White Bean Curry

Beans are easy to get hold of, cheap, and most importantly, good for you. I think this is a really beautiful curry, I think people have been generally impressed with it, and people have made it for me after I have made it for them, so that’s a good sign!

I’ll be honest, it’s a bit of an Anjum Anand rip-off, so hats off to her for being the bean queen.


  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 heaped tsp  black mustard seeds
  • 14 curry leaves (fresh curry leaves are so much better than dried, but dried will do)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cm piece root ginger, finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 heaped tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tin coconut milk
  • 2 x 400 g cans cannellini beans or butter beans (basically a white bean), drained and rinsed
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved if large, or 2/3 bigger tomatoes
  • 1 tsp sugar -ish
  • ¼-½ tsp tamarind paste OR juice of 1 lime (I usually use lime as Rebecca often bins my tamarind, “because it’s gone hard and black”…tamarind is hard and black)
  • 1 handful grated coconut (OPTIONAL)
  • 1 handful coriander (NECESSARY)
  • Salt to taste


Not really.


1. Heat the oil in a pan.

2. Add the mustard seeds. Once they start to pop (hitting your face and hands and making you shout), add the curry leaves and onion and fry until the onion is golden brown – not burnt.

2. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 1 minute over a lower heat. Add the salt and dry spices and stir for 30 seconds. Pour in the coconut milk and 100ml water and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

3. Add the beans and tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the sugar and tamarind paste or lime juice. Mash some of the beans against the side of the pan to thicken the curry.

4. Balance it for taste by messing about with lime (or tamarind), sugar and salt.

4. Garnish with grated coconut and coriander if you want to be a decorative fucker. I know I always decorate!


I pretty much always have this with brown rice, but it’s good on its own and with bread, not like hovis, like a naan or chapatti

If you can’t get curry leaves, move to another area of the country, or omit them…it’s a shame, but it will be OKAY.  If you buy naan, just check that it doesn’t contain milk or yoghurt or butter.  Chapattis are really easy to make and you shouldn’t fear them.  I’ll post about those soon. Enjoy.


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