Black-Eyed Beans with Mushrooms

This recipe comes originally from Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cookery, and is one I often turn to when vegans or vegetarians are expected at the restaurant. It is so good that we always cook at least four times the amount given below, so that there is certain to be plenty left over for the staff lunch. It’s worth noting that although the quantity of beans may be increased fourfold, they require only 3.6 litres/6 pints of water, not the 4.8 litres/8 pints that you might expect.

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  • 225 g/8 oz dried black-eyed beans
  • 1.2 litres/2 pints cold water
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 2.5 cm/1 inch piece of cinnamon stick
  • 150 g/5 oz onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 225 g/8 oz mushrooms
  • 1 × 400 g/14 oz can tomatoes, chopped, and their juice
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons chopped coriander or parsley


Pick over the beans, throwing out any stones or pieces of grit. Wash and drain. Put into a pan with the water, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave to stand for 1 hour, still covered. Bring back to the boil and simmer for 20–30 minutes, until the beans are just tender. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole and add the whole cumin seeds and the cinnamon stick. Fry for 10 seconds or so, then add the onions and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes, until brown. Halve the mushrooms if large, otherwise keep them whole, and add to the casserole with the tomatoes, the remaining spices and the salt. Simmer gently for 10 minutes. Tip the beans into the casserole with their cooking water. Simmer, uncovered, for a further 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings, sprinkle with coriander or parsley and serve with bread to mop up the juices.