Kidney Bean Curry Stew

This recipe comes from Meera Sodha’s Made in India, a collection of highly inspiring and surprisingly feasible home Indian recipes. An occasional Ugandan touch (due to the author’s family history) means I’m not sure where exactly this curry – called Junjaro – comes from, but it does taste and smell like an Indian dish to me. And a particularly delicious one too, which came as a slight surprise since it calls for quite simple ingredients, readily available in standard western supermarkets (at least in Switzerland). Actually, it proved so delicious and versatile, I have served it at least in several different forms in the past three weeks (see the TIPs below), each of them proving highly palatable. The above “stewy”, i.e. more liquid, version is my favourite. I love serving it in a bowl topped with an egg, feta cheese (yes!), baked chicken, mushrooms…

As usually, I have slightly changed the recipe (making this dish more “soupy” than advised or adding chilli powder, more garlic…), so check Meera Sodha’s book for the original recipe.

TIPS: You can serve this curry as a side dish in an Indian meal (with meat dish and rice/flat bread ,for example), but I strongly advise it a bit more liquid (as above) served in a bowl, topped with warm…. feta cheese (yes, this spicy dish goes perfectly with the famous Greek cheese!), fried/poached egg, fried ground meat, grilled bacon, leftover grilled meat, mushrooms…. You can also add even more water or tomato juice and treat it as a thick stew.

If you want to keep a typical thick curry texture, simply add less water.

This curry keeps in the fridge for several days, but you can also freeze it.

I strongly advise using dried beans and soaking them overnight. It makes a huuuuge difference in both the texture and the flavours (for example freshly cooked beans tend to absorb more flavours than the canned ones).

Preparation: about 1 hour (if the beans are already cooked or if using canned)

Ingredients (serves four to six, depending if you treat it as the base of the main course or a side-dish):

200 g dried kidney beans (or 400 g canned, drained)

1 cinnamon stick

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

4 big shallots (or two small onions), chopped

3 cm finely chopped fresh ginger, finely chopped

4 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon turmeric

2-3 fresh green chillies (or more!), sliced

2 teaspoons garam masala

3 tablespoons tomato paste

(100 ml canned or freshly chopped tomatoes)

oil (I have used here coconut oil)

(chilli powder)

If using dry beans, soak them in water overnight.

Drain and cook until soft (depending on the beans it might take even several hours).

If you use canned beans, drain them and rinse.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a big pan.

On low heat stir-fry the whole cinnamon stick and the cumin seeds until aromatic. (Make sure you don’t burn them).

Add the chopped onion or shallots and stir-fry until golden and soft.

Add the garlic, the ginger and the fresh chilli. Stir-fry for a couple of minutes.

Add the turmeric, the garam masala, chilli powder, if using, and the tomato paste. Stir-fry for 30 seconds.

Finally, add the beans, 1/2 later water, salt and canned or freshly chopped tomatoes, if using.

Give the curry a good stir, cover and let it simmer at low heat for about one hour (if you use canned beans, it might take less time because canned beans sometimes fall easily into pieces).

Check every 15 minutes adding more water if necessary.

Serve with fresh coriander leaves.

14 Replies to “Kidney Bean Curry Stew”

  1. You are absolutely right about using dried beans instead of the canned ones. It might take a little longer to cook but it is more flavorful and better texture. Love kidney beans but I never had it flavored with curry. It must be an interesting flavor. Have a wonderful week, Sissi. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Ray. I used to think that soaking beans overnight is not necessary, but once I started to do it, I promised myself I’d use canned ones only in extreme emergency. This Indian spices are really great with kidney beans. You should try it!

  2. Bobby and I love kidney beans so I know we’d love this recipe even though it is totally different from anything that we make. Our usual red beans and rice is more of a creole style with standard “chili” seasoning (cumin, chile powders, oregano) – boring compared to the seasoning you have here. Very unusual seasoning in my mind, but quite delicious I’m sure. Need to give this a try. Another great something new from you! Thanks!

    1. HI, MJ. Thank you so much for the compliments! This is exactly what I think whenever I visit your blog and see the exotic seasoning (you call it boring???). This is quite simple (for an Indian curry), so I hope you’ll be able to find the ingredients and taste it!

  3. I’m only using dried beans, they are so much better for you, because if less salt! It’s really no problem to plan ahead and soak the beans, gets rid of some of the unflattering chemical too! We use beans in a variety of recipes, like risotto, so using them in a curry sounds wonderful. The Indian spices sound fantastic in this stew, served with naan bread! I just finished dinner (a tasty lemon grass chicken soup) and I can’t believe I’m licking my lips reading your recipe!

    1. Thank you so much, Eva, for such kind words. I think the good side of dried beans is that they are very easy to warm, so even if I don’t plan a bean meal, I can always soak them, boil and even prepare a meal I’ll refrigerate or freeze.

  4. I love stews and I love beans! We have something similar that is called fasolada and it is a stew with more liquid and different herbs and spices that I simply love! This stew sounds so delicious too!

    1. Thanks a lot, Katerina. I think you have already told me about fasolada. I must try it one day. I prepare quite often gigantes plaki, but in a more watery/stewy version and I love it sooo much! I’m lucky to find here the big white beans too.

    1. Thank you so much, Adina. They are much easier to get in normal shops than some of Indian lentils, so I was also glad to discover this recipe.

  5. i love everything in meera sodha’s made in india book, except for this, it just didn’t click. i ended up adding about a quart of chicken stock to get a more soupy texture, but the kidney beans soak everything up; quickly. yes i agree with all of the above, dry beans only.

    1. Hi, thank you for your comment. I must say I really love it (I cooked it once more last weekend) but maybe also because I love kidney beans so much I could eat them even without salt, just on their own. I also never eat this curry alone, I treat it either as a side dish or I add some feta/tofu/grilled chicken and poached egg on top…

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