Lima beans curry is a simple, easy curry with onion and tomatoes. With frozen beans or soaked dry lima beans, curry is ready in under 30 minutes. A quick main or side for busy weekdays and lazy weekends. Serve with rice or Indian flatbread.
Lima beans or double beans or butter beans is a seasonal creeper that gives a bountiful harvest. It is a versatile legume and can use in many forms.
Add to curries, rice and also make a snack just like green garbanzo beans. Tomato shorva, tomato ukkera, vegetable bagara are few recipes where I use lime beans.
You can use fresh beans when in season but here in the US, I always use frozen beans. It is easy to source and stays for months in the freezer. However, I prefer baby lima beans or the ones sold in Indian stores which are usually small size beans.
A good substitute for frozen lima beans is dry lima beans. However, using dry butter beans means some pre-planning. Soak the beans for 6-8 hours or overnight. I usually make a salad with dry ones, like this Peruvian salad with dry lima beans.
Iron Rich Food
Lima beans are a food source of protein, fiber and even iron. A cup of lima beans has about 25% of daily required iron. It is a good source of iron for vegans and vegetarians.
A-Z iron rich food is a series where I post a recipe with an iron rich ingredient, for each alphabet. For alphabet 'L' it is lima beans. Here are a few recipes from the series.
About the Recipe
This is a simple recipe with basic curry ingredients available in most kitchens. Saute onion with ginger garlic paste, spices and then cook double beans with tomatoes. Adjust the consistency to your liking. Consistency also depends on how it is served.
Gluten free, vegan, healthy curry is ready in under 30 minutes and pairs well with rice, flavored rice, roti and parathas. When serving with flavored rice, keep the consistency as you see in the above picture or even thinner. Both thin and thick curry goes well with plain rice and roti.
- Lima Beans - Use frozen baby lima beans or frozen lima beans from India store. You can use fresh beans or dry lima beans. I prefer the frozen or fresh.
- Onion & Tomato - These are the base for the curry. Use red, white or yellow onion. I use vine ripe tomatoes but you can use any variety.
- Masala (opt) - This is optional. With out the masala, it tastes almost similar to tomato ukkera with lima beans. Hence I use dry coconut and cashews for a variation. You can use almonds instead of cashews. Or use coconut and poppy seeds.
- Other Ingredients - Oil, cardamon, clove, cinnamon, ginger garlic paste, coriander powder, turmeric and kotmir for garnish.
- Garam Masala - I do not use the powder but use whole garam masala ingredients. For a little bit of a kick and additional curry flavor, add a pinch of it.
When using dry double (lima) beans, soak overnight or at least 6-8 hours. You can pressure cook the beans and then add to curry or prepare the curry and pressure cook double beans for 4 whistles. My preference is frozen double beans or using fresh beans when in season.
To prepare the curry, saute onions along with whole garam masala ingredients (images #1-2). Saute ginger garlic paste (image #3). Lightly toast coriander powder, chili powder, salt and turmeric (image #4). Then add tomatoes, cover and cook until tomatoes are soft (images #5-7).
Add lima beans, lightly fry the beans in the curry base (images #8-9). Take cashews, coconut and cumin in a spice grinder and make a fine powder (images #10-11). Add to curry base (image #12). You can also add coconut cashew powder later, when curry comes to a boil.
Add water and cook until double beans are soft (images #13-14). If using dry lima beans, add soaked beans at this point and pressure cook for 3-4 whistles. You can add coconut cashew powder at this point, when beans are soft, if you have not already added it.
Adjust the consistency of the curry. For a thinner curry add some water and for a thicker consistency, simmer a little longer. Do a taste test, adjust seasoning and cook for few minutes until seasoning blends into curry. Sprinkle coriander leaves (image # 15) and turn off the flame.
Serve & Store
Serve curry with Indian flatbreads or rice. Curry also pairs well with pulao and flavored rice. When serving with these, you can make the curry slightly thinner than what you seen in the photos.
Store the leftovers in the fridge after completely cool. It stays good for at least 3-4 days. Microwave before serving or reheat on stovetop. If the curry thickens when reheating on stovetop, dilute it a bit and simmer until flavors blend in.
