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Navratri Special – No Onion, No Garlic, Delicious Rajma


I can’t believe I am going to say this – Rajma (Kidney Bean curry) recipe doesn’t even need garlic and onion. Literally. This recipe will make you forget that it doesn’t have these two special Indian curry ingredients. This is just perfect for the Navratri season. Also, if you are someone who doesn’t eat onion and garlic, this recipe is for you. You won’t be able to resist licking the plate.

Story Time

Jatin loves Rajma with rice a lot. It is one of his all-time favorite recipes. There is a particular kind of taste that he needs in his Rajma. It was a struggle for me to get that right taste for him. And when I decided to alter that perfectly set recipe and make it without onion and garlic, I thought that he won’t like it as much. Even I had my doubts because onion and garlic are two very important ingredients for Indian curry recipes. They add such a delicious flavor to the recipes that not adding them doesn’t feel right. I literally used to say that Rajma can not be made tasty without onion and garlic. But, I was absolutely wrong.

When I made this recipe, Jatin and I were surprised by the taste. We couldn’t even tell that it doesn’t have onion and garlic. We were literally talking that we don’t need these two ingredients for this recipe. It was like an eye-opener for us. It was extremely delicious, has that nice tangy and sweet flavor, and was thick enough to be enjoyed with rice. I even could not resist licking the utensil in which I made it. It was damn tasty and I am still craving it while writing this blog.


  1. Soaking Rajma: I always prefer to wash the kidney beans/rajma first and then soak it overnight. If you soak it first and then wash it, the red color of rajma also washes out. Hence, wash it well 2-3 times with water and then soak (with 3 inches higher water) overnight or for at least 6-8 hrs. If you don’t have much time, soak it in hot water for at least 1 hour.
  2. Boiling Rajma: The rajma should be boiled perfectly. It should be soft enough that you can easily press it with your fingers. The water level is very important while boiling. If the water is not enough, the skin of rajma will come off and it will become mushy and won’t look good. Keep the water level at least 2-3 inches above the level of Rajma.
  3. Gravy Color: To get a nice red color gravy, add red chili powder and turmeric powder (haldi) with tomato puree itself. It cooks for a long time and gives a very nice color to the gravy.
  4. Gravy Consistency: The gravy thickens as it cools down. Hence, keep the consistency depending on when are you going to eat it.


  1. Tomato Puree: If you don’t have a grinder, you can also grate the tomatoes using a grater or simply chop them absolutely fine. The gravy will turn out just nice. Also, use soft and ripe tomatoes.
  2. Kidney Beans or Rajma: You can even use canned rajma but make sure they don’t have sugar added to it. It makes the rajma quite sweet. If you do not prefer canned food in Navratri, use the packed ones as I used in this recipe.

By the way, you should also check out our authentic Punjabi Rajma recipe too.

Rajma Chawal
Punjabi Rajma

What food items are allowed (or not) in Navratri?

There are two main food items that are not consumed during the Navratri season – onion and garlic. They are considered Tamsik in nature and hence to be avoided. If you are fasting then consuming lentils, grains, any grain flour like whole wheat flour, besan (gram flour), or all-purpose flour, salt, canned food, and the food prepared using onion and garlic are not allowed. Non-vegetarian food items including eggs are also not allowed. Devotees also prefer not to smoke or drink alcohol during these nine days.

Apart from that, you can consume dairy products like curd, milk, paneer, vegetables like potato, tomato, arbi, cucumber, carrot, bottle gourd, eggplant, etc. You can even consume coconut, nuts, and seeds. Spices like turmeric powder, red chili powder, cardamom, ajwain, etc. are also allowed.

Moreover, everybody has their own beliefs and follows their own rules. In my opinion, there is nothing right or wrong, allowed or not allowed. You can simply follow what you want. When I was in the hostel, we used to have food prepared with onion and garlic. That is what has been served to us. So, alter the recipe below as per what you eat during the Navratri season.

What grains (or pseudo-grains) can be consumed during Navratri?

Following grains or their flour can be consumed during Navratri fasting season:

  1. Buckwheat or Buckwheat Flour (kuttu ka aata)
  2. Amaranth (Rajgira)
  3. Quinoa
  4. Water Chestnut Flour (singhade ka aata)
  5. Samai (samak ke chawal)

Is this recipe Vegan?

Yes. All the ingredients used in this recipe are plant-based and vegan.

No Onion No Garlic Rajma

How to serve Rajma (Kidney Bean Curry)?

You can serve it with the following:

  1. Steamed Rice or Jeera Rice
  2. Chapati or Parathas
  3. Aloo Parathas
  4. Boiled dalia or quinoa.
  5. Salad – onion, cucumber, and pink radish

Can this recipe be refrigerated?

Yes. Of course. Refrigerate the leftover rajma and consume it within 2 days. It tastes even better the next day because all the flavors get infused with each other well. The next day, you can even enjoy it with some hot stuffed aloo parathas (stuffed potato flatbread). It tastes yummy.

