The kidney bean is a variety of the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris). It is named for its visual resemblance in shape and colour to a kidney. Red kidney beans should not be confused with other red beans, such as adzuki beans.
Red kidney beans are commonly used in chili con carne and are an integral part of the cuisine in northern regions of India, where the beans are known as rajma and are used in a dish of the same name. Red kidney beans are used in New Orleans and much of southern Louisiana for the classic Monday Creole dish of red beans and rice. The smaller, darker red beans are also used, particularly in Louisiana families with a recent Caribbean heritage. Small kidney beans used in La Rioja, Spain, are called caparrones. In the Netherlands and Indonesia, kidney beans are usually served as soup called brenebon. In the Levant a common dish consisting of kidney bean stew usually served with rice is known as fasoulia. To make bean paste, kidney beans are generally prepared from dried beans and boiling until they are soft, at which point the dark red beans are pulverized into a dry paste.