Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Three-Bean Curry (French, Indian and Lima)

Green Beans, Shelled Indian Beans, Baby Lima Beans
Green Beans, Shelled Indian Beans, Baby Lima Beans

Here in the US, farmers’ markets are usually bursting with fresh green beans during this time of the year. When we first moved here, during my getting to know the US veggies better phase, regular staple in my kitchen was curries and pulaos prepared with frozen green beans. Frozen green beans are cheap, already cut and cook easily. Taste not that good, still I bought them. But after a year of frozen stuff, I had enough and I’ve sworn off green beans entirely. Then, I discovered the farmfresh green beans of springtime and how good they tasted. From then on, along with radishes, beans became a springtime staple at my home.

My recipe here is same as the old classic, the favorite of Indian cookbook authors, where beans are cut into quarter inch length pieces, saut?ed with onions and green chilli-coconut paste. To this basic recipe, I have also added two other types of shelled beans to increase the nutritional value as well as taste. The shelled Indian beans (Papdi Lilva, the middle ones in the photo above) are available in frozen section of Indian grocery shops here, year round and baby lima beans; you could get them from regular grocery shops. They both taste little bit sweet and starchy, compliments the mildly woodsy taste of fresh french beans.

Sauteing the three-bean curry
Sauteing the three-bean curry


Fresh Green beans – 2 cups of chopped quarter-inch length pieces
Shelled Indian broad beans – ½ cup
Baby lima beans – ½ cup
Onion – 1, finely chopped
Green chillies- 4 to 6 and coconut powder, a tablespoon – made into smooth paste
Turmeric – ½ teaspoon
Salt to taste
For tadka or tiragamata:
1 tsp of peanut oil
1 tsp of mustard seeds, cumin, minced garlic and few curry leaves

Heat peanut oil in a kadai or a wide pan. Add and toast the tadka ingredients. Add and stir-fry the onions for about 2 minutes. Add the green beans, Indian beans and Lima beans. Cook, covered for about 5 minutes on medium heat. Beans will soften within 5 minutes by cooking in their own moisture, sort of like steam cooking. At this stage, stir in green chilli-coconut paste, salt and turmeric. Cover and cook on medium heat for another 5-10 minutes stirring in between. Serve hot with chapatis or with rice and dal.

3-bean curry with chapatis
3-bean curry with chapatis

More about Indian Bean Seeds, Papdi Lilva or Chikkudu Vittanalu – Here

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Chikkudu Kaya (BroadBeans),Green Beans,Lima Beans (Tuesday May 30, 2006 at 1:17 pm- permalink)
Comments (25)

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25 comments for Three-Bean Curry (French, Indian and Lima) »

  1. Very delicious looking curry Indira.
    I so totally agree with you on frozen beans.

    Comment by santhi — May 30, 2006 @ 1:58 pm

  2. Interesting and intelligent use of fresh green beans and the shelled varieties. Thanks for yet another new recipe!


    Comment by desimom — May 30, 2006 @ 2:02 pm

  3. Hi, Nice arrangement of chapatis and curry (last photo). Very well presented.

    Comment by Madhavi — May 30, 2006 @ 2:20 pm

  4. Thanks Santhi. We all have our frozen green bean infatuation stage, right?:)
    Did you notice the color of chapatis. I’ve bought Pillsbury chapati flour last weekend.

    Thanks Desimom!

    Fast food (taco) kind of style:), thanks Madhavi.

    Comment by Indira — May 30, 2006 @ 2:23 pm

  5. Hi Indira,

    I am hooked on to your blog. I visit everyday atleast once, if not many more times.
    I love your writing style, your simple yet classic recipes and of course not to mention your pictures. I have already tried many recipes from your site – both the aratikaaya recipes, the radish recipes, the sorakaaya recipe….
    I am going to try this one today – I think I have everything it needs at home.

    Keep blogging away!


    Indira replies:
    Wow, Latha, it’s very nice of you to say all these things about my blog. Greatly appreciate it. Thanks.
    Do let me know, how you like this curry.

