Rajma Dal: Red Kidney Bean Curry

Rajma dal

Scott Veg / Flickr

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 18 mins
Total: 28 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
590 Calories
3g Fat
111g Carbs
35g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 590
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 3%
Saturated Fat 1g 3%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 146mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 111g 40%
Dietary Fiber 30g 109%
Protein 35g
Calcium 329mg 25%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Rajma dal is a red kidney bean curry that is a popular dish in northern India, though it's enjoyed throughout the country. It is a tasty vegetarian recipe that cooks the beans in a spicy masala paste featuring ginger, garlic, chilies, and tomatoes. Plus, the dish is ready in less than half an hour flat.

In addition to various meats and vegetables, Indian curries can be made using a variety of legumes, including chickpeas, lentils, and kidney beans. They make a filling vegetarian or vegan main dish or can be served as part of a big meal.

If you're looking for a satisfying and warming weeknight meal, this is an excellent choice. The rustic dish is cooked in a single pan and is very easy to make. To complete the meal, it's traditional to serve rajma dal with plain boiled rice, kachumber salad, and a pickle of your choice.


  • 2 tablespoons oil (vegetable, canola, or sunflower cooking oil)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 medium onions (finely chopped)
  • 2 inches ginger (peeled and julienned)
  • 6 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 green chilies (fresh, stemmed and chopped fine)
  • 2 large tomatoes (cored and chopped into 1-inch cubes)
  • 2 teaspoons coriander (ground)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin (ground)
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric (ground)
  • 2 (15.5-ounce) cans red kidney beans (drained, rinsed under running water)
  • 3 cups warm water
  • 1 pinch asafetida
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Garnish: fresh coriander (cilantro; leaves, chopped)
  • For Serving: cooked rice, pickles

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a deep pan, heat the oil and add the cumin seeds. When they stop sizzling, add the onions and fry until soft and translucent.

  3. Add the ginger and garlic and fry for 2 minutes.

  4. Add the green chilies, tomatoes, coriander, cumin, garam masala, and turmeric and fry until the oil separates from the masala.

  5. Add the red kidney beans, warm water, and asafetida, as well as the salt to taste. Cook until the beans are soft and the sauce has reduced a bit, approximately 10 minutes.

  6. Mash some of the beans roughly to thicken the sauce.

  7. Garnish with coriander and serve hot with rice.


  • For an even better curry, cook kidney beans from dried instead of using canned beans. Soak the dried beans in water overnight and drain. Add the soaked beans to a pot, covering with about an inch of water. Bring to a low simmer and check after about an hour, adding more water as needed. The beans are done when they are tender.
  • For a less intense heat, seed the chili peppers before chopping.
  • Serve with your choice of store-bought or homemade pickles.
  • Leftover rajma dal can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.