Borlotti beans (aka cranberry beans) are unique in both appearance & taste. They are usually beige or tan in color with random red streaks and possess an almost nutty flavor with a creamy soft texture after cooking. Although when cooked, they do turn a light brown & unfortunately lose their original pretty colors but they also do make up for this with their superior taste & texture.
Borlotti beans are thought to have originated in Columbia and brought back to Europe by the explorers. These beans are very commonly eaten as part of the Mediterranean heart smart diet. Borlotti beans are a good source of both dietary fiber & protein. You can find dried Borlotti beans in any specialty market, health food store or even an Italian market. If you can’t find them in your area or they are simply not available, just substitute pinto beans instead.
My Borlotti Beans Curry simmers these lovely legumes in a rich aromatic sauce, just perfect when eaten with soft phulkas & warm rice – makes for a simple & delicious meal ☺.
BORLOTTI BEANS CURRY
1˝ cups of dried Borlotti beans (soaked overnight in enough water to cover)
1 medium onion, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1” piece of ginger, peeled & finely minced
3-4 dried red chilies, to taste
˝ tsp turmeric (haldi)
˝ tsp red chili powder, to taste
˝ tsp ground cumin powder
1 tsp ground coriander powder
1 tsp kala or goda masala (or garam masala)
salt & pepper, to taste
1˝ cups thick coconut milk
1 tbsp ghee (or coconut oil)
freshly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
Soak the Borlotti beans overnight in plenty of water to cover. Rinse well, drain completely & discard the water. Boil the Borlotti beans in plenty of water until just tender but not mushy. Alternatively, you could also do this using a pressure cooker. Set aside until needed.
In a large deep skillet on medium high heat, add the ghee. When hot, add the onions along with garlic, ginger & dried red chilies. When the onions have just started turning light brown in color, add in the spices (turmeric, red chili powder, ground cumin powder, ground coriander powder, kala masala, salt & pepper). Stir well & let the spices cook for a minute or so and then add in the cooked Borlotti beans. Stir well to combine, reduce the heat to low, cover & let simmer for 6-8 minutes or until the beans are completely soft & tender. Lastly, add in the coconut milk along with water as needed if more liquid is required. Mix well to combine all of the ingredients together & garnish with cilantro leaves. Serve hot with fresh phulkas and fragrant Basmati rice.
Feel free to add some vegetables to this dish such as baby spinach, baby potatoes, baby tomatoes, pumpkin or butternut squash, cauliflower florets…