
  9. Do not let the Green Chickpea Salad sit around for too long after preparing it, as it tends to release a lot of water in that case. For best taste, serve it immediately after preparing.

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


I’m sharing this post with My Legume Love Affair (MLLA) #122, a monthly event wherein participants from around the world share vegetarian legume-based recipes.

my legume love affair

This month, the event is being hosted by Renu of Cook With Renu. This event was started by Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook and Lisa of Lisa’s Kitchen.

I’m sharing this post with Fiesta Friday #251. The co-hosts this week are Mollie @ Frugal Hausfrau and Monika @ Everyday Healthy Recipes.