Rajma or kidney bean stew - Instant Pot vegetarian dish that is so simple and satisfying. You'll never miss the meat!  It's a true dump and go meal. No browning, wilting, sauteing, just put it all in the pot and go!

Ramja? Kidney bean dal?  Never heard of it?  Me either.  But that’s what I was served for supper one night by Management.  It was so good I wanted to share it with you.  

What is it rajma?

According to my sources, rajma or kidney bean dal is a popular stew in North India.  Rajma is normally cooked for hours to create a thick sauce saturated with spices.

Cool.  I didn’t even know that was gonna be supper.  I was pimping out my Weber Kettle and when I came in to clean up, the smell stopped me in my tracks.  Not only was I unaware she was cooking anything, but the smell was clearly…ethnic.  

I thought it was something Asian.  She looked at her pressure cooker and said, “Nope.  Indian.  I got it from the Forks Over Knives magazine.”  I smiled and shook my head.  She’s cooking that damn vegan stuff again.

But as I’ve said before, I’m a team player.  She likes to play on the veg team.  So I play.  I had the intention of using those Camellia red beans for red beans and rice with loads of Conecuh sausage, but nooo.  I guess I’ll settle for Forks Over Knives rajma.

Of course, I had to be the guinea pig.  She never tastes the food.  Not as she’s cooking and not after.  How she can make food that you really don’t have to add any seasoning to is beyond me. I’m always the one to taste.  So I tasted it and it was, honestly, really really good.  It’s actually, this might sound weird, but a cross between Indian food and traditional red beans and rice. 

If you’re not a big Indian food fan, you could do this.  If you like red beans and rice you’ll enjoy this too.  It has sooo much flavor and really only from good healthy veg.  You will. not. miss. the. meat.  I swear.

We’ve made this multiple times since the first.  I’m guessing we’ll keep on keepin’ on. This kidney bean dal is heavily inspired by the Forks over Knives magazine, the fall issue.  I don’t make the food out of this magazine. I don’t even look at that magazine.  She’s the one who makes the food.  She’s made a ton of things out of the various issues and not one was not totally and completely delicious.   

She did change a few things and that’s why I say highly inspired.  So here we go.  Let’s get our veg on.

Rajma – Kidney Bean Dal

Delicious, creamy rajma, or kidney bean dal in about an hour.  

Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian, Instant Pot
Keyword Vegetarian


  • 1.5 cups dried red kidney beans, rinsed and drained no soaking required
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped tomato
  • 2 pitted whole dates
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon salt, kosher or sea salt
  • 1 inch knob of ginger, minced or grated
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 serrano or jalapeno pepper, whole, not chopped optional for a bit of heat
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream or non-dairy milk
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/4 chopped cilantro
  • rice


  1. In your pressure cooker add the first 13 ingredients.  Yep, just throw it in the pot.  Give a good stir.

    Set to high pressure for 45 minutes or use your Bean setting if you have one.  Let the pressure come down naturally.  

  2. Carefully remove the lid and remove the pepper, if using.

    Stir in the cream, lime juice and cilantro.  Turn on the keep warm setting.  Let it sit around for 10 minutes or so and give another stir.  If you want it thicker, use your simmer/saute feature to get to the thickness you want.  Or you can mash a few beans with a bean smasher.

  3. Serve over cooked rice or with pita or naan.

Recipe Notes

1. Again, if you’re not into dairy, substitute any unsweetened plant milk.  Coconut cream is also great in this.

2. Leave out the pepper if you don’t want any extra heat. It’s just floating in there and is removed after the cook time, so it doesn’t really make it fiery.

3. I mentioned Camellia red beans because they’re the perfect bean. Camellia beans are rated higher than the top governmental standard for beans. The growers set aside the best beans for Camellia. I’ve eaten them all my life and they are always creamy, never old and hard. You almost don’t even have to rinse them they’re so clean. I have never found a rock or stone in any of Camellia’s beans. So just saying, if you can find them at your local store, buy them.

If you love dal or you love sweet potatoes, I think you’ll love my red lentil sweet potato dal!

Rajma or kidney bean stew - Instant Pot vegetarian dish that is so simple and satisfying. You'll never miss the meat!  It's a true dump and go meal. No browning, wilting, sauteing, just put it all in the pot and go!
Rajma or kidney bean stew - Instant Pot vegetarian dish that is so simple and satisfying. You'll never miss the meat! It's a true dump and go meal. No browning, wilting, sautéing, just put it all in the pot and go!

Kidney Bean Dal - Rajma

14 thoughts on “Kidney Bean Dal – Rajma”

    1. I can’t detect the dates when I eat it, but I haven’t tried without. I might have to just to see if it really adds anything. Just went and checked out the masoor dal and it sounds amazing! I cannot wait to try that!

  1. I just got a dal recipe from a friend who visited India and got the recipe from an Indian cook. I’m planning to make it as soon as I figure out how to use my new pressure cooker. Thanks for motivating me. My recipe did not come with a photo or much in the way of directions. But if it doesn’t work out, and perhaps even if it does, I’ll give this one a try next! #SundaysBest

    1. Also, check out the video at the bottom of the post if you haven’t – it might give you some ideas about how to manage your recipe.

  2. I want to make this dish in my slow cooker but I don’t know what temp + how many hours I should go for. Advice?

    1. Just a guess here, because I haven’t done it in a slow cooker (but I will do), but I would just throw it all in and cook on low for 6-8 hours. If too thin and your slow cooker has a saute feature, use that or mash up some of the beans. If you do try it I would LOVE to know how you did it and if it worked out for you Nina!

  3. I adore all those spices, and can imagine its wonderful aroma
    Thanks for sharing at Fiesta Friday. Hope you are enjoying other recipes and blogs at the party, we have lots of good food 🙂

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