Rajma madra or Red kidney bean gravy – Learn to make authentic Pahari madra

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Rajma Madra or Red kidney bean madra or Pahari Madra is a North Indian curry authentic to state of Himachal Pradesh and get its name as they originated from Hilly regions of himachal. I had tasted this few years back during my visit to Manali. Learnt this recipe from a cook in a small dhaba in manali and saw the same recipe prepared by Chef Ajay Chopra on a Tv show.

This dish can be prepared as dry curry or gravy. The addition dry kopra gives a unique flavor and crunchiness to the dish. It is one of the loved dishes on any occasion in the snow capped mountain regions of Himachal. Here I have prepared the thick gravy version.

It is prepared using curd or yogurt as the main ingredient and ghee with few Indian spices. Rajma are healthy, high fibre rich, rich in protein and iron, stabilizes blood sugar.

How to cook soft rajma?

Soak rajma for 10 to 12 hours and then cook them well for 8-10 whistles. Always use fresh rajma and not the old ones. Rajma do not cook well, if they are old. Soak the rajma in water for 5-6 hours, drain the water, add fresh water and soak again. The other way is to soak the rajma in hot water for 2 to 3 hours. I prefer using red kidney beans over dark purple as this requires less time to cook.

Learn to prepare creamy rajma madra

Rajma should be cooked well to make it creamy. In this recipe, little rajma is either mashed very well or pulsed into a coarse puree and then added to gravy. This helps in thickening and making it creamy. Prolonged cooking of rajma, makes the rajma to take up the flavours. Always use thin slices of dry kopra, fry well in masala, this blends well in the rajma madra.

Asafoetida in rajma madra recipe helps in reducing the gastric issues that can be created due to undercooked rajma.

Serving options

Rajma madra can be served as main dish or side dish. It can be prepared in gravy or dry curry form. It’s very easy preparation and goes well with rice or chawal and any Indian flat bread.



If you are interested in other rajma recipe, click the link below

Methi Rajma Pasta quiche

Here is how to prepare authentic rajma madra with step by step pictures


Rajma Madra or Pahari Madra or Red Kidney Bean Gravy

Pavithra M AdigaPavithra M Adiga
Rajma Madra or Red kidney bean madra or Pahari Madra is a North Indian curry authentic to state of Himachal Pradesh
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Gravy
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 people


  • Rajma or kidney beans (soaked overnight) - 2 cups
  • Chopped onion- ½ cup
  • Cinnamon stick – 1 no
  • Green cardamom -2 nos
  • Bay leaf -1 no
  • Dry coconut or kopra – ¼ cup
  • Green chilies -2 nos
  • Hing or asafoetida – ½ tsp
  • Coriander powder – 1 tsp
  • Red chili powder – 2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
  • Thick fresh curd – 1 cup
  • Sugar – 1 tbsp
  • Ghee – 3 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • Salt to taste


  • Pressure cook overnight soaked rajma until they become soft. Keep this aside.
  • Take little cooked rajma and coarsely grind or crush to get approximately to ¾ cup of puree. Keep aside for further use.
  • Take a kadai, heat ghee, mustard seeds saute well.
  • Saute cinnamon, cardamom, bay leaf, green chili to the kadai and saute well.
  • Now add chopped onion, saute well until they turn slightly golden. Add thin slices of dry coconut, saute well.
  • Now add hing, coriander powder, red chili powder, turmeric powder, saute well with little water so that the masala doesn’t get burnt.
  • Add crushed cooked rajma, mix well and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Lower the flame and add curd, salt, sugar. Keep stirring continuously until it thickens.
  • Now add the cooked rajma, close with lid and cook for 8 to 10 minutes with little water (until rajma soaks the flavor of masala).
  •  Serve hot with rice or any Indian flat bread.


Canned rajma can be used in this recipe. Adjust salt, sweet and spices according to taste.
Small pieces of dry coconut can also be used which gives an extra crunchiness to the gravy.
Less curd can be added and thick gravy can also be prepared.
Adding the curd at low flame with continuous stirring is important as this prevents the curd from breaking down or curdling further.
Keyword Himachal pradesh, Indian, North Indian


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