Beans and Rice are a staple food in so many cultures around the world. It’s nutritious, it’s widely available, it’s inexpensive and above all- it’s hearty food which leaves you full and satisfied. In northern India, this popular rustic combination is called Rajma Chawal, where Rajma refers to any variety of kidney beans, and, Chawal means rice. This dish is very close to my heart- it represents my Punjabi roots and has countless childhood memories attached to it.
If I have time to plan ahead, I soak the dry kidney beans the night before. Then, I cook these rinsed and drained beans in a mildly spicy, tomato based curry, seasoned with warm Indian spices. Beans take around 45-50 minutes to cook on a stove-top, so I always pressure cook them, which cuts the cooking time in half. For weeknights, using canned kidney beans and crushed tomatoes in the same recipe, makes this comfort meal possible in 5-6 minutes of cooking time. In the same amount of time, you can cook white rice or quinoa.
Pot-in-Pot Cooking (PIP)
In this recipe, I have made the whole meal Pot-in-Pot (PIP), in my electric pressure cooker, Instant Pot. It’s a huge time and effort saver. Once you set your pot, you don’t have to worry about dinner anymore. I cooked the kidney beans curry in the main pot and brown rice in a smaller pot, placed on a trivet in the Instant Pot. When cooking the PIP way, it is important to combine things with similar cooking times, like:
- Dry Beans (Kidney/Red/Garbanzo) and Brown rice (25 minutes Manual/Pressure Cook, NPR)
- Goat Curry and Brown Rice (25 minutes Manual/Pressure Cook, NPR)
- Chicken Breast/Thighs and White Rice (6 minutes Manual/Pressure Cook, NPR 10)
- Fish and Vegetables (2 minutes Manual/Pressure Cook, QR)
- Beef Curry and Brown rice (25 minutes Manual/Pressure Cook, NPR)
- Fish and Quinoa (2 minutes Manual/Pressure Cook, QR)
- Quinoa and Vegetables (2 minutes Manual/Pressure Cook, QR)
- Eggs and Chicken Tenders/Cubes (5 minutes Manual/Pressure Cook, NPR 5)
These cooking times are based on my texture and cook level preference. You can adjust it to your taste and use this chart as a guideline.
This Pot-in-Pot technique can work in a stove-top pressure cooker like Hawkins Pressure Cooker too. Simply follow this recipe and start off on medium heat on your stove. Reduce heat to medium after first whistle, and cook for 20-22 minutes, depending on your stove’s heat capacity.
Kidney Beans and Brown Rice Pot-in-Pot ( Instant Pot Rajma Chawal)Print Recipe
- Kidney Beans Curry (Rajma)
- 1 cup Red Kidney Beans Dry (Rajma),soaked overnight, OR, 1 Can Kidney Beans
- 1 tablespoon Light Olive Oil or Ghee
- 1 teaspoon Cumin Seed
- 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste (1/2 inch ginger + 3 cloves garlic)
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2-3 green chillies, whole or de-seeded (Optional)
- 2 tomatoes, pureed, OR, 1 cup Crushed Tomatoes
- 2 teaspoon Garam Masala
- 2-3 teaspoon Coriander Powder
- 1 teaspoon Roasted Ground Cumin
- 1 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
- 1 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
- 1.5 cups water
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro for garnish
- Brown Rice:
- 1 cup Brown Basmati Rice or Brown Jasmine Rice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon Light Olive Oil or Ghee
- 1 cup +2 tablespoon water
Prep: If using dry kidney beans, rinse and soak them overnight. Drain them before use. Chop onions and crush ginger-garlic. You can do that by pulsing them together in a mini food processor. Puree tomatoes if using fresh.
Turn on SAUTE mode, adjust to more. Wait 30 seconds and add oil/ghee, cumin seeds and green chillies. When the cumin seeds begin to sizzle (a few seconds), add chopped onions and crushed ginger-garlic. Saute for 30 seconds. Add crushed tomatoes and all spices, saute for 30 seconds. Add drained kidney beans and water and stir.
Assemble rinsed brown rice, water, salt and oil/ghee in a small stainless steel or cooker safe bowl. Place trivet in inner pot, place rice bowl on top. Close lid, Valve set to sealing. Set Manual or Pressure Cook for 25 minutes, NPR (natural Pressure release).
Open lid after NPR, remove the rice. Garnish the Kidney Beans curry (Rajma) with chopped cilantro. Using a fork, fluff the rice in a bowl. You're done!