If you assume that this is just another ordinary red kidney bean curry recipe, then you are so wrong! Vegan Afghan Lubya is robustly flavoured with dried mint and black pepper to create a delicious curry that is unique in taste. This one-pot meal is ready in the Instant Pot using dried red kidney beans.

Afghan style red kidney bean curry served in a white bowl and garnished with fresh green coriander and chopped red onion

Afghan Lubya/Lubia

I first came across Afghan Red Kidney Beans through one of my work friends whose Mum often makes Afghani food.

I loved the idea of adding dried mint to red kidney beans after I used it in our Instant Pot Cypriot Stuffed Peppers so I had to give it a try myself! Sadly, I only had dried red kidney beans and I didn't want to wait overnight to soak them so I made the whole recipe in my Instant Pot.

Red kidney bean stew in the thick tomato sauce, flavoured with mint and black pepper.

The recipe uses ingredients similar to Rajma Masala but the list is not as extensive. I have not used turmeric, garam masala or fresh green chillies. Nor whole spices.

Delicious curry served in a bowl

Why you'll love this curry

✔️Easy vegan gluten-free recipe

✔️Rich, flavourful but low in fat

✔️Crowd pleaser, hearty and filling

✔️Uses basic pantry ingredients 

✔️Can be made on stovetop pressure cooker and pan


Ingredients for afghan lubiya curry

Red Kidney Beans - dried red kidney beans. You do not need to pre-soak the kidney beans for this recipe. However, if you do, then reduce the pressure cooking time accordingly. We have soaked dried kidney beans for around 1 hour in hot water before using.

Onion - minced or pureed onion. You can use red or white

Garlic - minced garlic.

Tomato - crushed tomatoes or passata works well. To extract the best flavour, first, cook the onion and garlic really well then add the tomatoes and allow the tomatoes to cook until the mixture reduces. Then add the ground spices.

Red Chilli Powder

Ground cumin and coriander

Cumin seeds

Dried Mint - the mint sets this dish apart from Indian/Pakistani style Rajma. Use dried mint rather than fresh

Black Pepper - optional. I have made this recipe both with and without black pepper and both ways taste really good.

Can I use tinned red kidney beans?

Yes, make sure to reduce the cooking time drastically. 

Can I use a stovetop pressure cooker?

Definitely yes!

Also, you can make this curry in a normal pan over a stovetop.

If you don't have already boiled or tinned kidney beans on hand, first soak the dried kidney beans overnight or at least 8 hours. 

In the morning discard the water, add new water and cook the beans on the stove until well done (it may take up to 50-55 minutes)

In another pan heat oil and add cumin seeds.

Once they crackle add the onion-garlic puree and cook until light brown.

Add tomato puree or passata and cook further for 3-4 minutes or until oil is visible on the surface.

Then add all the spices powders and mix well.

Now add cooked-boiled kidney beans with water, add salt.

Cook the curry without lid for 8-10 minutes.

Turn the heat off, add dried mint and mix well.

Serve hot. 


Instant pot

Extra Tips

I have used dried red kidney beans that are thoroughly washed under clean running water and soaked for 1 hour before adding, but you can pre-soak these beans for at least 8 hours or overnight in plenty of water and make sure to reduce the cooking time. 

Make sure you cook the onion-garlic mixture so well on low heat before moving on the next step. 

Do not skip dried mint, but do not use fresh mint either.

This recipe is NOT very spicy, if you prefer spicier, add extra red chilli powder or garam masala. 

What to serve with Afghan Kidney Bean Curry?

It goes wonderfully served with Basmati rice dishes (Lubia Challow) such as Instant Pot Coconut, Coriander and Lime Rice, or Pilau Rice Takeaway Style topped with finely chopped red onion and freshly chopped coriander. 

You can be scooping up using middle eastern style flatbreads such as taboon or khubz flat bread..sounds so delicious right!


You can easily store this curry. Simply allow to cool and either keep in the fridge for up to 4/5 days or freeze.

Allow to defrost naturally before heating on the stove.

If you are looking for more vegan and gluten-free recipes try my cauliflower mash or vegan coconut pineapple thai fried rice or masala chips 

How to make Afghan Red Kidney Beans

Follow this step by step instructions for this recipe, full ingredients list and measurements in the recipe card below.

Press SAUTE mode on Instant Pot panel and heat oil in the stainless steel pan.

