Pressure cooker rajma

Pressure cooker rajma recipe by Primary Beans


This iconic North Indian bean stew is the ultimate comfort food. Like a classic chili, the beans are coated with a rich, heavily spiced, tomato-y sauce. And, it is practically made for the electric pressure cooker. As Priya Krishna writes in The New Yorker: “My aunt Sangeeta was sold on the Instant Pot after tasting rajma chawal made in the gadget at a friend’s house.” This recipe comes from My Heart Beets, known for its adaptation of traditional Indian recipes for the Instant Pot. If you can find Kashmiri chile powder, use it– we love the vibrant red color and gentle heat.

Which beans to use? Red kidney beans are the traditional choice, but any firm bean works well like Cranberry or Ayocote Blanco. For a meatier take, use Ayocote Morado.


The details

  • Serves: 4-6
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Cookware: food processor, electric pressure cooker


    What you’ll need

    The beans
    • 1 lb dried beans
    The spices
    • 1 tsp ground coriander
    • 1 tsp garam masala
    • 1 tsp Kashmiri chile powder, or 1 teaspoon paprika and a pinch of cayenne
    • ½ tsp ground black pepper
    • ½ tsp turmeric
    The rest
    • 1 white or yellow onion, roughly chopped
    • ½ jalapeño or serrano pepper
    • 3 tbsp neutral oil or ghee
    • 1 tsp cumin seeds
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 2 tsp minced garlic
    • 2 tsp minced ginger
    • 1-¾ tsp coarse kosher salt, plus more to taste
    • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes or strained tomato puree (passata)



      Sauté the ingredients: Add onion and pepper to a food processor and blend until smooth; set aside. In a small bowl, combine spices and set aside. Heat oil or ghee in pot insert using the sauté function. Add cumin seeds and sauté 1 minute, then add the blended onion-pepper mixture and cook until golden, ~8 minutes. Add bay leaf, garlic, ginger, salt, and spice mixture, stirring to combine. Add tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

      Pressure cook: Add beans and enough water to cover by 1-½ inches. Secure the lid, and cook for 45 minutes on high pressure. Allow the pressure to naturally release. Let cool slightly before serving.

      NOTE: You can also start with cooked beans in their broth. Follow "Sauté the ingredients" instructions, and then simply add cooked beans and enough bean broth to barely cover beans. Simmer for 20 minutes or longer to let the flavors meld, adding more broth as necessary for a thick stew.

      We imagine this with…

      Yogurt, chopped cilantro, and lemon wedges. Basmati rice, warm naan, or roti. Tejal Rao’s Gajjara Kosambari (Carrot Salad). Priya Krishna’s Roasted Aloo Gobi.


      Adapted slightly from My Heart Beets. For the full story, head here.

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