If you’ve never had pinto beans prepared in a Persian style before, I don’t blame you for underestimating and looking down at pinto beans. This particular dish in Persian is called “Loobia Chiti” as “Loobia" meaning bean, and “chiti" is the Persian name for Pinto. In Iran, Loobia Chiti is considered a vegetarian meal, side dish, appetizer, or even a salad when served cold.
This dish is one of the most unpretentious and yet a desired one throughout the country(Iran), and I would assume it is the best selling can food to this day. Everyone I grew up with loved this dish, as much as they made fun of it! Yes, every body made fun of it, because it gives the body gas and bloating! but the taste is so worth it.
Speaking of which, I strongly recommend soaking overnight or even better, soaking for 24 hours. When the beans are soaked long enough, couple of good things happen. One, they cook faster. Two, their texture after cooking is really soft inside-out; not soaking long enough will results in beans that are too soft outside and stiffy inside. Third, soaking does help reduce bloating but not drastically, I guess we just have to accept to appreciate beans for what they are.
1 lb pinto beans, picked over, rinsed and soaked overnight or up to 24 hours
1 large carrot, chopped to 3 pieces
6 cloves garlic
2-3 pieces bay leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered
1 medium yellow onion, small diced
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 cup tomato paste
1 tsp turmeric
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar or raw cane sugar
Drain the soaked beans and place in a large pot. Fill the pot with 6 to 7 cups of water. 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. Midway through its cooking (after 30 minutes), add kosher salt to season, but do not over season.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a medium frying pan, and add the diced onions. Season with salt and black pepper, 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 the raw tomato taste. Set aside.
When the beans are tender, add the onion mixture, vinegar, and sugar. Stir every thing together and with no lid, let it simmer on low heat for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. When the texture of the dish thickens, taste for additional seasoning. Serve hot with steamed basmati rice or fresh bread.
- For the best result, soak the beans up to 24 hours and drain the water up to 3 times, and pour new batch of water, string the beans every time. If you soak longer than overnight, place the pot in a cool area and avoid direct heat or sun light.
- This dish refrigerates really well up to 2 weeks. Just put it in a tight lid container and place in the cold part of refrigerator.