    Comment by Latha — May 30, 2006 @ 2:34 pm

  6. Wow!!! i just love the pictures. They look unbeleivably fresh…man they have so MUCH nutritional value combined together… beans carry so much of iron in them….and with chappathis, a perfect combo… and about the frozen beans I just hate them ..its something I feel disgusted to have my freezer.

    Indira replies:
    Thanks BDSN. They were very fresh, almost like the ones picked from the backyard garden.
    I cook with beans during spring time, that’s it for me. I don’t buy frozen beans anymore.

    Comment by BDSN — May 30, 2006 @ 3:27 pm

  7. Is indian bean also called “same ki phalli” in A.P, Indira?
    Your dish looks wonderful and I love eating beans. I’ve never tried the frozen kind, but now that you mention it’s cheap…heck! I might even give it a try!!:P

    Indira replies:
    Really, I don’t know, Nabeela.
    Thanks, me too, I like fresh beans.
    Frozen ones, small packet usually costs a dollar, priced very low, give it a try.

    Comment by Nabeela — May 30, 2006 @ 4:11 pm

  8. Hi Indira,

    Three-Bean curry looks so mouth-watering…excellent picture. Keep blogging away because I try atleast one recipe of yours per week and my whole family enjoys it.


    Indira replies:
    Thanks Manasa.

    Comment by Manasa — May 30, 2006 @ 4:32 pm

  9. Hi Indira,
    3Beans Curry looks healthy and excellent pictures.

    Indira replies:
    Hi MT, thanks.

    Comment by menutoday — May 30, 2006 @ 9:13 pm

  10. What region the style of dish best represents? I’m trying to get a feel for the different regions of India and their cooking, but this one doesn’t click.

    Indira replies:
    This type of curry preparation flavored with coconut and green chillies is a classic South Indian style.

    Comment by Mike from Dubai — May 31, 2006 @ 12:09 am

  11. HI Indira,
    Nice to see all comibination beans in one preperation. Nice recipe and I agree with your views in the issue of frozen veggies.

    Indira replies:
    They taste great, VIneela.
    Frozen beans are there mainly for convenience, I know.:)

    Comment by vineela krishna — May 31, 2006 @ 12:40 am

  12. Indira,
    Adding Papdi Lilva and Lima beans is an interesing twist. I am so going to be tempted to try it out when I cook green beans next.

    Indira replies:
    Give it a try, Vaishali. I am sure you are going to like it. Thanks.

    Comment by Vaishali — May 31, 2006 @ 4:20 am

  13. Hi Indira,
    I think your shelled indian beans looks like ‘avarey kayi’that is what we call in kannada. There is a season for this in Bangalore where in farmers heap up, loads of Avarey on the side of the roads. I just love the taste of it.. .hope its the same thing…
    Lovely recipe.. thanks for sharing


    Indira replies:
    I guess they are the same. These shelled beans are avilable in Indian grocery shops, here in US. They taste almost like home version.
    Thanks, Aparna.

    Comment by Aparna — May 31, 2006 @ 6:04 am

  14. Man, I do really dislike frozen green beans – they turn out sort of rubbery when cooked (maybe I cook ’em wrong, I dunno). Fresh green beans, though – yum! 🙂 I’ve not tried the coconut-green chilly paste with green beans… and since I have some now, I’ll be making it very soon. I just hope it looks as fresh and yummy as yours in the photo, Indira!

    Indira replies:
    Me too, I used to like them in the beginning, but now, I completely stopped buying frozen green beans. They do taste little bit rubbery and go limp easily, I know.:)
    Give it a try and let me know, how you like them, Shammi. The curry is going to turnout gorgeous at your hands, no doubt in that. 🙂

    Comment by shammi — May 31, 2006 @ 7:19 am

  15. Hoo.. that is good one with beans.. looks very yummy with rotis. we like the taste of adding coconut-greenchilli paste and it makes all the differnce to the dish.Yummy! I make this paste in blender, but i have to add little water to get paste (yours looks very porable solid paste without any extra water, how do you get that texture Indira, this question is my mind for quite sometime)
    Thanks 🙂

    Indira replies:
    Thanks Karthi.
    For paste, I am currently using the coffee grinder. Finely chop chillies and add grated coconut. Coffee grinder works fine for a small batch. I usually clean it with a paper towel afterwards.
    I’ve Sumit mixie, but small jar is not working.:)

    Comment by Karthi Kannan — May 31, 2006 @ 10:11 am

  16. Slightly off topic but do you know where I can purchase kafir lime leaves online? I live in a small city in Ontario and can’t find them anywhere here.

