Hot and sweet red kidney beans


Red kidney beans , known as Rajma in Hindi , has a popular place in the North Indian cuisine as Rajma chawal. I wanted to try something different from the regular Rajma chawal, searched the web for some interesting recipes . I came across this hot and sweet Kidney beans recipe by Simply Reem, and it looked very appetizing . The most appealing thing about this dish is its flavour profile , the two flavours ‘hot’ & ‘ sweet’ which are the kind of flavours I prefer in my food, some sweetness with a little heat.


 Recipe adapted from Simply Reem


  • 1 ½ cups dried red kidney beans
  • 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • ½ teaspoon whole black pepper
  • 6 cloves
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 red onion; large, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger minced
  • 4 tomatoes; large, chopped
  • 1 ½ teaspoons curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
  • 3-4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Salt as per taste
  • Fresh chopped cilantro, for garnish


  1. Wash and soak the dried red kidney beans overnight with sufficient water,cover 2 to 3 inches above the beans.
  2. Next morning, pressure-cook the drained beans with sufficient water on medium high heat for about 10-15 minutes. Once the pressure has stabilized, open the cooker and check if the beans are cooked. They should be soft to touch. Reserve the stock.
  3. Heat oil in a deep bottomed pan; add all the whole spices, cumin seeds and onions. Sauté on medium low heat till the onions turn translucent, about 5 to 6 minutes.


4. Add the minced ginger garlic and sauté till the raw aroma of ginger garlic is gone, about 1 to 2 minutes.


5. Add the chopped tomatoes along with the cayenne pepper, cumin powder, black pepper powder, curry powder and 1/4  cup of water, cook stirring on medium low heat until the water evaporates and oil is separated from the tomatoes to the  sides of the pan.




  1. Add the cooked red kidney beans along with a cup of the reserved stock; add more water if required, if you find the  stock less.


  1. Let the beans come to a boil, add the ketchup, maple syrup and salt, give everything a good stir.
  2. Cover the pot and let it simmer on low heat for 15 to 20 minutes until the desired consistency is achieved.
  3. Once done, transfer to a serving dish, garnish with freshly chopped cilantro. This can be served with steamed rice or any Indian flat bread.



1.Instead of a pressure cooker, the soaked and drained beans can be cooked by adding 8 to 10 cups of water in a large pot, covered with a lid and cooked for 30 to 40 minutes or until the beans are well done. Keep checking the water level, to avoid drying the beans.

2 .If you are using canned beans, drain them well and add them directly to the prepared masala.

3. I’ve replaced maple syrup with honey a couple of times when I’ve run out of maple syrup, and it still tasted delicious, of  course the maple syrup is an important element in this dish which also gives it a distinct smoky flavour, but honey can  be a good substitute for the sweetness.

4. I’ve tried this dish earlier with tomato puree instead of chopped tomatoes, and the final outcome was the same as using chopped tomatoes, the only thing with using tomato puree is the rich red colour that comes from using it.


Freda 🙂


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