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’s 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. TryMadras curry, dal tadka or dhaba style rajma Masala.

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.

Ingredients in 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 valued for. These are also one of the soft cooking vegan protein sources. 
Melon-I loves how melons add the softness and water content to a  home-style curry. As watermelons are currently precious and vegetables and fresh produce an even more calculated buy. At this time it is important to look at the whole usable part of the produce. The watermelon rind does the perfect job replacing the melon during these lockdown times.  The other options that you can use based on availability are bottle gourd, ridge gourd, winter melon or hairy melon. 
curry with rajma and melon
Recipe details with step by step instructions is in this recipe card. You can pin this recipe for your use from here itself. When you make this simple recipe don’t forget to share your comment and rating.

Kidney bean and melon curry

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


  • Pressure cooker
  • deep pot


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.
Keyword curry recipes, Indian vegetarian dinner, Lunch recipes
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Kidney bean recipes

Here are a couple more recipes with Kidney beans

Dhaba Style Rajma Masala

Rajma podi sundal- kidney beans salad

Recipes with watermelon rind

Have some more watermelon rind? Try these easy recipes.

Watermelon rind sabji

Thogayal with watermelon rind

Varuth aracha kootu curry with watermelon rind.

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Rajma stew

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Priya Vj
2 years ago
Rating :

Very innovative and interesting stew using rajma and watermelon. The stew must have been an explosion of flavors and taste . Waiting to try this .

2 years ago
Rating :

Rightly said everyday home cooked food is pole apart from the restaurant food. I do love your rajma and melon stew. Perfect improvisation and delicious healthy curry we all love. Thanks now on the melon rind is getting equal importance in my place.

Preethi Prasad
2 years ago
Rating :

This kidney bean with watermelon rind curry laced with bisibelebath masala sounds so innovative. I can’t wait to try this flavourful curry . Beautifully presented Seema.

2 years ago
Rating :

for my family slowly warming up to the punjabi “rajma”, I am sure to try this unqiue curry in the IP once we get to the watermelon season soon !

Mayuri Patel
1 year ago
Rating :

Totally agree with you Seema there are so many variations of curries, sabjis we make that 95% don’t even reach the restaurant tables. Love how you’ve mixed red kidney beans and watermelon to make a healthy and filling stew. Can’t wait to try this recipe out when I get some watermelon.

Shobha Keshwani
1 year ago
Rating :

This is an interesting combo. Curry looks delicious. I would love to try it out.

Priya Vj
1 year ago
Rating :

I love rajma in any form and using it with watermelon rind is interesting. Wil go well with rotis and hot parathas .

Jayashree T.Rao
1 year ago
Rating :

I too have resorted to making the home food regularly. It is healthier without adding the extra calories. Nice combination of kidney bean and watermelon rind in the curry. It makes a good side dish with chapathi.

1 year ago
Rating :

proteins with melons- that’s a delicious WHOLE NEW curry for me, Seema. .. and gets my family to eat rajma too!

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