Kidney bean and water melon curry – rajma stew

rajma curry
Very often Indian food is mistaken for the spicy, burning hot, outlandishly creamy curries that often get popularised. In fact, simple stews are what most home-based cooking relies on. No doubt we do create some wonderfully creamy textures, but honestly, they are occasional and not every day. For an everyday vegetarian recipe, we rely on soup style, bean-based curries and pair it with a cooked grain and very often with a side salad. This makes it a whole combo of filling and healthy recipes.
If you are reading this blog and not finding the abundance of restaurant-style recipes it just because it doesn’t happen often in my kitchen. For me, the simple logic is to leave the restaurant-style ones to the restaurant that does the justice to that dish better than a whole lot of cooking at home. Don’t give up on me yet!!  if you are looking for a restaurant-style recipe… Try this dal tadka or dhaba style rajma curry

Coming back to home cooking

The stews and soups which form a great part of the winter recipes are not just comforting, they are nourishing… Move over, don’t get that winter weight on as it is perfectly ridiculous trying to put your body through a huge summer effort.  My plan is to eat wisely all through the year and have that occasional indulgence in the restaurant.
With the current global pandemic scene, it is indeed best to spend time with loved ones at home and create the ease of being comfortable. it is definitely useful to keep smaller close knits groups than help to spread the dreadfulness.  Simple curries and stew recipes like these help to create the nourishment needed.

To this rajma curry recipe

Kidney beans are one of the most loved beans all around the world. Whether you get the deep red ones, the Kashmiri style smaller ones or the cranberry kidney beans they all work perfectly in this recipe. The nutritive value and Vitamin content in the beans are the ones they are highly priced for.
I love how melons add the softness and water content to a curry. As watermelons are currently precious and vegetables and fresh produce an even more calculated buy,  guess what I price the most watermelon rind.  With the world going crazy currently buying all the stock, improvise is my plan. Hence this watermelon rind does the perfect job replacing the melon for me. If you don’t have both go for the pumpkin in this recipe. 
curry with rajma and melon
Here is a couple of watermelon rind based recipes that are on this blog.

What did I do with the juicy part of the watermelon, here are some of the ideas.

To enjoy this rajma curry in my home thali ( meal) I like quinoa or kalonji pulao, carrot salad and rice fritters (arisikaruvadam).
Enjoy a lighter and tangy Indian curry rice today without all that heavy-duty greasy masala. In the light of the current global pandemic, turmeric, fennel, garlic and ginger may help us in building some natural preventive immunity. Good old spice powder to the rescue!!!
Stay safe and see you soon
rajma curry

Kidney bean and melon curry

Tangy and light watermelon rind stew for dinner.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 6 hrs 50 mins
Course Main Dish, Snacks
Cuisine Autumn, diabetic friendly, Fusion, gluten free, Indian, Pressure cooker, Vegan, Vegetarian, Winter
Servings 4 people


For soaking

  • 1 cup kidney
  • 2-3 cups drinking water

to pressure cook

  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp Nigella seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seed
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ginger root (grated)
  • Green chillies (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 1 tsp bisibelebath masala ( )
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder ( or turmeric root grated)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 lime sized tamarind ( to extract the pulp)
  • 1 large Tomato
  • 2-3 cups watermelon ( perferable use the rind part)
  • 2 cups drinking water


  • 1 tsp mixed herbs ( chopped)


  • Wash and soak the dry kidney beans in about 2-3 cups of water for about 6 hours.
  • Peel the thick skin of the watermelon and dice them.
  • Prepare the ginger, garlic and turmeric.
  • Drain the soaked kidney bean and wash them and set aside
  • Dice the tomato and set aside.
  • Soak the tamarind in warm water and extract the pulp
  • Into the pressure cooker add the nigella seeds, cumin and fennel with 1 tsp of oil ( I have used olive oil) and saute for a minute till the seeds sizzle
  • Add the ginger, garlic and turmeric root ( if using, if not add the turmeric powder in the next step) and saute for a few seconds
  • Add the soaked kidney bean, melon, tomato, tamarind, salt, bisibelebath masala and mix well.
    rajma curry
  • Add 2 cups of water and pressure cook for about 5 whistles
  • Allow pressure to release naturally and then open the lid
  • Gently mash in a bit of the beans to give a thicker consistency to the curry.
  • Stir in the chopped herbs and the curry is ready to serve after a taste test,
  • rajma curry


For an instant pot version, 
Pressure cook the mix for 30 minutes under high and naturally release the pressure.
If using canned kidney bean, 
If using canned kidney bean, just steam the ingredients as the beans are already cooked. Check if any salt is necessary as the can will have added salt.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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