Quick Indian Vegetarian Chili (Rajma Masala) Recipe

Quick Indian Vegetarian Chili (Rajma Masala) Recipe

I’ve been making this easy Indian vegetarian chili called rajma masala since my good friend, Hemangi, taught me how to make it in 2000.  It’s one of those recipes that I’ve made so often, I’m on auto-pilot; no need to look at the recipe.  I absolutely love Indian food.  I would eat it every day if I could, but some of my favorite dishes (chicken tikka masala, vegetable paneer, lamb korma, samosas….ok stop me now) are pretty decadent.  On the other hand, rajma masala, is loaded with hearty vegetables and super healthy.    I was lucky enough to have the staples for rajma (tomatoes, onion, and zucchini) from my On The Vine csa produce box from North Scottsdale Farmers Market.  One of the main spices in this dish is garam masala, which is a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, mace, peppercorns, coriander and cumin.  Hemangi’s mom sends her homemade garam masala from India, but if you don’t have an Indian mother, you can make your own or find some at the Asian market (my favorite is the Mekong Plaza in Mesa).

Another huge plus for making this recipe is that it is super quick.  We’re talking faster than my husband ordering a pizza quick.  Once you’ve chopped all the veggies, and put them in the pot, just wait for it to cook down, and allow the flavors to marry with the beans and spices.  Ok, so I didn’t make naan, but make a cheater version of it that Hemangi taught me by toasting tortillas with butter in a frying pan.  I sent the boys to the market so I could get started making dinner, and finished before they got back.  I actually got to sit down, watch a bit of the Walking Dead zombie apocalypse marathon (miss you, Shane), and eat my meal undisturbed.  It was a very surreal experience!

Both hubby and my 18 month old also loved the rajma masala, and agreed that it was a better meal than pizza.

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Quick Indian Vegetarian Chili (Rajma Masala) Recipe

By March 28, 2013

  • Prep Time : 10 minutes
  • Cook Time : 25 minutes
  • Yield : 4-6



  1. Bring a medium sized pot to medium heat, and drizzle with olive oil.  Add cumin and mustard seeds to the oil.
  2. When seeds start to make a popping noise, add onion and zucchini.  Allow to cook until tender; approximately five minutes.
  3. Add ginger, garlic, tomatoes, kidney beans, garam masala,  chili powder, salt and pepper.
  4. Allow to cook on medium low heat for 15 minutes until vegetables are tender, and come together.
  5. While cooking, bring frying pan to medium heat, and add a sliver of butter to pan before adding tortilla.
  6. Allow tortilla to crisp on one side, and turn over. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
  7. Remove rajma from stove, and add 2 tablespoons of cilantro to the rajma, and stir.
  8. Serve rajma on top of or on the side of the tortillas, and top with plain yogurt and cilantro.



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2 Responses to Quick Indian Vegetarian Chili (Rajma Masala) Recipe

  1. samantha May 2, 2013 at 5:55 pm #

    home made naan is easy. prep before you start chopping the veggies and cook as it simmers.
    2 packets of yeast
    1 cup 110F water
    2-4 teaspoons of butter melted
    1/4 cup sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2-3 cups flour (depends on mix i use 1/2 AP and 1/2 WW)

    mix water, butter and sugar. bloom yeast. add salt and flour to make a soft damp dough. let rise double.(
    if you have time make little balls and let rise again. but sometimes i don’t have time and tastes great with out the 2nd rise). heat large flat pan or skilet to high. no oil! pull off golf ball to tennis ball size peices of dough. flatten like a rough pizza and cook until golden brown on both sides (2-3 min each) i flip when the top looks dry like a pancake. keep warm under a tea towel until ready to eat!

    • Allyson May 2, 2013 at 10:14 pm #

      Thank you, Samantha! I will definitely have to give this a try!

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