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Sugar Bean Curry Recipe

sugar bean bunny chow

Sugar Beans Bunny …. what more can I say?

In the late 80’s, early 90’s, some of my very best days (or should I say, early mornings), were spent with my friends eating R2 Bean Bunnys at a takeaway called Willowtree on Durban’s beachfront after a night out on the town.

Going for a beans”, was as much fun as the night out itself and I could tell you many stories about those nights.

Besides the fact that it is totally delicious, I love to cook a beans curry, make a bunny and eat in remembrance of those wonderful days and those wonderful friends.

For this recipe, I pre-boil 250g (half a pack) of washed Red Speckled Beans, commonly referred to as Sugar Beans.

Normally, one would soak the beans overnight, drain, rinse again and simmer in fresh water for between 1-2 hours until soft. Remove the beans from the water, but RETAIN the water as you will need it later.

I treated myself to an electric pressure cooker, called the Midea InstaChef . I rinse the beans, put into the wonderful little device and in 10 minutes the beans are absolutely perfect and ready to put into the curry base.


  • 3 Tablespoons of Sunflower oil
  • 1 Large Bay Leaf
  • 1/2 a Teaspoon of Mustard Seeds
  • 1 Stick Cinnamon
  • 2 Cardamom Pods (Seeds removed and ground with pestle & mortar)
  • 1 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 3 Teaspoons Chilli Powder (or to taste)
  • 2 Teaspoons Jerra Powder (Cumin)
  • 1 Large Onion / or 2 medium (Finely Chopped)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Masala / Curry Powder (or to preference)
  • 2 Large Tomatoes (Grated)
  • Pre Boiled Beans
  • 3 Potatoes (Cubed)
  • Curry Leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • Dhania Leaves (Corriander)


  • On a medium heat, add oil to pot
  • Add the Jeera (cumin), Mustard Seeds, Bay Leaf, Cinnamon stick, Turmeric & Cardamom
  • Allow to gently fry for about 30 seconds, do not let your spices burn
  • Add Chilli Powder
  • Add the chopped onions and saute until soft
  • Add the Masala / Curry Powder and allow to gently fry (Add a dash of water if the mixture is too thick and wants to stick and burn. Allow the water to cook off)
  • Add Tomatoes and saute until your tomatoes have broken down into the sauce.
  • Remove from the heat, add the Beans and mix well
  • Return to the heat, add the water from the beans until you have your required consistency. (The beans will suck up some water, so keep adding.
  • Add Curry leaves and salt to taste.
  • Add Potatoes, reduce the heat and allow to simmer until the potatoes are soft and fluffy and the beans delicious and ready to eat.
  • Taste for salt and garnish with Dhania leaves (corriander)
  • Serve plain, with rice, with roti, as a bunny chow, on slices of thick buttered bread or however you like.

Interesting Facts about Sugar Beans

  • The Red Speckled Bean is commonly known as the Sugar Bean
  • It is part of the legume family and we eat the seed
  • Well-known legumes include alfalfa, clover, beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils, lupins, mesquite, carob, soybeans, peanuts, and tamarind
  • The sugar bean has a very high fiber content
  • Soluble fiber absorbs water in the stomach forming a gel that slows down the absorption of the bean’s carbohydrates. They can therefore help balance blood sugar levels while providing steady, slow-burning energy, which makes them a good choice for people with diabetes suffering with insulin resistance.
  • Sugar beans can increase energy levels by helping to restore more iron, an integral component of hemoglobin which transports oxygen from the lungs to all body cells, and is also part of key enzyme systems for energy production and metabolism.

HINT: A Bean and Chicken Curry is absolutely fabulous, simply follow our Chicken Curry Recipe and add the beans when you add your potatoes.

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