Black bean curry is a vegan and gluten-free Indian-style curry, gently flavored with Indian spices. It gets ready in just 30 minutes and can be enjoyed with rice as well any Indian bread.
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Bean curry and rice- what can be more satisfying than this classic combination. In India, different beans are used to make bean curries but the black bean is not very commonly used.
However, things are changing now, and since black beans are more easily available in Indian grocery stores these days, people have started using them more regularly in their Indian recipes.
Today I am sharing the recipe for a simple and spicy Indian-style black bean curry. It's very easy to make and gets ready in just 30 minutes.
What goes in Indian black bean curry?
To make this Indian style black bean curry, you will need the ingredients shown below:
- Black beans: Black beans are also known as black turtle beans. Both home cooked or canned can be used in this recipe. If using canned beans, discard the liquid and rinse the beans before using in the curry.
- Tomato: Use a juicy red variety of tomato to make any Indian masala(sauce).
- Kasoori methi: Kasoori methi is dried fenugreek leaves. It's a very popular spice used in Indian recipes. Kasoori methi adds a very upique smoky flavor to dishes and honestly speaking I could not find it's substitute. No other spice can create the same flavor aand aroma. So, if you like cooking Indian food, do keep kasoori methi in your pantry.
- Dried whole spices: Bay leaf, black peppercorns, cinnamon stick, and cumin seeds. You add or remove 1-2 dried Indian spices, depending on the availability.
- Garam masala: It's an Indian blend of spices which is a used to flavor a lot of Indian dishes. It has a very strong taste so don't add a lot of it otherwise your dish will taste like garam masala only. It tastes the best if you add it in the end once the dish is ready.
How to make (Step by step instructions)?
Step 1: Heat oil in a pot.
Step 2: Add dried whole spices and saute until they become fragrant. It will take a few seconds to 1 minute. Don't leave them unattended they burn very fast.
Step 3: Add finely chopped onion. You can also use onion paste if you don't like onion pieces in your gravy.
Step 4 and 5: Cook onion until it turns golden brown. Keep on stirring in between to avoid buring. If you feel the onion is sticking to the bottom of the pan, add 1-2 tablespoons of water and cook until you get the desired colour.
Step 6: Add ginger garlic paste and saute for a minute.
Step 7: Add red chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, and crushed kasoori methi. Kasoori methi can also be added in the end with garam masala.
Step 8: Saute the spices for about 30 seconds or until they become fragrant. Powdered spices burn very easily so you may mix them with 1-2 teaspoons of water before adding to the pot.
Step 9 and 10: Add chopped tomatoes, green chilies, and salt. Mix everything and cook for a few minutes.
Step 11: The tomatoes will get separated from the oil once they are nicely cooked. However, if you are using less oil, noticing this won't be easy so just cook until the tomatoes turn mushy and change their color to a brighter red.
Step 12: Once the tomatoes are cooked, add boiled black beans to the pan.
Step 13: Mix the black beans with the masala (onion-tomato sauce) and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Step 14: Add water to the pot. If you have cooked black beans at home, don't discard the water in which it was cooked and use it along with plain water (if required) in this step. It will help in making a thicker gravy and you won't be wasting any precious nutrients too.
However, if you are using canned beans, don't use it's liquid. Just use plain water or vegetable stock.
Step 15: Let the curry cook for around 5 minutes.
Step 16: Add garam masala and mix. Switch off the stove.
Step 17 and 18: Finally, add chopped cilantro and mix.
How to cook black beans from scratch?
Cooking black beans from scratch is very easy. Using a pressure cooker will be convenient and less time consuming if you are cooking beans from scratch. However, it can easily be made in a regular cooking pot too but it will take a longer time i.e. around 1 hour. Try using a heavy bottomed pot.
The first step will be same i.e. wash and soak the beans in water for 7-8 hours or overnight. If you live in a cold place, it's better to soak it in hot water.
After that any of the following methods to cook the beans:
Method 1: Pressure cooker: Put the soaked beans with water and salt in a pressure cooker. For 1 cup of beans, use around 3 cups water. Put on the lid and cook till 5-6 whistles or until the beans get nicely cooked. Allow the pressure to release naturally before removing the lid.
Note: The number of whistles may vary slightly depending upon different factors like the quality of beans, capacity of the pressure cooker, even the altitude and weather of the place where you are cooking.
