Pinto Bean Curry


I grew up in a house that didn’t often have parripu. Ammi wasn’t a huge fan and would usually find new and wonderful things to make hodi (gravy dish) with. Cucumber curry (recipe to come) and spinach curry were much more prevalent at dinner than parripu. We had friends growing up that had parippu at every meal, so I suspect as a Sri Lankan this was quite unusual. Parripu at our place was usually a sign that it was shopping day tomorrow and Ammi’s fridge was empty.

As such, when I cook Sri Lankan food at home, parripu is not often on the menu. Especially in Australia, when I cooked parrippu Mr Firehouse would pipe up and ask

“What? Is there nothing else in the fridge?”…cheeky bugger.

Nowadays I like to use the multitude of canned beans out there to make a dhal style curry. Chickpeas are an obvious choice but red kidney beans, pinto beans and lima beans are also an excellent choice for this recipe!



  • 1 can beans (pinto here) drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 1/2 small red onion chopped
  • 1 red chilli sliced
  • 1/2 stick of cinnamon
  • curry leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 2 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. chilli powder (optional)
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 small tomato chopped


In a medium fry pan add the oil, onions, garlic, cinnamon and curry leaves. Fry for a few minutes before adding the chilli, curry powder and turmeric. Keep frying until the onions are soft and slightly translucent.


Add the beans and give the curry a good stir.



Add the tomato and 1/2 cup of water and simmer on high for 5 minutes or until most of the water has evaporated.


Finally add the coconut milk and simmer for a few minutes until the curry becomes nice and thick.


   Add salt to taste and serve with bread or rice.



4 Comments Add yours

  1. This looks delicious, do you think light coconut milk would work as well? My stupid stomach still won’t tolerate the full cream stuff 😦

  2. chathginige says:

    Yes, I think it would be fine!

  3. Stacie says:

    Hi there! I am so happy to see this recipe. I now live in Sydney – originally from New Mexico, US. My husband is Sri Lankan. This recipe seems like the perfect marriage of foods for our family 🙂

    1. chathginige says:

      How wonderful Stacie! I know Pinto beans can be a bit tricky to find in Sydney but any tinned bean will work great in this recipe! Good luck with the recipe and you’ll have to let me know how you go.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.