Coconut Kidney Bean Curry

This curry started as an experiment in college; I liked Thai curries that used coconut milk, but I wasn’t always feeling like cooking a meat for the curry, and I wanted some sort of protein base; and I liked Indian curries, especially bean-based ones. So, after some searching, and some thinking, I ended up trying out a version of this dish. It was a success, and years later, I still cook this dish regularly–but how I do it has changed a lot as I’ve learned more about assembling recipes.


  • 1/2-3/4 cup dry kidney beans
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2-3 chili peppers, minced (I use jalapeño, Fresno, or Serrano as I feel like it)
  • 1 inch ginger, minced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced or mashed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 can coconut milk or coconut cream
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Herbs and spices:
    • Cayenne pepper
    • Turmeric
    • Cumin
    • Coriander seed
    • Bay leaf
    • Curry leaf (optional)
    • 2" segment of lemongrass


I’ll generally cook the beans with plenty of water, a bay leaf, a separate segment of lemongrass, and a peeled knob of ginger. While the beans are cooking, chop up the vegetables, and just have them on hand. Once the beans are done, strain them out and reserve the liquid, then quickly wipe out the pan and put the oil in; once it’s hot, add the onions, then toss the salt on. Let the onions soften and lightly caramelize before adding your peppers, and once they’ve softened, add the ginger, garlic, and spices, before deglazing with some water, or your preferred alcohol. Add the beans and coconut milk, then re-add bean liquid until you’ve reached an appropriate level.


This goes great on rice, and will serve 4.