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Instant Pot

Indian Spiced Kidney Bean Stew

4-6 Servings

FAST: 1½ hours
Slow: 7½ to 8 hours 25 minutes active

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This is our version of the aromatic kidney bean curry called rajma. We season the dish with two spice blends—garam masala and curry powder—along with a good dose of cumin to add earthy notes, so its flavor is complex and robust. Blooming the spices in the oil brings depth and fullness to the dish. You can offer the stew as a part of an Indian meal, but they’re hearty enough to be a vegetarian main. If you like, garnish with plain yogurt and serve basmati rice or warmed naan alongside.

4-6

Servings

Tip

Don't adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper until after the bean mixture has simmered for 5 to 8 minutes to reduce and thicken. If seasoned before simmering, the beans may wind up too salty, as the seasonings become more concentrated with reduction.

FAST: 1½ hours
Slow: 7½ to 8 hours

25 minutes active

Ingredients

  • cups (1 pound) dried red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Directions

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Reviews
Justin A.
January 21, 2023
Good Recipe!
This one is a winner and a winter time favorite. I was skeptical about the Instant Pot being able to mimic an overnight soak of the beans but shocking to me, it worked. My only enhancement was to brown a pound of ground beef in separate frying pan towards the end of the Instant Pot pressure release and add it to mixture during the final 10 minutes of cooking/releasing. The beef was able absorb a lot of the flavors in the stew and made it even heartier. Good job on this recipe Milk Street!
Clifford V.

is there a recipe to just do it "normal" and not in an instapot? Thanks!

Janelle C.

We’re so glad you're exploring our recipes. When we developed the recipes for our Instant Pot book, Fast and Slow, we offered pressure cooker and slow cooker instructions for every recipe that worked well cooked either way. Recipes that have only one set of instructions did not produce good results when prepared with the alternative method. And unfortunately, it’s not possible for us to reverse engineer Instant Pot recipes for stovetop cooking. But the good news is that many of them were inspired by recipes we’d already prepared for conventional cooking methods. If you check our website, you might find what you are looking for.

Best,
The Milk Street Team

Rachel S.

I was able to use this recipe and I got great results. I used canned kidney beans (I didn't want to eat at 10 pm). I was eating by myself so I halved the ingredients, and it turned out to be amazing. I will definitely put this into the mix now that it's a quick go to. I will probably try it in my multicooker next time with dry beans. Thanks again; y'all are the best. Rachel, North Carolina

Rachel S.

I was able to use this recipe and I got great results. I used canned kidney beans (I didn't want to eat at 10 pm). I was eating by myself so I halved the ingredients, and it turned out to be amazing. I will definitely put this into the mix now that it's a quick go to. I will probably try it in my multicooker next time with dry beans. Thanks again; y'all are the best. Rachel, North Carolina

Meredith Ray C.

I wish I had used canned beans! My beans were mostly undercooked - at least unevenly cooked. So I'll add more liquid and this was too clove-forward for my taste. I will reduce garam masala from 2 to 1 TBL if I try it again. I love this concept but sadly I'm not having much luck with this cookbook. I might have to start the "HOW TO SAVE DINNER WHEN COOKING FROM MILK STREET FAST AND SLOW" community :)

steven s.

Followed the directions for the slow cook. When the beans came out of the 5 minute pressure cook, they were still very hard (too hard to bite). Since the recipe didn’t comment on the bean texture at this step, I assumed this was correct. Went ahead and continued the slow cook for 7 hours. Beans were still crunchy and inedible.
What a waste of a full day of cooking.

April D.

Steven - you are not wrong that the beans will still be firm after the 5 minutes under pressure, but they shouldn't be so hard that you couldn't bite through them. Even beans that were quite hard at that stage should still have softened up over 7 hours of stewing. This leads me to ask: how old were the beans you were cooking with? Did they have visible wrinkles on their surface? It is possible that your beans were so dry and hardened that they would need an overnight soak in water (and baking soda, which facilitates plumping / hydration of beans) in order to be ready for this stew. If you give this recipe another go with the same batch of dry beans, try the overnight soak and then proceed with the stewing step.

Best,
The Milk Street Team

steven s.

They were a bag of dried bean purchased the day before at the supermarket. I can't say how long they were on the shelf, but they didn't seem unusual. Seems like Meredith Ray C, who commented above, had the same issue.

steven s.

They were a bag of dried bean purchased the day before at the supermarket. I can't say how long they were on the shelf, but they didn't seem unusual. Seems like Meredith Ray C, who commented above, had the same issue.

Carmine G.

I'm curious: Why the first step of partially cooking the beans and then draining them? Why not, like your Moroccan chickpea recipe, just pressure cook all of it together at the same time?

Lynn C.

Hi Carmine -

Using the Instant Pot means we don't soak beans overnight, which is our general practice when working with dried beans. Some legumes - think lentils and black beans - can go in the pot dry, no pretreatment required. Others, like kidney beans and certain types of white beans, do require extra attention. To make sure they are fully cooked, we give thicker-skinned beans five minutes in the pressure cooker then drain and rinse them before using. I'm not 100% sure which Moroccan chickpea recipe you are referring to. If it's the Moroccan Beef or Lamb Soup with Chickpeas and Lentils, that recipe calls for canned chickpeas, which are added after pressure cooking. All other recipes calling for chickpeas from our Instant Pot book are either canned and added at the end, pre-cooked and rinsed before using in the recipe, or call for our Simple Chickpeas, which is our basic dried chickpea recipe for the Instant Pot (which calls for pre-cooking the beans for 5 minutes before pressure cooking for 20). Hope that helps!

Best,
The Milk Street Team

Jennifer H.

I substituted a pound of canned pinto beans for the dry kidney beans. Followed the recipe regarding spices and salt. Cooked in Dutch oven on stove top. Brought beans and tomatoes to a simmer then turned down to low for 20 min. Added a whole habanero to the stew (kept it whole so it wasn’t too spicy, just a soft warmth) took out the habanero and served with cilantro and a dollop of Greek yogurt on top. Had naan bread as a side. This was a delicious vegetarian meal.