Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lima Beans (Butter Beans) in a spicy tomato sauce

In the last post while talking about the exploding cost of higher education I forgot about one important fact. Sandeepa's comment brought it to sharp focus. Being enrolled in college keeps kids out of trouble and in some cases big trouble. As parents we get a bad rap for over scheduling kids. On the other hand lot of parents vouch for the fact that being enrolled in after school activities keeps their teenagers out of trouble.

Moreover I have watched at close quarters the sadness and denial when a child gets into a situation that cannot be rewound and no amount of regret can set right. One of my neighbors son's was sent to prison when he and a group of his friends beat to death a high school student. This happened a couple of years after the offender had graduated from high school. The parents run a very successful business probably negating the need for sending their children to college. I do not deny the thought that went through my head when we heard of the news - "It never would have happened if he was busy in college". No amount of regret or denial is going to give the boy back his old life. Would college have prevented the incident? There is no way to tell.

Gone are the days when sending to college was an easy decision. In today's scenario paying for college means big time sacrifices for parents.

Community colleges, technical schools, online schools, apprenticeship,trades are all alternate means to regular brick and mortar colleges.

Just wanted to mention this fact as well.

As for the recipe it is another one that uses the bumper tomato harvest. I have my own love affair with Beans and any recipe that uses beans and lima beans at that is going to be bookmarked. This recipe was inspired by a recipe on Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska found while going through the MLLA archives.

I have learned through experience not to cook lima beans in a pressure cooker. They remain whole and do not turn mushy when cooked on stove top. As the recipe here required some slow cooking time, it fit neatly into the cooking method for this one.

1. 2 Cups of dried lima beans (butter beans) soaked overnight in plenty of water
2. 2 Cups of chopped tomatoes
3. 1/2 cup of chopped onions
4. 1 tbsp - masala powder or (3/4 tbsp roasted coriander powder + 1/4 tbsp cumin powder)
5. 1/2 cayenne pepper (adjust to taste)
6. 1 tbsp grated ginger
7. 4 cloves of garlic chopped
8. seasonings: cumin
9. 2 tsp of oil
10. salt to taste
11. handful of chopped coriander leaves (optional)

1. In a heavy bottomed pan with a lid, heat the oil and add the cumin seeds
2. Add the onions and let them saute till soft
3. Add the tomatoes and saute for 5 minutes, close the lid and let cook for another 5 minutes
4. Add the garlic and ginger and saute for a couple more minutes
5. Add the rinsed, soaked lima beans and the spice powders and mix it in will
6. Add a cup of water, close the lid and let cook for 10-15 minutes, check to see if the beans are cooked, if not let cook for another 10 minutes or more.
7. Add salt (coriander leaves if using) and mix it in well. Let cook for 2 more minutes.

Serve with rice or rotis.


  1. Nice recipe. I haven't made lima beans often. Esp from dry beans. I guess they turn too mushy in the pressure cooker is what you mean?

  2. Lima beans in tomato sauce sounds very interesting..

  3. I studied from school to University in a centrally owned Deemed univ. during schools we used to pay Rs.70 and in college we paid Rs.800 for a year. it was that cheap. later when I joined NIFT I was shocked to see the fee structure. private specialised courses are always expensive but thats the answer to a better future. we need to save up for this.
    the lima beans curry looks gorgeous. love anything in tomato based gravy.

  4. I too think if kids are busy they don't get to mischief. But then i also think it is not true, tat boy could have been in college and busy but still go out with his friends one night out and join witht hem and beat the other boy to death.
    I always tell to myself never say it would not happen to me ( when i hear a bad news like this or something minor than this )
    You don't know whane kids get to bad company etc.... just hope and pray that our kids won't get to bad company.

  5. Indo, I think it's relative - or maybe just each student's individual case. The Spouse teaches, and it's no mean task taking care of them. One of the most tense jobs.

  6. These Lima beans look too good Indo. I have always used a frozen packet and that too for a quick fry. Will do this for my next pack.

  7. Aaah! So, that's the secret to Lima beans? I pressure cooked them once and haven't gone back to it again - except when making 11 bean soup. Will give stove top cooking a try.

    My heart breaks to see kids waste away their life!!

  8. Reminds me to make some lima beans.. haven't been doing it recently. DD2 used to love it and does not any more now, so I stopped getting it.

  9. The lima beans look very good - theres something about beans isnt it!

    I guess sometimes whatever we do as parents, it may not be enough....but yes it is true to some extent - an idle mind is a devil's workshop. But we also see the other extreme - children being shunted from one class to the other till they burnout!

  10. Indo, so glad you liked the recipe, and thank you very much for your kind comments. I really like how you've "indian-ized" it - I'll have to try your version one day! Thanks again for letting me know about your interesting variation.

  11. dear isg,

    can't form a proper comment for this post (other than to say, as usual your recipes make me wish for lima beans -- not an easy feat!).

    As far as the kids in college part is concerned - that's tough. I have two - one graduated magna cum laude and is living home without a job prospect. Not that he's not intelligent. The other has just taken the college leap and I need a little time to figure how that will turn out.

    Thanks for putting our thinking caps on ISG, and for reminding me about lima beans... :)


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