Rajmah (red kidney bean curry)

Indian food sings with gusto. When people say they don’t like it, I totally get it. It might be overkill for the taste buds (…and stomach?). You take one bite and it’s like ZOOM, flavor here, flavor there, flavor…..yes, everywhere. It’s definitely punchy and hot. So much flavor could potentially imply in your brain that it took a many hours to make. But, here’s a little secret. While most Indian food, yes, for sure, requires lots and lots of spices, all you need to do is get them together, simmer them away with a protein or vegetables, and let them do their little flavor dance. Indian food is like a fun spice cumbaya.

That taste goes into your mouth then into your stomach and you’re satisfied on all levels. What could be better? For people who are looking for super easy ways to get delicious bean protein that isn’t frijoles negros or super boring red beans, here is your solution. Simply scatter this terracotta colored stew over some perfect brown rice. Make it even richer by adding a dollop of my kitchen goddess, Greek yogurt.

Or don’t add the yogurt and keep it vegan. This dish is the picture of health, and what’s best about it is that once you make it, it can be stored in the fridge and the flavors will marinate together and meld themselves even closer to heaven. This sort of reminds me of a spicier and vegetarian red bean chili. Easy peasy. Wait, these aren’t peas… let’s make it easy beansy instead.

Rajmah (red kidney bean curry)

Adapted from The Indian Slow Cooker 

Notes: this recipe can be prepared one of three ways:

1. If you have a slow cooker, wonderful. All ingredients can be dumped together, you can go about your day, and it’ll be ready in a few hours.

2. You can buy canned, ready to go kidney beans, which is just fine. (BUT please note that buying and cooking dried beans yourself (which are cheaper!) will yield a far superior texture and taste to the beans. Up to you and your timetable.)

3. If you get the dried beans, simply soak them overnight in water. In the morning, drain the beans, stick them in a pot to cover with water by two inches. Simmer the beans over medium heat until they are finished, about one hour. Proceed with recipe.

Also, there are a lot of spices to be used, and purchased if you don’t have them. But the way I think about Indian food and spices is this: You get them once, and can use them endlessly to create a wide array of flavorful dishes by only adding beans, another protein, or vegetables, and some garlic and onion. In my eyes, it’s a wise investment.

1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil

1 (2-inch) piece ginger, peeled and chopped or grated

6 cloves of garlic, minced

1 medium onion, diced

4-6 chiles (depending on how spicy you want this – omit if you don’t like too much spice) Thai, serrano, chipotle, or cayenne, seeds and stems removed, chopped (I used dried chipotles)

2 medium tomatoes, diced

3 whole cloves

1 cinnamon stick

1 tablespoon cumin seeds

1 tablespoon red chile powder

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon garam masala

1 teaspoon coriander (optional)

3 cups cooked red kidney beans or 30 ounces of canned red kidney beans with their water (If doing the slow cooker method, start with dried beans)

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

rice or naan bread, for serving

Greek yogurt, for serving, optional

Slow cooker method

Start with dried beans, and dump all ingredients in your slow cooker with 9 cups of water, and cook on high for 11 hours.

Stovetop method

Heat the oil in a large skillet or sauce pan. Add ginger, garlic, onion, chiles, and cook for a minute or so. Add the tomatoes, salt, and spices and cook for five minutes, stirring frequently. Add the beans with two cups of water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and cook uncovered for ten minutes, adding more water if necessary. Remove from heat, and garnish with cilantro and Greek yogurt.






  1. Free Your Mind Today

    September 14th, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    I’m going to give this a try! I love kidney beans, they’re so much more useful than just basic chili. This looks so delicious.

    One thing though- all red skinned beans can be toxic if they are not boiled rapidly for about 20 minutes. Using them in a slow cooker could actually make you sick, it happened to me a few times and then I learned about the toxin in them.

  2. thegrizzlykitchen

    September 14th, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    Oh no! That’s not good. Thanks for letting me know! I’ve done them in the slow cooker before and never gotten sick before. They should come with a warning!

    Regardless, these are very delicious and easy to prepare. Thanks for your comment!

  3. Free Your Mind Today

    September 14th, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    There should be a warning on the packages! It only applies to dried beans, you don’t have to do a rapid boil for canned beans.

    Here is a good article that explains much more than I can: http://www.home-ec101.com/cooking-kidney-beans-slow-cooker-crock-pot/

    I’ll have to come back and check out your other recipes if they all look as good as this one! 🙂

  4. Questions You Have About Best Diet For Diabetes 2 |

    October 17th, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    […] And Healthier With Vegetarian RecipesCopycat Olive Garden Pasta e Fagioli Soup☆ Summer Beauty ☆Rajmah (red kidney bean curry) // initialise plugins jQuery(function(){ // main navigation init […]

Sign up for news
and updates from my kitchen to yours:

get the newsletter

What’s your biggest priorityfor your health right now?

& body

& recipes


healing my relationship with food & my body

We cannot make sustainable change with food, our bodies, or our surrounding habits until we honestly explore and get curious about our relationship with each of them. Mindset change is not easy, but so, so worth it.

learn more


Being healthy starts with learning to cook simple foods in easy, delicious ways with approachable and practical recipes and techniques.

learn more


Our health begins with properly nourishing our bodies with nutrient-dense foods. I believe in bio-individuality: each person requires different types and amounts of food to feel their best. Learn how to eat intuitively for the rest of your life!

learn more

For daily inspiration, follow: @ashleykpardo