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Rajma Masala Vegan Kidney Bean Curry

This delicious rajma masala is a vegan red kidney bean curry recipe in a tomato rich masala style gravy from the north of India.

Portrait overhead image of a rajma masala kidney bean curry served with a kachumber salad in a white bowl

What is a Rajma?

Rajma masala is one of the lesser-known curries from the North of India, it is essentially a kidney bean curry.

In many ways it is similar to a dhal, although I think it is much more interesting. It is essentially a kidney bean curry.

I have had a glorious time developing this recipe and it has quickly become one of my favourites.

As a Brit I was bought up with chicken tikka masala and chicken balti. But there were a few homestyle Indian dishes I ate at friends homes growing up.

A rajma curry is one of those homestyle recipes much like an egg curry or vegetable karahi!

But that does not diminish this dish at all, it is simply heavenly.

Portrait close up image of a rajma masala kidney bean curry served with a kachumber salad in a white bowl

Ingredient Guide.

The ingredient that I do use here that gets asked the most about is the onion seeds.

They are also known as nigella or kalonji seeds.

If you are the sort of person that eats in restaurants that serves sprouted seeds as a “garnish”, these seeds are the sprouts that taste of onion.

I use them fairly often in Indian food, in dishes as diverse as my onion bhajis to my chicken Chettinad.

They have a mild onion flavour and a lovely crunch.

You do have to be careful though as if they can become bitter if cooked at too high a temperature for too long.

If you cannot get them, then omit them, the curry will still taste fantastic!

The rest of the ingredients for this rajma masala should be pretty familiar to anyone who likes to cook Indian food.

A quick note for my US readers, tomato passata is called tomato sauce in the US. You essentially want unsalted, unsweetened sieved tomatoes.

If you are struggling blend tinned plum tomatoes and pass them through a sieve.

You can use cooked kidney beans and take a huge short cut, but for me this dish is never quite the same when doing that.

Portrait image of a rajma masala kidney bean curry served with a kachumber salad in a white bowl

Serving Suggestions.

Rajma masala is traditionally served with rice and some flatbread.

That flatbread would ordinarily be some form or roti, although I prefer it with naan bread. The thicker sauce is just nice with a naan I find.

However, of late, I have been serving this with a crisp and minty kachumber salad.

It lightens the dish and makes it feel fresh.

It also works really well with a cucumber and mint raita especially if you want to temper the chilli!

Square image of a rajma masala kidney bean curry served with a kachumber salad in a white bowl
Yield: 2 Servings

Rajma Masala Recipe

Cook Time: 2 hours
Additional Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 5 hours

This rajma masala curry is another classic Indian vegan curry featuring kidney beans in a tomato sauce!


  • 150 g (5.25 oz) Red Kidney Beans
  • 1 Tsp Ground Turmeric
  • 100 g (3.5 oz) Onion
  • 35 g (1.25 oz) Ginger
  • 3 Garlic Cloves
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) Tomato Passata
  • 1 Tsp Brown Mustard Seeds
  • 1/4 Tsp Black Onion Seeds
  • 1 Tsp Fennel Seeds
  • 1 Tsp Kashmiri Chilli Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Ground Coriander
  • 1/2 Tsp Ground Fenugreek
  • 1/2 Tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 Tbsp Cooking Oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar to taste


  1. Cover the beans in cold water and allow to soak for at least 3 hours.
  2. Place the beans in a deep pan and cover them with 3 times the volume of water.
  3. Sprinkle over the turmeric and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 60-90 minutes or until the beans have softened.
  5. Peel and cut the onion in half, then slice into 2mm thick half-moon shapes.
  6. When the beans are cooked drain them reserving 100ml of the cooking liquid.
  7. Heat the oil in a deep sided pan over a medium heat.
  8. Add the mustard, fennel and onion seeds to the oil.
  9. Stir and as soon as they start popping add the sliced onions.
  10. Cook for 10 minutes.
  11. Peel and grate the ginger.
  12. Peel and mash the garlic.
  13. Add the garlic and ginger to the onions and cook for 60 seconds.
  14. Throw in the chilli, fenugreek, coriander and garam masala powders and stir to coat.
  15. Pour in the tomato passata and the 100ml of bean cooking liquid.
  16. Season generously with salt and add a pinch of sugar.
  17. Stir and add the beans, reduce to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
  18. Crush some of the beans on the side of the pan with the back of a fork before serving.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 250Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 314mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 9gSugar: 8gProtein: 10g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!

Portrait image of an Indian kachumber side salad served in a white bowl
Kachumber Salad Indian Onion Salad
Portrait image of a cucumber and mint raita served in a small white bowl.
Cucumber & Mint Raita