Quality Living Styles

Celebrating Mothers

A Collection of Favorite Recipes from our Mothers

my mother, Parvathey Sewpal

Parvathey Sewpal

Sugar Beans/ Pinto Beans Curry

As children we really looked forward to dinner whenever my mother cooked sugar beans. It was delicious: soft beans, with a thick spicy gravy & potatoes that would melt to the touch. We often ate it with white bread that just soaked up the gravy.

We also enjoyed eating sugar beans, (which is very similar to Pinto Beans), served with Rotis and Puris. A very popular salad that is often paired with sugar beans curry, is Carrot Salad.

On this Mothers Day, we share her cooking expertise by publishing the first of many of her recipes. Here is the recipe for Sugar Beans Curry


  • 3 cups dried sugar beans/pinto (yields about 7 cups when boiled)
  • ½tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tblsp. cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon fennel powder
  • 2 tablespoons coriander powder
  • ½cup sliced onions
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 4 tsps. crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp. crushed ginger
  • 2 sliced Roma tomatoes or 1 cup crushed canned tomato
  • 1 potato, peeled and quartered
  • 1 tblsp. salt
  • 5 tblsp. canola oil
  • water to be used as necessary
  • 2" piece of cinnamon stick


  • Pick beans and remove debris. Wash, then boil until soft. A pressure cooker takes about 20-30min. Include cinnamon stick when boiling.
  • When boiled save the water
  • Peel potato & cut in quarters
  • Slice onion, peel wash and crush garlic & ginger. Wash & slice tomatoes
  • Heat oil, add onion. When soft add ginger & garlic, then tomatoes
  • Cook until mushy. Add spices & mix
  • If adding potato do so now. Mix
  • Add beans and blend with spices
  • Add the water it was boiled in. Add salt
  • Allow to cook , stir occasionally, add more water if contents are too dry, 1 cup at a time
  • Water should now be sort of thick. You can also mash some of the beans (or potato if using), to create a nice gravy
  • Adjust for salt and spiciness. Should be cooked in about 20 minutes.
  • Serve with rice, bread and a salad
cooked beans

Delicious Sugar/Pinto Beans

beans cooking on stove

Beans with a Potato Cooking in Pot

boiled beans ready for cooking

Beans Boiled & Ready to be cooked

Sugar Beans is a popular dish in South Africa. It is often served at pre-wedding functions and most family gatherings. It is also popular in Bunny Chows, a sort of street food. A loaf of bread may be divided into halves or quarters, the soft centers of the bread are removed & replaced with curries, including sugar beans. A bit of carrot salad is also added. It is then closed with some of the bread that was removed. This is wrapped served as a take away or eaten in a restaurant.

About My Mother

My mother cooked a variety of delicious meals, including desserts, & Indian breads like roti and puri. She started cooking at a very early age as she was the eldest child and helped her parents take care of her siblings. She was also an excellent entrepreneur, working hard, to earn her own income. Despite many setbacks in her life, she was strong, with a will to succeed.

She was a caring person and often helped in the education of others who were struggling to pay fees. She was generous to her children as well. Although my mother passed away more than 10 years ago, her memory is still alive in all of us. Publishing her recipes is one way of ensuring that her cooking expertise is recognized and available for all to enjoy.

If you have any questions, comments, or would like to celebrate your mother as well, submit a recipe of your own via email to me, Nirmala, at:

You may also reach me via the: Contact Form

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