More Navratri Recipes

  1. Quinoa Pulao
  2. Buckwheat Cheela (Kuttu ka cheela) – fasting recipe
  3. Beetroot Smoothie Bowl – fasting recipe

Now grab all the ingredients because you are ready to make this delicious and mouth-watering Indian curry – Rajma – at home. It is perfect for lunch or a weekend brunch recipe. Make a little extra so that the next day you can even prepare leftover kidney bean wraps.

If you try this recipe & like it too, please share the photo of your creation on Instagram and tag us @thefearlesscooking. We just love to see your recreation of our recipes.

Happy Cooking 🙂

Love from us



Navratri Special – No Onion, No Garlic, Delicious Rajma

Delicious. Vegan. Flavourful.



Prep Time

10 min

Cook Time

60 min

Rest Time

0 hour


  • 1.5 cup Kidney Beans (Rajma) soaked overnight
  • 4 cup Water to soak rajma
  • 3 Tomato (large)
  • A Big Piece of Ginger (around 3-Inch)
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1 tsp Red Chili Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tsp Coriander Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp Amchoor Powder
  • Fresh Coriander Leaves chopped, to garnish
  • 1 tbsp Cooking Oil or ghee


Boil Rajma

  1. In a pressure cooker, add soaked rajma with water in which it has been soaked, and 1 Tsp salt (or to taste). Add extra water if needed. The water level should be 2-3 inches above the level of rajma.
  2. Pressure cook till they are soft and completely cooked. It may take 25-30 minutes. Cook on high flame and after one whistle, let it cook further on low flame.
  3. Once cooked, switch off the flame and let it depressurize on its own.


  1. In a mixer-grinder, grind tomato and ginger until they form a puree. Add water if needed to grind well. 
  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan or kadhai. Add bay leaves and cumin seeds. Let them sizzle for around 15 seconds. 
  3. Add tomato and ginger puree as prepared along with the spices - red chili powder, turmeric powder, and coriander powder. Mix well and cook on medium flame until all the moisture is evaporated. It takes around 10 minutes. Keep stirring in between else it may burn.
  4. Add boiled rajma along with the water in which it was boiled, garam masala, sugar, and amchur powder. Mix well. Add 1/2 to 3/4 Cup water, if it looks very thick. 
    Adjust salt if needed.
  5. Cover and let it cook on medium-low flame till you get the desired consistency of the gravy. It may take around 20 minutes. Keep stirring in between.
  6. Once done, switch off the flame. Add chopped coriander. Mix well.
  7. Serve hot with rice or parathas. Enjoy.
frequently asked questions


Which Rajma is best to make Punjabi Rajma Recipe?

There are different kinds of kidney beans / rajma. You can use any of these two to make a delicious Punjabi Rajma:

  1. Red Kidney Beans – It gives a nice red color. Takes a little longer to cook.
  2. Chitra Rajma – This is light in color and has some spots on its surface. It tastes good and cooks faster than red kidney beans.

Some people like chitra rajma or some like red kidney beans. I mostly prefer red one because it makes a beautiful red colored gravy which I love.

Can I eat Rajma at night?

Although Rajma is rich in proteins and fibers and very healthy to eat. But it may upset your stomach if you consume it for dinner. If you have digestion problems, avoid eating it over dinner.

How to boil or cook rajma perfectly?

Wash and soak rajma overnight or at least for 6-8 hrs. If you don’t have time, soak it in hot boiling water for 1 hour. Add the soaked rajma in a pressure cooker along with water. Make sure the level of water is 2-3 inches above the rajma level. Cook on high flame and after one whistle, lower the flame and cook it further for 15-20 minutes. Overall time to cook rajma completely is around 25-30 minutes. Time may vary depending on the type of Rajma used.

What are the different ways to cook rajma or kidney beans?

Before cooking rajma, always wash and soak them first for at least 6 to 8 hours, if not overnight. Then use any of the following methods to soften them completely:

  1. Pressure Cooker: Add the soaked rajma in a pressure cooker along with water. Make sure the level of water is 2-3 inches above the rajma level. Cook on high flame and after one whistle, lower the flame and cook it further for 15-20 minutes. Overall time to cook rajma completely is around 25-30 minutes. Time may vary depending on the type of Rajma used.
  2. Pan: This method takes a lot of time to soften rajma. But if you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can surely try this. Make sure to cover the lid of the pan. It fastens the cooking process. You can also add baking soda. It softens the rajma well. Keep stirring and checking in between. After cooking on medium-low flame for around 30-40 minutes, take a bean and press it between your fingers. If it gets mushy, your rajma is well cooked.
  3. Instant Pot: This method is quite easy. Add all the ingredients in the pot. Close the lid. Press the button for bean/chili. It takes 30 minutes to cook.

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