Tips & FAQ
Yes they are. Lima beans are rich in iron, protein, fiber and other nutrients. Lima beans has more soluble fiber which helps in digestion, helps body absorb carbohydrates slowly and controls blood sugar levels.
Yes. Soak for 6-8 hours or overnight. This helps in reducing the cook time. Un-soaked beans also cook, but take longer to cook.
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Lima Beans (Double Beans) Curry
- Cutting board & knife
- Spice grinder
- Saucepan or Saute Pan
- Wooden Spoon
- 1 tablespoon Coconut Flakes
- 2 Cashews, brake each into 6-8 pieces
- ¼ teaspoon Cumin Seeds or ⅓ teaspoon roasted Cumin Powder
- 1 ½ tablespoon Oil
- 1 Cardamom
- 1 Clove
- ¼ inch Cinnamon Stick
- ½ cup Onions chopped
- 2 teaspoon Ginger Garlic Paste
- 1 teaspoon Coriander Powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon Chili Powder
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Turmeric
- ½ cup Tomatoes
- 1 cup Lima Beans Frozen
- Masala Powder
- 1 cups water add more as needed
- Kotmir or Cilantro Leaves for Garnish
- Take all the ingredients listed under masala powder and make a fine powder.
- Heat oil in a pan, toast cardamon, clove and cinnamon stick.
- Saute onions until soft.
- Add ginger garlic paste and saute until raw smell dissipates.
- Add coriander powder, chili powder, salt, turmeric and let the spices lightly toast.
- Then add tomatoes, mix, cover and cook tomatoes on medium - medium high flame until soft, about 2-3 minutes.
- Throw in the lima beans and give a good stir.
- Add masala powder, water and mix. You can add masala powder at this step or in next step.
- Cover the pan and cook until lima beans are soft. Then add masala powder, if you have not added in previous step.
- Taste the curry and adjust chili powder and salt. If you wish, you can add a pinch of garam masala. I don't.
- Check the consistency. Add more water for a lightly thin curry and simmer for few more minutes. For a thicker curry, cook a little longer.
- Sprinkle some chopped coriander leaves, turn off the flame, transfer to a serving bowl.
- Serve with rice, roti and paratha.
- Masala Powder - Recipe calls for coconut and cashews. You can use coconut and almond or coconut and poppy seeds. You can skip this all together for a light and simple curry.
- Dry Lima Beans - Soak 6-8 hours or overnight. Soak half or little over half the quantity mentioned in the recipe. Beans will swell up and almost double in quantity. Pressure cook beans and add to the curry base or you can add soaked beans to the curry base and then pressure cook.
- Nutrition - Values mentioned are approximate values.
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Mind blowing curry base. My butter beans/lima beans stayed too firm and needed another 30-60 min, but then they were perfect. Can't wait to make again!
Usha Rao says
Did you use soaked dry lima beans? I usually use frozen beans and those cook really quick. For dry beans, I use a pressure cooker to cut down on cooking time. I will double check the cooking time again. Thanks for letting me know and glad it eventually came out perfect.
Narmadha Thiagarajan says
Lima beans curry looks so delicious and tempting. Coconut and cashews make it so rich and creamy. Need some hot phulkas to enjoy this curry.
Simple and delicious curry full of flavors using fresh lima beans.
Suma Gandlur says
This protein packed curry is a simple and quick one. The coconut and cashews lend a rich and delicious base to this curry.
Srivalli Jetti says
We love this gravy usha, during the season, we make it always with fresh ones and everybody at home loves it! A wonderful choice for the alphabet!
Usha Rao says
Same at my place Valli. We usually use fresh ones back home and add it to pretty much any curry, including chicken and mutton. Here, since frozen ones are easily available, I use those a lot.
The lima beans curry sounds delicious . We do get these here in Gujarat , and call them vaal . Somehow I have just used them for undhiyu. Curry sounds like an interesting alternative . Let the winters come will try with the fresh beans .
Usha Rao says
It is really good and it tastes good in most curries. We add it to other curries just like green peas, Vaishali.