This Instant Pot capsicum rajma curry is a highly nutritious and nourishing comfort dish that’s ultra satisfying and bursting with flavor.
This Indian inspired kidney bean with bell pepper curry is commonly served with basmati rice and additional vegetarian dishes like aloo gobi and bhindi masala okra curry in a lunch thali. It’s also referred to as rajma chawal (with rice).
Although we find it less common in restaurants than dal makhani, as rajma is more of an everyday homemade specialty enjoyed at home.
We love to make our own Instant Pot version, with bell peppers that takes a few minutes of pressure cooking. This is because we toss in canned kidney beans that don’t need any soaking time.
Although they are somewhat tender, we find that canned kidney beans aren’t fully cooked to the right amount of tenderness until after about five minutes or so in the Instant Pot.
You don’t want to overdo the pressure cooking so that the beans lose their shape, but a little (5 min. or so) will provide the ideal texture for rajma curry.
If you don’t have canned kidney beans, you can soak dry kidney beans in water overnight first, then follow the recipe as written with soaked beans instead of canned.
For 2 cans of kidney beans you’ll need to soak 1.5 cups of dry kidney beans.
Soak one part beans in four parts water.
If you haven’t soaked kidney beans overnight, it’s ok, you can pressure cook the dry kidney beans straight away, without soaking.
We recommend pressure cooking the dry beans with water only, for 40 minutes until tender.
Once the kidney beans have been cooked, drain the water and set the kidney beans aside. Then, follow the steps of the recipe and use the precooked beans in place of canned.
Content in this Post
- Ingredients in Instant Pot Capsicum Rajma Curry
- What is Rajma Capsicum?
- Health Benefits of Capsicum Rajma Curry
- How to Make Rajma Curry with Bell Peppers
- STEP 1: Heat Oil and Sauté Seeds and Chilis
- STEP 2: Add Onions, Garlic and Ginger
- STEP 3: Add Tomatoes and Spices
- STEP 4: Add Water
- STEP 5: Add Kidney Beans, Bell Peppers, Bay Leaf & Fenugreek
- STEP 6: Place Tomato Paste On Top
- STEP 7: Cook Rajma
- What to Serve with Instant Pot Capsicum Rajma Curry
- Preparation and Storage Tips
- More Instant Pot Curries
- You’ll Also Love
Ingredients in Instant Pot Capsicum Rajma Curry
- Kidney Beans — we use canned kidney beans, that although are somewhat tender, we find they reach the ideal texture after five minutes in the Instant Pot.
- Bell Peppers — Use any bell peppers, chopped.
- Onion — dice some red onions, or if you don’t have red, yellow or white onion.
- Tomatoes — diced fresh tomatoes
- Tomato Paste — tomato paste, added at the end, adds to the richness of the gravy. We don’t stir it in, to avoid any possible burn signal from tomato paste stuck on the bottom. of the Instant Pot.
- Garlic — fresh cloves, minced finely or put through a garlic press.
- Ginger — a one inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated.
- Green Chilis — one to three chilis, but keep in mind three is quite spicy. It’s best to begin with one, or two if unsure of spice tolerance.
- Bay Leaf — Indian bay leaf, cinnamomum tamala, also called tejpat, tejapatta, found in Indian grocery stores. Used to impart flavor in the dish, and is removed before serving.
- Mustard Seeds — black mustard seeds
- Cumin Seeds — whole cumin seeds
- Garam Masala — garam masala powder, homemade or store bought
- Cumin Powder — ground cumin
- Chili Powder — Kashmiri chili powder, a little goes a long way, begin with a smaller amount if unsure of spice tolerance.
- Fenugreek — we use dried fenugreek (kasuri methi) leaves.
- Turmeric — ground turmeric powder
- Salt — Himalayan pink salt, ground
- Oil — avocado oil is good for frying, due to its high smoke point, although you can sub other oils.
What is Rajma Capsicum?
Rajma means kidney beans in Hindi. In Hindi, capsicum means peppers, and usually refers to bell peppers. Together, they combine for capsicum rajma curry, a spicy kidney bean and bell pepper dish.
Health Benefits of Capsicum Rajma Curry
Rajma (kidney beans) is a dish full of fiber, antioxidants and phytonutrients. Rajma is low in fat, and a plant based protein source.
Kidney bean curry includes minerals, phosphorus, manganese, iron and potassium.
How to Make Rajma Curry with Bell Peppers
STEP 1: Heat Oil and Sauté Seeds and Chilis
Heat oil in Instant Pot sauté mode. When hot, add cumin seeds, black mustard seeds and sliced green chilis. Keep in mind the green chilis add a lot of heat, so if you are unsure, begin with one to two chilis. Three chilis will make the dish quite spicy.
