Last Updated : Nov 14,2023

What is Rajma (kidney beans) ? Glossary, Benefits, Uses + Recipes
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Also Known as

Kidney beans, red kidney beans

What is Rajma, kidney beans?

Just as its name suggests, the kidney bean is shaped like a kidney with a reddish brown colour and a thick skin. It has a strong flavour with a slightly sweet aftertaste, a nutty aroma and a chewy texture. The kidney bean is used extensively in Mexican cooking, and also in certain Indian dishes. It is quite popular in Punjabi cuisine.

Red rajma

Dark red kidney beans hold their shape really well during cooking and readily absorb flavours, making them a favourite addition to simmered dishes. Small and big sized beans are available, and you can choose what suits your recipe.

Black rajma

Black kidney beans and others such as pinto beans, navy beans, etc., are often referred to as ‘common beans’ in many countries. Black rajma is also available small and big, so choose what fits your recipe.

Boiled and crushed rajma
Wash and soak the rajma overnight. Then, drain and rinse the beans. Add soaked beans and water to a pressure cooker. The water should top the beans by about 2". Lock in the lid. Turn on heat. Cook for 15 minutes. Turn off the flame. Wait till the pressure has dropped, then open and drain the excess water. Let it cook a little. Take a potato masher and mash the rajmato get the desired smoothness.
Boiled rajma
Boiled rajma
Wash and soak the rajma overnight. Then, drain and rinse the beans. Add soaked beans and water to a pressure cooker. The water should top the beans by about 2". Lock in the lid. Turn on heat. Cook for 15 minutes. Turn off the flame. Wait till the pressure has dropped, then open and drain the excess water. Use the cooked beans as required.

Rajma may also be cooked in a pot. Place soaked rajma in a pot and cover completely with water. Add salt to taste. Cook it with a lid on. Once done, remove from heat and drain the water. The cooking time will vary depending on method, quantity, quality and age of beans.

Boiled rajma can be eaten hot, warm or cold, as per one's choice, in various recipes.
Soaked rajma
To soak rajma beans, first wash them thoroughly, check for any stones and then soak in warm water. It is better to change the water from time to time while you're soaking or cooking the beans. Pouring off the water helps gets rid of the indigestible complex sugars that create gas in your intestine. It also helps to cook the beans thoroughly, until they can be easily mashed with a fork.

Store soaked rajma in the refrigerator in an airtight container and use within 2 to 3 days. Longer storage could cause an undesirable odour.

Soaking rajma does not cause any nutrient loss but makes it easier to digest. Soaking before use is recommended for those with gastric troubles.
Sprouted rajma
After soaking rajma overnight, cover it with a muslin cloth or cheese cloth. Place this in a warm area to induce germination. Once germination begins, the sprouts will begin to grow. Ensure that you keep changing the water. Within 24 to 26 hours, small edible shoots begin to appear. Always wash gently and then use in the recipe. Ensure that you don't expose these sprouts to sunlight.

How to Select Rajma

• Kidney beans are readily available in dry and canned form in grocery stores.
• Choose even-shaped rajma that is clean and uncontaminated by debris.

Culinary Uses of Rajma

Ever ask a North-Indian what his comfort food is, he would surely say it is rajma chawal or parathas with lassi. You can make sumptuous Rajma Spinach Cheese Paratha and savor them with a bowl of curd and fresh pickle.

The tangy Rajma Sev Puri is an off-beat twist to your regular sev puri. Also, the melt-in-the-mouth Rajma Tikki SatayRajma Kebab packed with a lot of flavors.You can also make deep-fry rajma tikki and stuff them with mayonnaise, lettuce and crunchy vegetables and make Rajma Tikki Wrap. They are filling and make a perfect on-the-go snack. For people who are lazy to make tikki, can saute a lip-smacking mixture and make this Chatpata Rajma Wrap.

• The strong colour and robust flavour of kidney beans make it a welcome addition to salads, soups and rice dishes.
• Rajma is popularly used in curries and subzis in Punjab.
Rajma curry is extremely popular not just in North India but elsewhere as well. Serve Rajma curry with plain boiled rice, cucumber salad and your favourite pickle to make a tasty and wholesome meal.
• Kidney beans are often used in chili, refried beans, soups, salads, simmered dishes and pasta preparations.

How to Store Rajma

• Always store dry kidney beans in a dry airtight container at room temperature. Do not store dry beans in the refrigerator.
• Once cooked, beans can be kept in the refrigerator in a covered container for up to 5 days and in an airtight container in the freezer for up to six months.
• Always rinse and sort beans before cooking to remove stones and other debris.

Nutritional Information of Rajma, Red Kidney Beans

One cup of cooked Rajma is 150 grams.
RDA stands for Recommended Daily Allowance.
Nutritional Information for 1 cup Cooked Rajma, (Kidney beans, red kidney beans).

173 Calories
17.1 grams of Protein
30.3 grams of Carbs
0.7 grams of Fat

205 mg of Phosphorus : 34% of RDA (about 600 mg for adult)

92 mg of Magnesium (Mg) = 26.2%% of RDA (about 350 mg)

2.3 mg of Zinc = 19.1% of RDA (about 10 to 12 mg)

703 mg of Potassium (K) : 15% of RDA (about 4,700 mg)

130 mg of Calcium (Ca) = 13% of RDA (about 1000 mg)

2.5 mg of Iron (Fe) = 12.5% of RDA (about 20 mg for women)

2.4 grams of High Fiber = 8% of RDA (about 25 to 30 grams)

9 Health Benefits of Rajma, Red Kidney Beans

1.Rich in Magnesium : One cup of cooked kidney beans has 78% of your daily Magnesium requirements. Magnesium helps in formation of bones and teeth and metabolism of calcium and potassium. Magnesium helps carbohydrates and hence regulate blood sugar levels helping Diabetics.

2. Lowers Cholesterol : Rajma is a complex carb and rich in Fibre which helps in Lowering Cholesterol levels. Soluble fibre may reduce the absorption of cholesterol. Hence lowers total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the Bad cholesterol) therefore reducing the risk of heart disease. Soluble fibre creates the bile in the intestine to excreted in the stool. The body needs cholesterol to make bile salts and hence the liver produces more LDL. So more bile salts made in the liver will result in more LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) being pulled out of the blood stream. So eat more soluble fibre.

3. Good for Skin: Zinc helps in building immunity, is good for skin, great Antioxidant and involved in energy metabolism and hormone production including testosterone in males and female sex hormones involved in releasing of egg from the ovaries.

See here for 10 benefits of rajma.

Glycemic Index of Rajma, Red Kidney Beans

Rajma has a Glycemic Index of 29 which is low. Glycemic Index are for foods you eat, ranks carbohydrate-containing foods by how quickly they digest and raise your blood sugar or glucose levels. Foods rank from 0 to 50 are low GI, 51 to 69 are medium and 70 to 100 are high. Foods that are high in GI are not suitable for weight loss and diabetics. Foods like Rajma have a low GI and hence don't spike your glucose level as they are absorbed slowly. Great for weight loss.

Related Links

Canned red kidney beans
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 on 03 Sep 21 07:59 AM

Hi, I was read your article which is most helpful.
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Tarla Dalal    Thanks for the feedback !!! Keep reviewing recipes and articles you loved.
03 Sep 21 12:58 PM