Borlotti beans aka Cranberry beans dry curry/ Butter beans masala varuval


Butter beans aka Cranberry beans are available fresh in India when they are in season. Although a rarity, and hence very expensive, dad always bought it if he found it was available and mom would make a tasty dry masala with these beans to go with some kind of mixed rice. It was always a favorite for me, and I still have memories of sitting on the kitchen floor, getting the beans out of their pods and talking about how beautiful these beans look. I have never been able to get the fresh beans here in the US, and didn’t know the dried variety existed, until I won MLLA last year. I received a pound of these beans as part of the Hurst bean prize and have been using it to make this dry curry very often. Finally, I decided to click this and post this recipe, so here it is.

1 cup of dried cranberry beans/borlotti beans(If you can get fresh, by all means use them)
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 sprig curry leaves
a pinch of turmeric
salt, to taste

To grind:
1/4 cup grated coconut
3 red chillies
3 cloves garlic
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp black pepper


Soak the dried beans overnight and cook with a pinch of salt using a pressure cooker for upto 3 whistles. Drain the cooking liquid and set aside. You want the beans to hold their shape, cooked but not mushy.

Take all the ingredients listed under ‘to grind’ and grind it to a coarse paste, adding very little water.


Heat oil in a pan, add the mustard seeds. Let it splutter and add the coarsely ground spice paste. Saute the spice paste in oil over medium heat, until the raw smell disappears. All the spices used in the paste are raw, so this step is very important. Add in the curry leaves, turmeric powder and the drained beans and mix thoroughly. Continue cooking until the spice paste coats the beans and the mixture turns dry. Taste test for salt before adding any, as the beans already were cooked with salt.

This dish goes very well with mixed rice varieties such as lemon rice, coconut rice, tomato rice etc. I served it alongside my amla rice.


Verdict: The beans were buttery soft and coated in the spicy masala, tasted just like I remember my mom making it. The garlic adds a great depth of flavor to this dish along with the freshly ground spices. Perfect pairing with the tangy amla rice!Also tasted good with curd rice.

Sending this to:
Mission Explore Food: Lentils, event series by CookCookandCook and ThouShaltCook
Spotlight: Beans and Lentils
Dish it Out: Lentils/Legumes and Vegetables

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  1. Very interesting and awesome recipe..thanks for sharing & linking it to Spotlight : Beans & lentil..I’m drooling here after reading your recipe and looking at the pic..I don’t get this beans here in India, I think this recipe will taste good with Lobia or soyabean too..will try soon, bookmarked it

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