STEP 2: Add Onions, Garlic and Ginger
Add aromatics, garlic, onion and ginger and continue to stir fry for a few minutes.
STEP 3: Add Tomatoes and Spices
Next, you’ll add diced tomatoes and all of the spices. Mix well to thoroughly combine.
STEP 4: Add Water
Pour in filtered water and allow to simmer in sauté mode for a few minutes.
STEP 5: Add Kidney Beans, Bell Peppers, Bay Leaf & Fenugreek
Go ahead and add in the canned (or presoaked, precooked) kidney beans. Place the diced bell peppers into the Instant Pot as well as the Indian style bay leaf and dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi). Give everything a good mix.
STEP 6: Place Tomato Paste On Top
Place canned tomato paste on top of the mixture (do not stir!). We don’t stir in the tomato paste because we don’t want to risk any getting stuck to the bottom of the Instant Pot and signaling a burn message.
STEP 7: Cook Rajma
Securely fasten Instant Pot lid and set timer to 5 minutes on HIGH pressure. Quick release when the cycle is completed.
When the pressure is released and the pressure pin has completely dropped, open the lid and stir the rajma so that all of the tomato paste is mixed in.
Optionally, you can add an eighth cup of coconut milk for a creamier gravy. This also helps to tone the spice down a little if necessary.
What to Serve with Instant Pot Capsicum Rajma Curry
- Instant Pot Basmati Rice
- Easy Cucumber Raita or Lemon Dill Raita (skip or make it vegan raita, if desired)
- Skillet Shrimp Tikka Masala
- Bhindi Masala Okra Curry
- Instant Pot Chana Masala Chickpeas Stew
Preparation and Storage Tips
Store rajma capsicum curry, covered, in the refrigerator for up to three days.
You can freeze capsicum rajma curry in a freezer safe container or freezer safe Ziplock bag, tightly sealed with the air pushed out, for up to three months.
More Instant Pot Curries
- Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken)
- Mango Chicken Curry
- Aloo Gobi (shown below)
- Fenugreek Chicken (Methi Murgh)
- Chana Dal with Spinach
- Masoor Dal Sambar with Okra
- Eggplant with Bell Peppers – Bell Pepper Bharta
- Potato Masala with Beets
- Radish Sambar
- Lemon Artichoke Sambar
You’ll Also Love
Instant Pot Capsicum Rajma Curry
- 1 tablespoon Avocado Oil
- ½ teaspoon Cumin Seeds
- ½ teaspoon Mustard Seeds
- 3 Green Chilis, 1-3 chilis, depending on spice tolerance
- 1 cup Red Onion, diced
- 3 cloves Garlic
- 1 inch Ginger, fresh, minced
- 2 Tomatoes, diced
- 2 tablespoons Rajma Masala, or Garam Masala
- 1 teaspoon Turmeric
- 1 teaspoon Salt, Himalayan pink
- ½ teaspoon Chili Powder, Kashmiri chili, use less for milder
- 38 ounces Kidney Beans, 2 cans, drained
- 2 Bell Peppers, any color, diced
- 1 Cup Water, filtered water is best
- 1 tablespoon Fenugreek Leaves, dried, kasoori methi
- 12 Curry Leaves, optional
- 1 Bay Leaf, Indian bay leaf
- ¼ cup Tomato Paste
- ⅛ cup Coconut Milk, optional
- Press sauté on Instant Pot. Add avocado oil. When hot, add cumin seeds, mustard seeds, and green chilies. Sauté for a minute or two.
- Add diced onions and minced garlic and ginger. Sauté and stir for a minute or two.
- Add tomatoes and spices (turmeric, chili powder, rajma masala and salt) and stir well.
- Pour in the filtered water and let simmer for a few minutes.
- Add in the contents of the drained and rinsed cans of kidney beans, chopped bell peppers, bay leaf and fenugreek leaves. Stir well.
- Place the tomato paste on top (do not stir).
- Securely fasten Instant Pot lid and set timer to 5 minutes on HIGH pressure. Quick release when the cycle is completed. When the pressure is released and it is safe to do so, open the lid and give the pot a good stir. Optionally, you can add an eighth cup of cream or coconut milk for a creamier gravy. This helps to tone the spice down a little if necessary.
- Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and additional minced fresh ginger. Serve with basmati rice and raita.
The above nutritional values are estimates and should only be used as a guide. If you are following a specific diet or have dietary restrictions, please use your preferred nutritional calculator. If you have a food allergy please ensure that none of the listed ingredients are part of your restrictions. As well, always use a food thermometer to ensure safe cooking temperature of the food items.