Vegan Kidney Beans Curry A.K.A. Rajmah Masala (No Onion & Garlic)

 “Karva Chauth” is an Indian fasting festival falling just before “Diwali”, the Festival of Lights. It is customary for married women across Northern India praying for their husband’s long and prosperous life to not consume any solid or liquid food after sunrise until the  moon rises. There are different variations in the traditions followed, from one region to another and, among families. The fasting ends with a lot of food and celebration late in the night with a variety of sweet and savoury food. Traditionally onion and garlic are not used and, rich carbs and plant proteins are eaten, before and after the fast. This is the perfect recipe to take for a potluck feast to share around with friends and family.

We need,

  • Kidney Beans, soaked in water for at least 6 hours – 1 cup
  • Oil – 1 tablespoon
  • Tomato Paste – 3 tablespoons
  • Water – 4 to 5 cups
  • Salt, to taste
  • Coriander Paste – 2 tablespoons

To dry roast, cool and grind into a spice paste –

  • Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Coriander Seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Cinnamon Bark – 1″ piece
  • Black Cardamom – 1
  • Cloves – 4 to 5
  • Asafoetida – 1 teaspoon
  • Green Chilli, roughly chopped – 1 medium
  • Fresh Ginger Root – 1″ piece


  1. Take a thick bottom deep pan, (I used my pressure pan) and dry roast the dry spices on low heat for 4 – 5 minutes. Cool before processing to a fine powder.
  2. Add the ginger, chilli and a tablespoon of water to the above spice powder to make a thick spice paste.
  3. Heat oil in the pressure pan and roast the spice paste until aromatic.
  4. Add tomato paste to the spices and cook until the raw smell goes away.
  5. Rinse the soaked kidney beans in fresh water 2 – 3 times and drain.
  6. Add the drained beans to the above mix and coat well with the spice paste.
  7. Season with salt and add water.
  8. Clip on the pressure cooker lid and cook on high for at least 15 minutes, till the beans are cooked. If using an open pan, then cover and cook for at least 30 –  45 minutes (this is for beans that have been pre-soaked).
  9. Open the pressure pan and check if the beans are soft cooked. Mash a few beans to thicken the gravy and cook until happy with the consistency (I usually prefer a soupy consistency).
  10. Take off the heat and mix in the coriander paste.

Note: The longer this gravy sits the better it tastes. I tend to make it at least a day before serving. Serve hot with steamed rice and a fresh salad. Happy Karva Chauth to the ones who follow the festival, may it be a blessed and joyous occasion!


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