Method 2: Regular pot: If using a regular pot, use around 7 cups of water to cook 1 cup of beans. Cover the pot with a lid and cook on medium heat for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the beans are nicely cooked.
The perfectly cooked beans should retain thir shape but get easily pressed between two fingers.
Always serve Indian black bean curry hot. It can be served with rice as well Indian bread like roti, naan, or paratha.
A bowl of this curry can also be enjoyed as a filling bean soup.
To store, put in an air tight container and refrigerate. It will be fine for around 2-3 days.
Like most Indian bean curries, black bean curry also freezes well. Just transfer them to freezer safe containers and freeze for 3-4 months.
Before serving, either microwave for a few minutes or heat on stovetop.
To give a fresher taste, heat 1 teaspoon oil in a pan. Add around 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds and finely chopped garlic. Once the garlic satrts turning brown, add some coriander powder and red chili powder. Saute for a few seconds and then pour it over the re-heated curry.
- You may add some boiled potato cubes along with the black beans in this recipe to make potato- black bean curry.
- Add 1-2 cups of baby spinach or roughly chopped regular spinach to the curry and cook until the leaves get wilted. Your healthy spinach bean curry will be ready.
- For a creamier consistency and taste, you may add around 1/2 a cup of whisked coconut milk in the end before adding garam masala. Cook for 1-2 minutes while stirring continously then add garam masala and cilantro.
Recipe tips and tricks
- Mash around 1/4 cup of cooked black beans and add to the curry with whole black beans. It will help in making a creamier and thicker curry.
- Instead of water, you may also use vegetable stock in the recipe.
- If using canned beans, discard the liquid and rinse the beans nicely before adding to the curry. This will help in getting rid of the metalic taste of the canned beans.
- If you don't like the pieces of onion and tomato in the curry, make their separate paste in a food processor. Use the paste instead of chopped onion and tomato in the recipe.
- Generally, Indians don't mind the pieces of dried whole spices in their curries and then just keep them aside while eating. If you don't want to do that, remove the cinnamon stick and bay leaf from the curry before serving.
Frequently asked questions
No, black beans and black soybeans are not the same. Black beans is the short name used for black turtle beans. Black soybean is another type of bean which is generally used in Asian recipes. It's also called Chinese black bean.
Yes, naturally it's gluten-free. However, if using canned beans, please check the ingredients list mentioned on the can.
1 cup of dried beans will yield around 3 cups of cooked beans.
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Black bean curry
- Cooking pot
- 3 cups home cooked/ canned black beans if canned, discard the liquid
- 1 large red onion finely chopped
- 2 medium-sized red tomatoes finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
- 1-2 finely chopped green chilies adjust to taste
- A handful of fresh cilantro roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 inch piece of cinnamon stick
- 2-3 black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon kasoori methi dried fenugreek leaves
- ½ tablespoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon red chili powder adjust to taste
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ¼ teaspoon garam masala
- Salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon mustard oil/ any cooking oil of choice
- 2 cups water adjust to get the desired consistency
- Heat oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, and peppercorns. Saute for a few seconds or until the spices become fragrant.
- Add chopped onion and cook until it becomes golden brown. Keep on stirring in between to avoid burning.
- Add ginger-garlic paste and saute for about a minute.
- When the raw smell of garlic goes away, add crushed kasoori methi, coriander powder, turmeric powder, and red chili powder. Saute for about 30 seconds.
- Add chopped tomatoes, green chilies, and salt. Mix and cook until the tomatoes turn mushy and get nicely cooked.
- Add cooked black beans and saute with the sauce for about a minute.
- Next, add water/ vegetable stock and cook for around 5 minutes.
- Switch off the stove. Add garam masala and cilantro. Mix everything.
- Serve hot with rice or roti.
- If using home-cooked beans, don't discard the water in which was cooked. Use it instead of plain water/ vegetable stock in the recipe.
- If using canned beans, discard the liquid and rinse the beans with water to get rid of the canned taste and smell.
- Spices get burned very easily so don't leave them unattended and leave the next ingredient ready before adding the spices.
- If using mustard oil for cooking, heat until it reaches the smoking point and then switch off the stove. Allow to reach it back to a normal temperature before adding the spices.
- More recipe tips and tricks are given within the post above, please follow them to make this recipe.