Store cupboard essentials Indian Cooking Ingredients

Red Kidney Beans (Raajma)

Red Kidney Beans (Raajma)

Using Red Kidney Beans (Raajma) in Indian Cooking

These are the most common type of pulse and they are given their name because of their shape and colour which resembles a kidney. The kidney bean has a wonderful warming reddish brown colour with a creamy flesh. There are a number of different varieties from the white one known as the cannellini bean as well as a few different speckled types.

The beans are usually purchased dried or pre-cooked in tins and the beans are used in dishes such as chilli con carne as well as being an integral part of Indian cuisine particularly in the dish called Raajma. The classic Creole dish of 'rice and peas' uses kidney beans as the peas where they are known as red peas.


Kidney beans have an inherent toxin in them which can cause nausea and sickness so it is very important to cook them thoroughly. The dried beans should be soaked overnight and then heated to boiling point for at least 10 minutes. The food standards agency recommends that the beans are boiled for 30 minutes. Both the temperature and cooking time are important as if you slow cook at a lower temperature there is a risk that the toxin levels will actually increase. Tins beans just need draining and heating.

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