Sugar beans curry

This is a curry inspired by the classic Durban sugar beans curry. I have no idea how that is actually made, so I improvised (with some input from Zen – thanks). Any suggestions to improve the recipe will be greatly appreciated. I usually use a similar recipe for a butter beans curry, but use dhanya instead of curry leaves and tamarind.

For the best results, soak dried beans overnight and then boil, instead of using the canned variety. In this case I didn’t have time to do it properly from scratch, but it still tasted great.


  • 2 tins sugar beans
  • 1 tin tomato
  • 1 onion
  • 2 green chillies
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbsp ghee / oil
  • Handful of curry leaves
  • 1 Tbsp tamarind
  • 1 heaped tsp each of turmeric, chilli powder
  • 1.5 tsp each of jeera, dhanya powder

Slice the onions evenly and fry in ghee or oil. Fry them slowly so they soften and brown to a golden colour. Crush the garlic and add when the onions are ready. Also add 2 whole green chillies at this stage. Add the dried spices and some of the curry leaves. Allow them to fry gently together for a short while before adding the tinned tomatoes and the rest of the curry leaves. Let the tomato reduce slightly before adding the beans. Drain one tin and keep the juice of the other and add both the drained and undrained beans to the pot. The extra liquid allows the beans to be juicier.

While the curry is simmering, get a tablespoon of tamarind and soak it in a cup of boiling water. Mix and squash it with a spoon to loosen it up. Pour the mixture through a strainer straight into the curry and squash the pulp with a teaspoon to get all the flavour out. Throw out the pulp (into an organic recycling bin if you have one).

At this point, when the curry is supposed to simmer away for a while to get all the flavours infused, the gas ran out. I usually try and cook the beans for as long as I can as I find the flavours just keep getting better with time. Luckily I was cooking in a cast iron pot and was given a great Durban invention that not only keeps pots warm, but allows them to continue cooking (see image in the slideshow). I was a bit flustered as I had just began preparing the brinjal and potato curry. But we managed to find our camping stove which had a bit of gas left thankfully.

The final meal consisted of the sugar beans curry, brinjal and potato curry, dhanya yoghurt and roti.

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4 Responses to Sugar beans curry

  1. Pingback: Dhanya yoghurt | gibberlicious

  2. Umgeni says:

    Hi Rike, That looks and reads like a lovely sugar beans curry. But as you ask for an additions, you may add a generous pinch of hing powder before you fry yr onions, it adds a delicious flavour and makes the dish more easily digestible (which is even more impt with dried beans). I would add the tomatoes and salt when the beans are really soft (the pot warmer does a fabulous job, although it needs lots of zen), about 15 minutes before the end. Otherwise these ingredients can impede the softening of the beans. The dhania-jeera can go in last when the oil has risen and will help braise it while retaining the aroma.
    And of course a can is fine when scrambling. And when there is no tamarind, lemon juice (fresh if possible) or Worcester sauce will do just as well, with even a little of Mrs Ball’s chutney

  3. Pingback: Moung dhal | gibberlicious

  4. Pingback: Spicy beans and cheese on toast | gibberlicious

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