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An Irish recipe for curried butter beans from All in the Cooking.

The beans were intended for service with rice as an economical main dish in the impoverished Ireland of 1946. The homely and appealing curry also makes an excellent side or part of a set of western curries for dinner.



  • ½ lb butter beans
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 10 oz Irish curry sauce (the recipe is on the homepage of this Number and in the practical)
  • cayenne
  • chopped cilantro




  1. Soak the beans with the soda overnight.
  2. Strain the beans, bring them to a boil in fresh cold water, skim the surface and simmer the beans until tender, usually in about 2½ to 3 hours.
  3. Drain the beans ruthlessly, sauce them and return them to a simmer for a scant half hour.
  4. Stir in some cayenne and serve the beans with the cilantro.



For a fast weeknight dish use canned butter beans; Goya is the best American brand. Adjust the mount of sauce to film rather than drown the amount of beans you want to cook.

The original recipe specifies parsley, which works, instead of cilantro.

Curiously enough, butter beans are the only vegetable that the authors of All in the Cooking chose to curry in 1946. They did include recipes for curries of beef, fish, mutton and rabbit but not chicken. No kedgeree or mulligatawny either.