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Top down shot of spiced vegetarian chili in a white bowl
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4.8 from 5 votes

Rajma Masala (or Indian Spiced Chili)

This Rajma Masala (or Indian Spiced Vegetarian Chili) is thick and creamy: simmered in a rich tomato sauce with onions, garlic and ginger. It's easy to make, healthy, vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free, but so satisfying that it will please everyone at your dinner table!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 197kcal
Author: Anjali Shah


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small red onion diced
  • 2 green bell peppers diced
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 tomatoes diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Garam Masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes or to taste
  • 3 cups drained kidney beans (2, 15oz cans)
  • 1 teaspoon salt or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice or to taste
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste


  • In a large saucepan set over medium heat, add the oil, onions and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, tomatoes, gingerroot, cumin seeds, Garam Masala, lemon pepper, and dried red pepper flakes
  • Simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
  • Add the beans and salt and pepper to taste, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes more.
  • To achieve a thicker curry, you can mash some of the kidney beans with a potato masher and simmer on low heat for another 5 minutes, uncovered. Stir in the lemon juice and cilantro, and let it heat through for 1-2 more minutes.
  • Serve warm with a sprouted wheat tortilla or naan on the side. Or serve with brown rice or quinoa.


Top tips for making Rajma Masala
  • If you use dried kidney beans, soak them for at least 5-6 hours (ideally overnight) before cooking.
  • Cook the beans until they are well done. They should be slightly mushy in texture but still retain their shape (this will help for mashing the beans if you choose to - see the next point below :) ).
  • For a thicker curry, mash the beans before adding in the lemon juice/cilantro and let it simmer for an extra 5-10 minutes uncovered on low.
  • Like most curries, this recipe actually tastes even better the next day! So if you're making it for a large group - I'd recommend making it the night before and refrigerating it before heating and serving the next day.
  • You can make a batch of this and freeze it - let the chili come back to room temperature after cooking and place in a freezer safe container. Defrost fully before reheating in the stove.
  • This dish is a great way to use up any extra veggies you have in the fridge - just dice them up small and throw them in the pot. Spinach stirred in at the end of cooking would also be tasty!


Calories: 197kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 4g | Sodium: 304mg | Potassium: 779mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1190IU | Vitamin C: 52mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 3.6mg