    Indira replies:
    Hi Jen, I’ve no clue. Sorry.

    Comment by Jen — May 31, 2006 @ 2:57 pm

  17. Indira,
    I became a fan of your website. You have the same cooking style as my mom or mil back home (reg. traditional andhra recipes). I am from Kurnool and my husband is from Nandyal. We were very excited when we first viewed your website. For any traditional recipe, I know where to hop. I tried this recipe and it turned out very good. Your idea of mixing 3 beans is really great. I appreciate your effort for such a great blog. I will keep looking into your blog 🙂


    Comment by Subha — June 1, 2006 @ 3:35 pm

  18. Hey Indira,

    Love this recipe. I tried it and it came out pretty good. Except it did not look a little reddish like yours does…Do you also add Red Chilli powder ( or some kind of podi…). Love your pictures!


    Comment by Latha — June 1, 2006 @ 4:25 pm

  19. Hi Indira,

    Thats a nice recipe with beans. Well, I just had french beans n carrots in my fridge. so, tried this recipe with carrot n beans n turned out great. Thanks a lt for sharing such delicious recipes. I visit ur website everyday n really like ur recipes.


    Comment by Shalini — June 2, 2006 @ 4:22 am

  20. What is the botanical name for the indian beans grown in kolar around november-december

    Comment by lekha — August 7, 2006 @ 2:46 pm

  21. We had some guests for dinner last night and I tried this recipe. It was amazingly good. I cannot believe that something good can be done with such a simple vegetable. Keep up the good work..I love your website, the pictures and all the recipes..even though I havent tried everything. Thanks.

    Comment by Anonymous — November 28, 2006 @ 1:31 pm

  22. Hi Indira,
    I discovered your website last night when I was trying to find out how to prepare lemon cucumber, and I am so impressed with both your talents as a cook, as a food stylist and as a writer. Reading your blog is such a delight, and I already got inspired to follow some of your recipes. I am originally from Ukraine, but I spent some time in India, and I enjoy cooking Indian food very much. Therefore, I made the recipe above for today’s dinner, and it was wonderful. I used a combination of round valor, flat valor and green chickpeas. Thank you for sharing your recipes, and I look forward to reading your blog frequently!

    Indira replies:
    Hi Victoria,
    Thanks for the nice words about Mahanandi and me. I greatly appreciate it!
    Glad to hear that you tried and liked this recipe. It is also one of my favorite curries.

    Comment by Victoria — January 7, 2007 @ 7:17 pm

  23. Hi Indira,

    Both me and my wife are great fans of your wonderful site! We have been wanting to make the broad beans curry, but are unable to find it in the market here (SF bay area, CA). Can you tell where you buy broad beans – Indian store, some other store, canned/frozen/fresh?

    Thanks & Regards,

    Comment by Sudesh — February 26, 2007 @ 2:20 pm

  24. Indira garu,
    In most of the curries you use coconut powder.. made to fine paste with chillies.
    Is it frozen grated coconut ?? or the coconut powder? from Indian groceries..I tried some of your recepies with frozen coconut..ex chayote with carrots and potato.It didn’t came out like the one in picture(dry),turned out like mudda because of its moisture…Please help me out..

    Comment by Sudha — February 25, 2008 @ 1:24 pm

  25. I made this curry for dinner and it turned out tasty and different.I liked this variation.Thanks for sharing it with all of us

    Comment by Siri — March 1, 2008 @ 10:11 pm

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