Indian Spiced Vegetarian Chili – Rajma

Indian Spiced Vegetarian Chili - This is Rajma!

Indian Spiced Vegetarian Chili – Rajma!

A while back I was looking for a vegetarian chili recipe and stumbled upon Padma Lakshmi’s, Rajma recipe.  I tried it and loved it!  Love Padma too, big Top Chef fans over here.  This also happens to be the first recipe I made when I decided I was committed to starting a food blog; so I took lots of pictures in my poorly lit kitchen, and got to work, loving each step of the way (even the pictures). This recipe is equally special to me because I am fortunate enough to be using the garam masala and turmeric straight from India.  A longtime family friend, and once neighbor to my grandmother, brought some spices back from his trip.  I am lucky, and thankful, to reap the benefits of his long journey. Thank you, Tom.

Rajma is one of my go-to’s when I want something quick, healthy, and meat free (and one I almost always have all the ingredients on-hand).  I’ve added turmeric to this dish for it’s wonderful health benefits, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, just to name a couple.  I like to serve the Rajma over jasmine rice and accompanied by a piece of naan bread.  If you are looking for a delicious bean dish that is packed with flavor, your search is over…

this is, Rajma:


Indian Spiced Vegetarian Chili – Rajma

  • 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • 1 small or medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes (or 4 ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger, or 1 teaspoon ground
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Garam Masala
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 15 ounce can of red kidney beans
  • Juice of 1/2 of a lemon
  • fresh chopped cilantro for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste

Time to Cook:

In a large sauce pan or dutch oven, heat oil on medium-high heat.  When oil is hot add onion and pepper, and sprinkle with salt (about 1/2 teaspoon) and pepper (1/4 teaspoon), sauté 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Add garlic, tomatoes (reserve can with 1/2 cup of water), ginger, cumin seeds, Garam Masala, turmeric, and red pepper flakes.  Let simmer for 10 minutes or so.

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Add kidney beans, lemon juice, and 1/2 cup of water (from tomato can, if using), let cook another 5 minutes.

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Adjust seasoning, add salt, pepper, and more lemon juice if needed.  Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve over rice, or with some naan, or both.  But most importantly, ENJOY!

Indian Spiced Vegetarian Chili - This is Rajma!

Indian Spiced Vegetarian Chili – This is Rajma!