Loobia Chiti or pinto-bean-stew is an Iranian popular dish, and it is enjoyed as asappetizer, salad, or even vegetarian main entree. Loobia means bean and chiti is the persian name for Pinto. In Iran, Loobia chiti is one of the best-selling can foods just like the Bush's baked bean is in US! But wait, don't underestimate this dish by assuming it is another variation of bean sides you have had before! No it is not. This one is totally different powered by the tangy tomato paste sauce.
Now let's get a bit scientific here about beans without making a big deal:
- Buy your legumes from a high turnover grocery store. An old bag of beans could not be revived even if soaked for a week.
- Sort and pick through the beans by spreading them on a tray. Look for stones and debris to discard.
- Soak Pinto beans at least overnight up to 24 hours.
- Use a slow cooker if available. This will ensure that smooth texture everyone is after.
For the beans
1 lb pinto beans, picked over, rinsed and soaked overnight or up to 24 hours
1 large carrot, chopped to 3 pieces
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered
6 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
2-3 pieces bay leaves
Water for cooking
2 tbsp kosher salt
For the sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, small diced
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/3 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 or 2 tbsp brown or white sugar
Drain the soaked beans and place in a large pot. Fill the pot with enough water to cover 1 inch over the beans. Add the quartered onions, carrots, garlics, and bay leaves. Bring the water to boil over high heat, and then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover with lid and cook until beans are tender, about 1 1/2 hours, stirring it occasionally. Three quarters of the way through cooking (after 60 minutes), add kosher salt to season and continue cooking.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a medium frying pan, and add the diced onions. Season with salt and sauté until lightly golden about 5-7 minutes. Add the tomato paste, turmeric, and cayenne pepper, stirring everything together and sauté for 2-3 more minutes to cook off the raw tomato taste. Set aside.
When the beans are tender, remove the chunks of carrots, onion, bay leaves and add the onion mixture, vinegar, and sugar. Stir everything together and let it simmer on low heat for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. When the texture of the dish thickens and sets, taste for additional seasoning. Serve hot or cold.
- For best result, soak beans up to 24 hours at room temperature, and refresh soaking water every 8 hours, stirring the beans around.
- To use slow cooker, check the manual's recommended setting time for beans. Salt should be added three quarters of the way through cooking. The tomato sauce should be added after beans are soft and one hour additional cooking time should be added for the tomato sauce and beans to set.
- Vegetable broth can be substituted for real veggies if desired.
- This dish refrigerates well up to one week.