How To Cook Sugar Beans Curry | Food... like Amma used to make it

A few weeks ago I posted a recipe for Sugar Beans Curry, unfortunately at the time I was unable to find the right red speckled Sugar Beans like the ones back home (in South Africa) so I used canned Red Kidney Beans which resemble Sugar Beans. After months of searching I finally found a bag of Sugar Beans (barlotti beans). 

durban curry
© 2011 l

Some readers have also requested a recipe for boiling Sugar Beans- many of you find it tricky boiling beans, either it gets burnt or overcooked. The secret to perfectly boiled sugar beans is that it has to be soaked overnight. Apart from reducing cooking time it also prevents the skin of the beans from peeling off when boiled.

In the case of sugar beans a watched pot boils best, either cook the beans on low heat or keep a watchful eye so that it does not burn. You can also add a teaspoon of cooking oil to keep the beans from sticking while it boils.

How to Boil Sugar Beans

1.Start by sifting through the beans to remove stones or chipped pieces. Wash with cold water then soak overnight.
© 2011 l

2. The next day-add the sugar beans to a pot half filled with water. Boil on medium heat.

3. Once the water evaporates add more water keep it from burning.
4. Cook for the sugar beans for a maximum of 2 hours.

TIP: Some beans may cook quicker than others; you can test if the beans are ready by pressing one or two with your fingers. If it is ‘half cooked’ (semi soft) then remove from stove. Amma used to say that the beans should be half cooked, this way they can fully cook together with the potatoes in the curry.

How to Cook Sugar Beans Curry

Ingredients for Sugar Beans and Potato Curry

  • 2 onions
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger and garlic
  • curry leaves
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder or cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tablespoon chilli powder (add more if you prefer the curry to be more pungent)
  • Oil (use your discretion- you need enough to braise the onions and spices-I have used 2 tablespoons)
  • pre boiled sugar beans 2 or 3 cups
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 medium potatoes (cut into small pieces about 4 pieces per potato).
    1. Heat a pan on the stove. Add the desired limit of oil.
    2. Add two chopped onions. Make sure they are finely chopped, the onions help give the curry a thick gravy.
    3. Allow onions to soften then the ginger and garlic and curry leaves.
    4. Add the cinnamon and chilli powder.
    5. Braise the spices and onions for 2-3 minutes then add chopped tomatoes and1 cup of water. Cover -allow to simmer.
    © 2011 l

    6. Once  the tomatoes  form a chutney like texture- then add the potatoes.Allow to cook for 10 minutes.

    6. Add the boiled beans (and the water from the beans) into the curry mixture. Stir then cover. Allow to cook for 20 minutes. When the water evaporates add more water depending on the consistency you would like. If you prefer more gravy then add more water.
    © 2011 l

    7. Once the potatoes have cooked  remove from stove. Serve with rice or roti.
    © 2011 l

    Amma's Sugar Beans Curry

    Apart from Sugar Beans with potatoes, Amma had a few variations to her Sugar Beans Curry recipe. She would sometimes add dried fish to the dish. She would sometimes cook Sugar Beans curry with Madumbe's, or with halved gem squash instead of potatoes.
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