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Rich Red Kidney Bean Stew (Rajma)


Our South Indian recipes

Rich Red Kidney Bean Stew (Rajma)

Neeru Ravi

saucy red kidney bean stew

Rajma: the ultimate comfort food. Soft, creamy and satisfying, scooped up with strips of soft flatbreads or fluffy quinoa soaking up all the rich, savoury juices.

We've tried it with friends, family, colleagues, and this has always been a hit! Perfect for a sumptuous dinner party, or a very joyful lunchbox. The deep flavours from fresh coriander, earthy cumin, sweet tomatoes, spicy black pepper and other spices make a wonderful rich gravy, which envelops the soft red kidney beans in a warm, red blanket.

It make a great filling for an Indian inspired burrito, with some fresh guacamole and creamy, vegan cashew cheese. Or try with a bowl of hot and creamy millet, topped with a generous drizzle of nutty tahini.


Serves: 4
Time: 45 mins (+ 15 mins if you want to let it stand to let the flavours marry)


  • 1 large white onion

  • 1 cup chopped coriander

  • 1 box baby plum tomatoes

  • 1 box cherry tomatoes

  • 2 tins drained cooked red kidney beans

  • 1 1/2 heaped tsps coriander powder

  • 1 1/2 heaped tsps cumin powder

  • 1 heaped tsp amchoor (dried mango powder commonly available in all Sri Lankan / Indian stores)

  • 1/4 tsp dried red chilli flakes

  • 1/4 tsp black pepper corns

  • 1/4 tsp salt + more according to your taste

  • 1 1/2 tbsp oil

  • 1 inch ginger

  • 1/2 green chilli


  1. Peel the ginger and chop it finely. Also chop the green chilli and onions finely

  2. In a large wok, heat the oil, add the green chilli and ginger and fry for 30 seconds

  3. Add the onion and sautee on a high heat for 10 mins or until soft and browned

  4. Meanwhile, in a blender, puree the tomatoes with the black pepper corns- the consistency should be fairly liquid

  5. Pour 3/4 of the tomato puree into the wok with the onions, green chilli and ginger

  6. Wash the coriander and add (stalks and all) to the remaining tomato puree in the blender. Blitz for 10 seconds so the coriander is chopped. Don't blend for too long otherwise the coriander will become bitter

  7. Add the coriander tomato puree to the wok and stir well

  8. Now for the spices: add the cumin powder, coriander powder, amchoor, red chilli flakes and salt

  9. Stir well and let the mixture simmer on a medium heat for 15-20 mins to let the tomatoes cook and the flavours meld. The longer you let the mixture cook, the more intense and developed the flavours will become

  10. Drain the kidney beans and rinse well in cold water. Put them in a microwave proof bowl and microwave them for 5 mins until they have softened a little. Then add to the gravy

  11. Simmer again on a low heat for 5 mins to let some of the excess water boil off

  12. Taste and add more salt if necessary

You can eat it straight away or if you have time, let it stand for 15 mins. This resting time allows the spices to marry with the ingredients and enhances and intensifies the flavour.

After 15 mins, lightly warm the rajma and serve.