Veggie Chili – Indian Style!

I am thrilled to introduce you all to Natasha, a sweet Mom I met on Instagram last year! Her lovely page @bytesofyum is a mix of delicious dishes, and I always leave hungry. 🙂 She will share awesome recipes with us every month! Yay! Go grab a cup of tea, and your notebook. You’ll definitely want to try making this dish!

Natasha Sisodiya – Live In Color Blog , Contributing Food Writer

This month I’m sharing my recipe for rajma, which is a North Indian vegetarian dish consisting of kidney beans simmered in a spiced tomato-onion broth. My version tends to be more soupy and not as spice heavy as the traditional recipe.

This is one of my favorite Indian comfort foods, and the bonus is it’s simple to prepare, and kids love it also. I guess you could call this the “Indian” vegetarian version of chili. For my friends that need meat at their meal, do not fret, add some ground meat to the dish and you’ve got a meaty-meal.

I absolutely love cooking with aromatic spices. Growing up in an Indian household, we literally ate Indian food every day for dinner. The majority of Indian dishes involve tempering the spices in ghee, oil or butter until they become fragrant and crackle. The resulting smell is just divine and evokes many fond memories for me.

All of the spices in this recipe with the exception of the amchur (mango) powder should be available at your local grocery store. If you are unable to find some of the ingredients and you have an Indian grocery store in your area, head on over there.  The amchur power is not necessary for this recipe so if you can’t find it, all good.

Photo Credit: Natasha
Photo Credit: Natasha Sisodiya

For this recipe, I’m using organic canned kidney beans since I’m usually short on time due to my lovely little angels and that so called thing called life. If you’ve got the spare time, I recommend using the dried version but ensure you soak properly to eliminate toxins.
I add the liquid from the canned kidney bean cans in this recipe since I feel that it adds a certain kind of richness to the dish but feel free to rinse and drain. I go back and forth on this one.

Photo Credit: Natasha Sisodiya

I prefer to use fresh tomatoes but you can use the boxed or canned version also and if you don’t like tomato chunks in your food, just puree before adding. If I don’t have fresh garlic on hand, I just use the jar version. Do what works for you!

Photo Credit: Natasha Sisodiya

When heating the spices, ensure that you cook till they become fragrant, it makes a big difference in flavor. Also make sure you do the same with the onions, they should be translucent and slightly browned before you move forward.

I tend to use medium to medium high heat for my cooking since my stove is a bit crazy on high heat.  All stoves are different, so you may need to adjust the heat accordingly.

Photo Credit: Natasha Sisodiya

Once the spices have simmered in the tomato-onion broth, I taste and adjust the spices accordingly. This is the time to experiment and tailor the dish to your tastes.

Please note that my recipe calls for dried red chili, chili powder and green chili. This maybe a bit spicy for some and not so spicy for others so adjust the heat to your liking. Also, if you find that the gravy is too thick for you, add more water and adjust spices accordingly.

Photo Credit: Natasha Sisodiya

Usually, I serve this dish with basmati rice or naan (Indian flat bread) for the family. If I’m feeling creative, I pair it with polenta cakes or corn muffins. Me, I just eat it on it’s own. Hope you all enjoy!

Photo Credit: Natasha Sisodiya


Rajma (Spiced Kidney Bean Soup)

Gluten free | Vegan option with no chicken broth

Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 60 mins

Total Time: 75 mins

Servings: 4-6


2 15.25 oz cans kidney beans

3 cups thinly sliced yellow onion

4 cups chopped tomato

2 tbsp tomato paste

2 tbsp ghee or butter

2 tbsp olive oil

3 cups water or chicken broth

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 cinnamon stick

1 bay leaf

2 tsp cumin seeds

3 dried red chilis

¼ tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp chili powder

1 tbsp cumin powder

1 tbsp coriander powder

1 tsp ginger powder

1 tsp amchur(mango) powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp lemon juice

1 green chili finely chopped

Handful of chopped cilantro


  1. Add butter and oil to pot and heat on medium high heat.
  1. Once butter is melted, add the cinnamon stick, bay leaf, cumin seeds and dried red chili.  Stir and cook for 5 minutes or until cumin is lightly browned and spices are fragrant.
  1. Add onions and sauté for approximately 7-10 minutes or until onions are translucent and slightly browned.
  1. Add garlic and mix well and sauté for 3-5 minutes on medium heat ensuring garlic does not burn.
  1. Add tomatoes and cook for approximately 10 minutes or till they are softened.
  1. Add water or chicken broth and tomato paste and simmer for 10 minutes.
  1. Add turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, ginger powder, amchur powder, chili powder, green chili, lemon juice and salt. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  1. Add kidney beans with liquid from the can and simmer for 30 minutes on medium low heat. Towards the end of cooking time, add the chopped cilantro and mix well.
  2. Garnish with cilantro and lemon wedges when ready to serve.
Natasha Sisodiya

2 Replies to “Veggie Chili – Indian Style!”

  1. I love that the blog has expanded into food recipes. This meal looks delicious. Unfortunately, I have discovered that cumin upsets my stomach so I hope I could make this without the cumin. But fabulous job with this post.

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