Traditional Vegetarian Recipes, Kid-friendly Recipes & Instant Pot Recipes from Indian and International Cuisines

Rajma Masala – Instant Pot Method

Rajma Masala –                                          Instant Pot Method

Rajma Masala is a very popular Punjabi dish. Red kidney beans are soaked overnight, boiled and cooked in an onion tomato masala along with other spices. It is usually served with rice. This is a very comforting dish. I made Rajma Chawal for our weekend meal. This recipe was shared by Millie Chawla Pahwa. She shared the stove top pressure cooker version of the recipe. I tried this recipe in my Instant Pot and it turned out absolutely delicious when I tried it. I loved this recipe. I am sharing the instant pot version of the recipe.

This is what she said  ‘Rajma Chawal’ is a signature dish of all “Punjabi” weekends. Eat it with a spoon or for utter life pleasure indulge with hands, Bliss. 🙂


Measuring cup used: 1 Cup = 160ml(Rice cooker cup)

Red Kidney beans/Rajma – 2 cups(Use good quality organic beans for excellent taste)

Onion – 1(big size)(finely chopped)

Tomatoes – 3(Medium size)

Turmeric Powder – 1/2 Tsp. + 1/4 Tsp.

Cinnamon stick – 3″ long

Cloves – 2

Bay leaf – 1

Cumin seeds – 1/2 Tbsp.

Freshly ground ginger garlic paste – 1 Tbsp.

Roasted Coriander powder – 3/4 Tbsp.(Dry roast coriander seeds and grind them)

Red chilli powder – 1 Tsp.(You can add more or less  as per desired spiciness)

Kasuri Methi/ Dried fenugreek leaves – 1/2 Tbsp.

Garam masala powder – 1/3 tsp.

Vegetable oil – 2 Tbsp.

Salt – as needed


I am sharing the traditional method of making Rajma, where the beans are cooked first and then simmered in an onion tomato gravy.

I am also sharing another method, where Rajma is cooked as a one pot meal. The procedure is almost similar except that the onion tomato gravy is prepared first and then beans are pressure cooked in the prepared gravy. Please refer to the notes for the procedure to cook Rajma Masala as a one pot dish.

Step 1:

Soak Rajma for 12-16 hours.

Wash and soak 2 cups of red kidney beans/Rajma overnight in a bowl of water.

Step 2:

Pressure cook the beans.

Discard the soaking water from beans/Rajma. Add Rajma in the instant pot insert. Add 3&1/2 cups water(You can add 4 cups water for a thinner gravy). Add 1/2 Tsp. salt and 1/4 Tsp. turmeric. Close the lid. Make sure that the sealing ring in placed under the lid and the anti block shield under the lid is placed and pressed in its position correctly. Turn the steam releasing valve on top of the lid to the ‘Sealing’ position. Turn on the Bean/Chili mode. Just press ‘Bean/Chili’ button. The ‘Bean/Chili’ mode is a fully automated program to cook beans. The default display(cooking time) will be 30 minutes. The high pressure setting is selected by default in the ‘Bean/Chili’ mode. You will hear a beep when the beans is done. Let the pressure release naturally. Instant pot has a indicator pin next to the steam releasing valve to indicate if the steam is released or not. The pin drops down when the steam is completely released. Unplug the instant pot and open the lid when the pin drops down. Rajma should be soft and tender.

Step 3:

Blanch the tomatoes and prepare tomato puree.

Procedure to blanch the tomatoes.Take a sauce pan. Add 4 cups water and let it come to a boil. Wash the tomatoes and make a slit on them. This will help to peel the skin easily, after blanching the tomatoes. Add the tomatoes in the boiling water and cook for 1-2 minutes just until the skin starts to peel off. Remove the tomatoes from the boiling water and let them cool. (You can place them in a bowl of ice cold water to stop them from cooking any further). Remove the skin. Chop the tomatoes into half. Add them to a blender and puree them into a smooth paste.

Step 4:

Prepare the onion tomato gravy.

I have two inserts for instant pot. So I used the second insert to prepare the gravy. If you have only one insert, transfer the cooked beans and the bean stock to a different container. Rinse the insert and use it to prepare the onion tomato gravy.

Turn on the instant pot in ‘Saute’ mode. Just press ‘Saute’ button.  Add oil in the instant pot insert. Once the oil is hot(after few seconds), add cinnamon stick, cloves, cumin seeds, bay leaf and stir. After you hear the crackling sound of cumin seeds, add the ginger garlic paste. Add the chopped onion. Add 1/4 Tsp. salt and saute until onion they turn translucent and slightly brown in color. Then add the tomato puree. Cook for a minute. Add turmeric powder(1/2 Tsp.),  coriander powder and red chilli powder. Mix it well. Cook until the onion tomato masala starts leaving the sides of the pan. Add crushed kasuri methi and mix.

Step 5:

Add the boiled Rajma and cook in the onion tomato gravy.

This step can be done in ‘saute’ mode or ‘low saute’ mode or ‘slow cook’ mode. I cooked in ‘saute’ mode. Add the boiled rajma and the bean stock. Add garam masala powder. Add salt as needed. Let it cook for few minutes until the desired consistency is reached. Turn off the instant pot.

Step 6:

Transfer the prepared gravy to a serving bowl and garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve with a hot bowl of cooked rice and enjoy!


To prepare Rajma as a one pot dish:

Soak Rajma overnight in water. You can skip the process of blanching the tomatoes. Prepare the tomato puree with raw tomatoes in a high powered blender(I use Vitamix blender). Prepare the onion tomato gravy as mentioned in step 4. Add soaked beans and water. Pressure cook them as mentioned in step 2. Finally cook on ‘Saute’ mode for few minutes to get the desired consistency and garnish with chopped cilantro. Here is the picture of Rajma when I prepared it as a one pot dish.

I love to do fun and cute food presentation. I tried to make Easter Bunny  with cooked rice, when I prepared Rajma on Easter weekend. 🙂


Rajma Masala is a healthy and nutritious dish to pack in the lunch box along with Rotis/Phulkas/Jeera Rice. Perfect to indulge on any day!!

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