Kidney beans are very popular in India. They are relished as curry with rice, or in salads. Even the most fussy eaters rarely say no to Kidney beans curry.
As a child, I was not very fond of Kidney beans. I was the only one in the family who never got excited to eat these beans. My mom cooked them quite often and I had to eat them anyways. My mom is a very good cook, so they were always very flavorful but it was just me who somehow never liked their texture. We, as children, were never given options on dinner table. Whatever was on the table was meant to be enjoyed ( BTW, I’m doing the same with my own kids now! ). And in India snacking was never very popular , not even today . So whatever was cooked in mom’s kitchen, we had to eat it or wait until the next meal. I slowly started to like these beans after I moved to USA. Each time I cooked them, they took me back to my childhood and my family in India – knowing how much they all enjoy these beans, I developed a sudden liking for them.
This recipe is my mom’s recipe. The only thing I changed in the recipe is the addition of lots of greens ( kale or spinach) to make it a colorful soup – for those cold, dull winter days we have here in Colorado . There are two ways to make this hearty soup – traditional way ( my mom’s way ) and the modern way ( quicker too). I still follow the traditional way because I’m a soaker, and I love using my pressure cooker. It just reminds me of my mom’s kitchen. And also the freshness and tenderness of fresh cooked beans is a plus if you go traditional way but I’m really not trying to convert anyone.
These two options are available only in the beginning . You decide whether you want to boil your beans or use the canned ones. Once you have the boiled beans, the recipe is pretty easy to follow.
Ready in : 30 minutes ( if using canned beans)
Traditional way : Overnight soaking time + 1 hour ( pressure cooking + sautéing )
Difficulty Level: Medium
1 cup dried red kidney beans or 2 cans of store bought beans
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 cup diced onions
1 teaspoon grated ginger
2 teaspoons minced garlic
½ cup diced tomato ( one Roma tomato)
2 teaspoons salt ( or as per taste)
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper ( or as per taste)
2 cups of baby kale or spinach leaves, roughly chopped
1/3 cup of cilantro, finely chopped
Good to know : 1.5 cups of dried beans = 3 cups of cooked beans = 2 cans of store bought cooked beans
If you are using the canned beans skip the Step 1 below and start with Step 2 .
Step 1 : (Traditional Way )
Rinse: Take 1.5 cup of beans and rinse them nicely. And cover them in few inches of water. Any floating beans should be removed , as they are too old. You will get three cups of cooked beans with one and a half cups of dried beans.
Soak : Let them soak overnight at kitchen counter. If you live in a very hot climate zone, you can put them in refrigerator for soaking to avoid fermentation due to higher temperatures. Make sure you use a bowl big enough to contain the swollen beans because the soaked beans will swell by morning .
Drain: Drain all the water used for soaking and rinse the beans twice. Draining removes gas producing substances from the beans. You will have about three cups of beans now.
Cooking the beans : You can use a slow cooker or pressure cooker to cook the beans. Some people use the oven to cook them. I use a pressure cooker and here’s what I do:
Cover them with 4 cups of water. Add a teaspoon of turmeric before you start to pressure cook them . Cook them for two whistles.
Step 2: Adding the flavors to the beans
Heat 1 tbsp of oil in medium skillet and add cumin seeds. Cook these for 30 seconds and then add diced onion. Cook the onions for 3 minutes on high heat . Bring the heat to medium and then add turmeric now ( only if using canned beans ). Mix the turmeric well with onions and add ginger and garlic. Cook for two minutes on medium heat. Add diced tomato and sprinkle 2 teaspoons of salt and cook the whole spice blend for 3 minutes on medium heat. Adding salt immediately after you add tomato helps them cook faster. Pour the boiled beans to the skillet with spice mixture. If using canned beans , make sure you add 2 cups of water now. Add more water if you don’t want your soup to be very thick. Now bring the sop to a rolling boil. Add all the greens and mix well. Adjust the salt and water if needed.
This soup is good on its own but if you like to enjoy it as a curry, pair them with plain boiled rice.
Greek yogurt also goes well with this curry/soup.
Turmeric : If cooking the traditional way, you add the turmeric when you pressure cook the beans. If using canned beans, you add them just after onions are cooked.
Greens: If you don’t like the raw-ish flavor of greens in your soup, you may add them before giving the final boil to the beans in the end. Boiling will cook them nicely.
Canned Beans: Make sure you rinse them nicely before adding them to spice mixture.
Using fresh ginger and garlic will bring out the best flavors of this soup.
Did you know?
Kidney beans are a good source of Potassium, dietary fiber, Protiens ,Calcium , Vitamin D and B12.
If you have any questions , please let me know in the comments below.
If you happen to cook these , don’t forget to share the picture using #desicookingclub.
Happy cooking !