Instant Pot Punjabi Homestyle Rajma Masala

You know there are some dishes that translate as comfort foods? Even though they are not something you grew up eating in your childhood. Rajma is that dish for me.

Rajma isn’t a popular dish on restaurant menus either. Somehow it feels like the authenticity of this dish comes out only when a Punjabi mom makes it with all the love for her family. I was lucky to have properly tasted it when I used to visit my friend’s home for college assignments. It was a staple dish in her household. It was love at first bite πŸ™‚ Her mom’s Rajma has been something I have been trying to replicate for years but I wasn’t even close.

After a lot of experimentation I think I have been finally able to crack something pretty close to that authentic taste I fell in love with. Let’s just say this dish brings me a sense of satisfaction. It takes me down the memory lane of eating Rajma Chawal, with my hands, sitting on the floor of her study room.

Which kidney beans to use?

I love this recipe, especially, because it comes together very quickly. The shortcuts that I have taken don’t compromise flavor and it’s made in my most favorite kitchen gadget – the Instant pot! I have used canned red kidney beans in my recipe and regular Indian spices. No, special store bought masala is needed. After pressure cooking for 20 mins, the kidney beans mash easily and give the curry a really nice thickness.

I tried soaking the raw red kidney beans overnight and then cooking them, but after pressure cooking for 40 mins the beans were still very tough. Not saying, I will not try cooking the beans from scratch again – maybe I just need to try a different quality of the raw beans. For now, I am pretty happy with how this recipe has turned out. My kids (including my 1 year old) happily ate bowlful of Rajma and rice.

I have mildly spiced the curry so that it can be enjoyed by kids as well. But, of course, you can crank up the heat by adding green chillies or increasing the quantity of the chilli powder/garam masala.

Just like other Punjabi curries, making them in advance only enhances their flavor. The spices with the onion tomato base get a chance to meld as they sit together and result in a delicious tasting dish.

Make it soon πŸ™‚

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Instant Pot Punjabi Homestyle Rajma Masala thumbnail

Instant Pot Punjabi Homestyle Rajma Masala

  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 3-4 1x


Yummy protein-rich vegan curry in a bowl. Traditionally slow cooked, this recipe comes together in the Instant pot fairly quickly and is packed with rich Indian spices and flavor. Best enjoyed with a side of white Basmati rice.


  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1.5 cup diced Onions
  • 2 tbsp Ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 cup Tomato puree (fresh or canned)
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp Red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp Garam masala
  • 1 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1 tsp Salt (adjust to taste)
  • 2 cups Water
  • 29 oz can Red Kidney beans or 3 1/2 cups cooked red kidney beans
  • 1 tbsp Kastoori methi (crushed by hand)
  • 1/3 cup chopped Coriander leaves


  1. Turn on the Saute mode on the Instant pot.
  2. Heat oil and add the bay leaves. Saute for 30 seconds and add the onions. Cook the onions for 3-4 mins until they turn translucent.
  3. Mix in ginger-garlic paste and cook for another minute.
  4. Add the tomato puree, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, garam masala, coriander powder and salt. Mix everything well, stirring continuously for 30 seconds. Cook for another 2 mins.
  5. Add in water, drained and rinsedΒ  red kidney beans and kastoori methi. Give it a quick stir.
  6. Press cancel and put on Manual mode. Adjust to 20 mins and High pressure.
  7. Put on the lid and turn the knob to the sealing position. It will take approximately 7-8 mins for the pressure to build up and the timer will start.
  8. Release the pressure naturally.
  9. Once the pin drops, open the lid and mix everything well. Smash a few beans with the back of the spoon. This will help thicken the gravy as well.
  10. If you want the curry to thicken more, turn on Saute mode on the Instant pot again and let the Rajma boil for a few more mins until the desired consistency is reached.
  11. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
  12. Enjoy hot with lime, sliced onions and rice.


  • You can add chopped green chillies, along with the ginger-garlic paste for an additional kick.
  • If using canned tomato puree, the curry might be thicker than usual so adjust water quantity if you like rajma thin
  • If using raw kidney beans, then soak it the previous night. You may need to adjust the cooking time to 35-40 mins.
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 40
  • Category: Main Dish/ Entree
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Indian

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