Add cumin seeds and let it crackle.

Now add the onion-garlic puree and saute until all the moisture evaporates and the mixture cooks well, keep deglazing the pot. (It may take good 10-12 minutes)

Then add passata or tomato puree and cook until oil separates the pan or visible on the surface. 

Now add all the spice powders and mix well.

Tip in washed red kidney beans and give it a good mix.

Add enough water to cook the beans.

Add Salt and cancel the SAUTE mode. Close the lid and cook position the valve on sealing side. Cook on HIGH PRESSURE for 50 minutes.

Once done 15 minutes NPR release the pressure manually. Add dried mint and mix. 

served in two bowls

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red kidney bean curry, afghan lubiya, vegetarian curry, vegan and glutenfree recipe
Mains, Sides
Yield: 4-6 SERVINGS
Author: Hayley Dhanecha


This easy, delicious and filling Instant Pot Afghan Lubiya/Lubya curry prepared with red kidney beans in tomato and mint sauce.
Prep time: 5 MinCook time: 55 Mininactive time: 15 MinTotal time: 1 H & 15 M


  • 250g dry red kidney beans - 1 1/2 cup
  • 4-5 tbsp. oil
  • 1 big onion
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup tomato puree or passata
  • 3-4 tbsp. dried mint 
  • 1 tbsp. red chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp. ground cumin and coriander 
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper - optional
  • Salt to taste
  • 500ml - 2 cups of water


  1. Wash the beans thoroughly under the running water.
  2. Make onion and garlic puree or mince it.
  3. Arrange the inner pot in the instant pot then select saute mode. 
  4. Heat oil, add cumin seeds and let it crackle. 
  5. Add onion and garlic and saute until nice and pink.
  6. Then add tomato puree or passata and let it cook until oil is visible on the surface.
  7. Add all the spices and cook further for 1 minute.
  8. Now add washed red kidney beans, water and salt mix well. 
  9. Cancel SAUTE mode.
  10. Close the lid, position the valve on sealing point and choose HIGH PRESSURE for 55 minutes. 
  11. After 15 minutes NPR, release the remaining pressure manually.
  12. Check the beans, add dried mint and mix well.
  13. Serve hot.


Passata is an uncooked tomato puree that has been strained of seeds and skin, easily available in any groceries. Instead of passata, you can use finely chopped tomatoes too. Instead of water, you may use low sodium vegetable stock. If using soaked beans cook for 30 minutes, for canned beans 8 minutes.



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The nutritional information provided is an approximation calculated by an online calculator. Please consult a professional dietitian for nutritional advice.
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  1. This meal is so hearty and FULL of flavor, it's becoming one of my new favorite ways to make beans.

  2. This curry was so delicious! The Instant Pot definitely made it convenient, and it was so full of flavor. It's such a cozy dish -- can't wait to make it again!

  3. Oh my! I am drooling over here. This curry looks so simple and delicious..I've never had a kidney bean curry before. Your site has so many beautiful vegan curries on it. I'm ready to explore!

  4. What a nice treat for beans that have great flavor and are something besides mexican. Loved the spice blend...and the mint was just perfect. We ate this with cauli-rice and it was so satisfying and delish.

  5. This looks absolutely delicious! I can't wait to give this a try, my family is going to love it.

  6. Love kidney beans. Love the flavors in this recipe. Looks so delicious and creamy. Thanks for sharing

  7. I never had Afghani food and this stew sounds like a great place to start! It looks so tempting and thanks for the detailed instructions and photos!

  8. This is what I call healthy comfort food and nothing beats that! Such a delicious soup and perfect for the colder your photos!

  9. This looks so good! I've never had anything like this before. The addition of dried mint is intriguing, I can't wait to try this!

  10. There’s no amount of water listed in the ingredients. Thank you

    1. We have shown in the video, 2 cups of water, will update the recipe card. Thank you!

  11. Hi Hayley, Any suggestions for cooking times if doing in a standard pot (don't have a pressure cooker) on the stove? Mark

    1. Thank you Mark for stopping by. Yes, of course you can make this curry in a regular pan too. If you are using already cooked kidney beans or canned ones maximum cooking will be less than 12-15 minutes. If using just soaked red kidney beans it can take up to 1 1/2 hour or more. Hope this helps. Let us know how you get on and please do share your feedback and dish pictures with us.


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