Updated: Jul 9, 2019
Beans have never been one of my favorite foods. They've always been okay to me, but never anything to get excited about. This recipe for East African Bean Soup has changed that: I love this soup, and so does the rest of my family. This recipe combines beans and vegetables with a flavor boost from coconut milk and curry powder. The result is amazingly delicious and, thanks to the coconut milk, this recipe is quite hearty and filling.
This recipe was inspired a recipe in Best of Regional African Cooking.
East African Bean Soup
2&1/2 cups dried pinto beans
1 tsp baking soda
2 large yellow or white onions, chopped
2 Tb unrefined coconut oil
4 cups filtered water
2 green peppers, de-seeded and chopped
1 can (13.5 ounces) full-fat coconut milk
2 tsp Madras curry powder*
celtic sea salt, to taste
In a large bowl, cover the beans with plenty of filtered water and the baking soda. The beans will soak up quite a bit of water, so be sure to add plenty. Cover and allow to soak overnight. This important step reduces the phytic acid antinutrient in the beans.
About 3-4 hours before mealtime, chop the onions.
Heat the coconut oil in a 4- or 6-quart pot with a lid over medium-high heat. Add the onions and a small sprinkle of salt. Sauté for 10-15 minutes, until the onions are translucent and have taken on a bit of brown, caramelized color.
In the meantime, drain and rinse the beans in a colander.
Add the beans to the pot with the onions. Pour in just enough filtered water to cover the beans; since the beans have already absorbed so much water during the long soaking process they won't absorb much more while cooking. In my pot, it takes about 4 cups of water to cover the beans.
Bring the beans to a boil and skim off any foam that rises to the top. Salt the cooking liquid; I find that 4 tsp salt is a good amount for my family's taste preferences. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot.
Allow the beans to simmer 2-3 hours, until they are fully cooked and soft.
Remove and discard one cup of liquid from the pot of beans. Shake the can of coconut milk well before opening it. Add the tomatoes, coconut milk, curry powder, and green peppers to the beans. Stir the pot to mix all the ingredients together well.
Bring to a boil, skim off any foam, and then simmer the soup for 20-30 minutes, until the peppers are cooked to your preference. Taste the broth and adjust the salt as needed.
Ladle into bowls, serve, and enjoy!
*Madras curry powder really is the best curry powder. It has such a fantastic flavor and aroma compared to other curry powders.
What is your favorite bean recipe?
Links to Amazon are affiliate links. If you use these links, your price remains the same, but I earn a small commission. Thanks for supporting this site!