Dhaba Style Rajma Masala

Rajma masala
Dotted along the roadways towards the Delhi Punjab highway, the dhaba has come to characterise the richness of Punjabi delicacies. Fresh bread from the clay oven and the steaming hot curries topped with luscious butter had been the best image of Indian food all over the world. These have originated from the humble background of these Dhabas.
Relaxing on the woven cots, dipping the torn bread into the enticing curry. Then, sipping a lassi to the extent to make a moustache. This is a dream I have so far never realised. But,  an innumerable number of times I have recreated the menu at home. Here is the best of the Rajma masala, done dhaba style. Simmer a double batch always for the flavour to reach the fullest. I seriously doubt if it will stay for those two times. It is seriously addictive with great company. 

Kidney beans and nutrition quotient

Introduced by the Portuguese, this deep red bean seamlessly adapted itself into the Indian cuisine. The cooked beans absorbing the much-loved spices and made heartwarming with a dollop of fresh butter will stay forever with the desi hearts.
Here are some facts about the kidney beans
  • Just as much as any bean the Rajma is a great source of protein
  • It is also a nutrient-dense option when you need a power packed meal.
  • The anti-inflammatory nature and antioxidants are studied for cancer prevention.
  • The kidney-shaped beans are a great source of cholesterol-lowering fibre
  • The complex proteins and the high content of fibre help the diabetics for sustained nutrient release.
Read about the importance of molybdenum in your body in this post which these beans are rich in.
Here is the best accompaniments for the Rajma Masala
Much loved as a plateful of rajma chawal (beans and rice) with fresh sliced onion salad is a wholesome filling platter. We enjoy making rajma masala in the winter months and hope you do too.
Pin this recipe for your use later
This recipe is added to the Punjabi delicacies done by the dedicated bloggers of Shhh cooking secretly challenge. Started by Priya, the challenge is unique. We pair up with like-minded bloggers, receive secret ingredients and work on a recipe that brings out the best of the region and incorporating the ingredients. This time I worked with Rafeeda AR who gave me garlic and cumin seeds. She is an enthusiastic blogger and we both have common grounds, the Malabar cuisine. Here is Rafeeda’s Blog –The Big Sweet Tooth.  She has worked with very simple ingredients like onion and chillies to create mesmerising magic from the same cuisine
Hope you enjoy this post. Do tag me when you have a bowlful of rajma. 
Here is the pin for you to save for future 
kidney bean
Rajma masala

Dhaba Style Rajma Masala

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Course Main Dish, sidedish, Traditional
Cuisine diabetic friendly, gluten free, Indian, One pot, Pressure cooker, Vegetarian, Winter
Servings 6 people
Calories 284 kcal


for the bean

  • 2 cup kidney beans (Dry beans)
  • 6 cups drinking water

For the masala base

  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 1 long cinnamon stick crushed
  • 2 bayleaves
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger root finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1-2 Green chillies Slit
  • 1/2 tsp Black pepper crushed
  • 1 cup Onion sliced
  • 2-3 medium tomatoes
  • salt to taste

for spice powders

  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp red chili powder ( or paprika)
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala powder

to garnish

  • 2 tbsp coriander leaves chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp cream (optional, omit if vegan )
  • 1/2 tsp kasuri methi ( optional)


  • Wash and soak the kidney beans for 5-6 hours.
  • Remove the soaking water and add 6 cups of water to pressure cook
  • Pressure cook for 3 whistles and release steam naturally.
    kidney beans
  • While the beans are cooking, gather up the other ingredients
  • Wash and slice the tomatoes. Save 1/4 cup and puree the rest
  • Slice the onions, save a 1/4 cup and puree the rest.
  • Finely chop he ginger garlic, coriander and slice the chillies. Set aside till use.
  • Once the beans are ready, Set a deep wok to heat on medium and add the oil
  • Add the cumin seeds, bay leaf, cloves, crushed pepper and cinnamon and roast till aromatic
  • Now add the chopped garlic, ginger and slit chillies and fry till the garlic is golden.
  • Add the reserved sliced onion and tomatoes and saute till they are translucent.
  • Now add the onion puree and saute till it is aromatic.
  • Add the tomato puree and saute well.
  • Add the salt, turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, chilli powder and garam masala powder and mix well.
  • Once the masala is roasted well(buna Masala) add the cooked beans and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  • Mix gently from time to time to avoid catching the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the crushed methi leaves, coriander and simmer another 5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and add cream and mix well.
  • The rajma masala is ready to serve
    Rajma masala


If you have no time to soak and you have an instant pot, set it for 35 minutes high with about 8 cups water to cook. Release pressure naturally.


Calories: 284kcalCarbohydrates: 44gProtein: 16gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 223mgPotassium: 1073mgFiber: 17gSugar: 4g
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Rafeeda - The Big Sweet Tooth
Rafeeda - The Big Sweet Tooth
4 years ago

The rajma masala surely looks delicious… just like you I would too like to go through those roads and eat from a dhaba…

The Girl Next Door
4 years ago

Oh, my! This has me literally drooling! 🙂
I’m a big fan of Rajma Masala and make it all the time. Yours looks so,so good! I want!

4 years ago

Dhaba Style dish is very well done, I am drawn to the Kalonji Pulao that u have suggested as accompiment to this, Seema !

Sujata Roy
4 years ago

Rajma masala looks superbly delicious. What a beautiful colour. Perfect accompany with hot steamed rice. Lovely share.

4 years ago

Ah the memories of food along the Delhi-Chandigarh highway! 🙂 My parents live in Chandigarh and I make that journey at least 3-4 times a year and the highlight is the highway food! While now everyone one of those eateries has become a big name, the origins and the style is still from a humble oven! Thank you for taking me back to those memories! Your entire spread of rajma masala with rice, papad and raw onions looks delicious!

Poonam bachhav
4 years ago

Dhabha food along the highways is a delight for sure, even if you are staying in Punjab. I like the colour of your Rajma masala and I am sure the curry is full of flavours . Your spread looks very inviting !

4 years ago

The way you presented the Rajma masala feels it like really am in Dhaba. It looks very scrumptious, with rich gravy and perfectly cooked rajma would love to have it with hot pulkas..

Sujata Shukla
4 years ago

You took me right back to long ago days of travel to Chandigarh, savouring the amazing paratha breakfasts and rajma chaval dinners at dhabas on the Highway. Amazing colour to your rajma masala, I love it!

Mayuri Patel
4 years ago

Your introduction to the post takes me back a couple of years ago when we were traveling to Chandigarh and when I was refusing to eat at a small dhabba, as I thought it would not be hygienic. However, the call of an empty hungry stomach was much stronger than my opinions on hygiene. Glad I enjoyed the experience of one of the best meals ever. Hot aloo parathas with rajma. Love the colour of your rajma dish. Looks so tempting.

4 years ago

Aha ! this looks so inviting, I usually end up adding a paste of onion and tomato, shall try your version sometime.

sasmita sahoo
4 years ago

I am sure noone will deny to have this 🙂 The curry looks so delicious and wanna finish up with some hot phulka simply !

4 years ago

Love the dark red colour of the rajma masala. Looks very rich and creamy perfect with some hot steaming rice.

4 years ago

Rajma masala looks absolutely delicious and creamy. Love your step by step explaining and presentation.Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Veena Krishnakumar
4 years ago

The rajma masala looks so delicious and you have presented it in the truly dhaba style. Great capture

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