Cape Malay recipes/ Main courses

Cape Malay Sugar Bean bredie

Cape Malay Sugar Bean bredie

Cape Malay Sugar Bean bredie is a slow cooked lamb and bean stew that uses minimal spices, caramelised onions and meat on the bone, to add maximum flavor. It is a favorite winter meal eaten with rice or bread but can also be easily be made into a hearty soup.

Whenever I return home to Cape Town, summer or winter, there must be Cape Malay Sugar Bean bredie on the menu, because it’s a taste of home like no other.

This is one of the main courses that has two camps of flavor profiles. On the one side we have those who love their Cape Malay Sugar Bean bredie on the sweet side, adding copious amounts of sugar. On the other side we have those who add little or no sugar, resulting in a rather sour end result. I prefer a bit of sugar but definitely not syrupy sweet, it is food after all and not dessert.

The closest that I have tasted to my mother’s Cape Malay Sugar Bean bredie was the Pasta e Fagioli (pasta and bean soup) at Carluccios in Dubai Marina Mall. Whenever I felt the need for a taste of my mother’s cooking I would go there and order a big bowl, then add a pinch of salt and sachet of sugar, and it tasted just like home!

Tips for the best Cape Malay Sugar Bean bredie ever

  1. There are different ways to cook dried beans, but for this recipe it is preferable that the beans be soaked overnight (12 hours) or at least 6 hours. This will reduce the hands on cooking time significantly and make the beans more digestible when they are cooked.
  2. Do not add salt to the beans when boiling them as it will cause the beans to toughen.
  3. Boiling the beans on the stove top in the traditional way will take between 1/2 – 2 hours, depending on how long they have been soaked.
  4. Cooking it this way does take much longer but one is able to check the doneness of the beans more accurately. While the beans are cooking you can start the stew and the braised meat should be done around the same time as the beans are soft.
  5. During the first boil of the beans there will be a lot of white foam on the top. Its just air trapped when the soaked beans release the indigestible sugars that cause flatulence. We rinse it to make the end result more digestible.
  6. If you decide to use a pressure cooker it should be cooked for no longer than 15 minutes under pressure. It can rather be slightly undercooked and finish cooking with the stew, than be pressurized to bean mash.

Even now, my favorite way to eat Cape Malay Sugar Bean bredie is with a few slices of fresh white bread, not rice. I love to break off pieces of bread and dip into the sauce or use the bread as a receptacle to scoop up some of the sauce. Pure bliss!

PS: Leftovers , IF ANY, taste even better the next day.

Cape Malay Sugar Bean bredie

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Cape Malay Sugar Bean bredie

Cape Malay Sugar Bean bredie

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Cape Malay
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Soaking time: 12 hours
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 358 kcal
Author: Razena Schroeder

Cape Malay Sugar Bean bredie is the quintessential comfort food, flavorsome and filling.

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Ingredients

  • 2.5 litre water, divided enough to cover the beans completely
  • 250 grams dried sugar beans (half white pinto beans), soaked overnight
  • 45 ml oil approximately 3 tablespoons
  • 280 grams onions, finely diced approximately 2 medium onions
  • 800 grams lamb pieces on the bone is best
  • 15 ml crushed garlic approximately 1 tablespoon
  • 1 medium tomato, grated
  • 15 ml tomato paste approximately 1 tablespoon
  • 3 green chillies, sliced use less if you want it less spicy
  • 5 ml salt adjust to taste
  • 1.25 ml black pepper, freshly ground adjust to taste
  • 30 ml granulated sugar approximately 2 tablespoons, adjust to taste

Instructions

Preparing the Beans

  1. Soak the beans overnight in 500 ml water or enough to cover the beans completely. Cover and refrigerate.

  2. The following day, rinse the beans and place them in a medium size pot. Cover with 1 liter cold water and bring to the boil. 

  3. Remove the beans from the heat as soon as it boils, decant into a colander then rinse under running water.  

  4. Rinse any scum from the pot then put the beans back in and cover with fresh water again and bring to the boil once more. 

  5. Reduce the heat and cook gently for 1 1/2 hours or until fully cooked and soft. Add more water if required. See notes for alternative cooking method.

  6. Do not strain the cooked beans and set aside until ready to use. 

Making the stew

  1. While the beans are cooking, heat the oil in a medium sized pot then add the onion and saute for 20 minutes on medium high until softened and beginning to caramelize. Do not let the onions burn.

  2. Add the lamb pieces and garlic and cook on medium low for another 25 minutes until the lamb is brown and the onions are disintegrating into a caramel color sauce. 

    Lamb knuckles for Cape Malay Sugar Bean bredie
  3. Add grated tomato, tomato paste, chillies, and salt and cook on low for a further 40 minutes until the meat is tender but not falling apart. If it gets too dry add one cup of the beans cooking liquid.

    Vegetables for Cape Malay Sugar Bean bredie
  4. Add the beans and sugar with the remaining cooking liquid and cook together for a further 10 - 20 minutes or until the flavors have melded.

  5. Adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper, as required.

  6. Serve with cooked basmati rice or fresh bread and tomato and onion salad.

Recipe Notes

  • You can also use a pressure cooker to cook the beans according to the manufacturer's instructions. In this case do not add all the beans cooking liquid to the stew when adding the beans as it may not have reduced enough as with slower cooking.
  • Do not add salt to beans when boiling because it will toughen them.
  • The cooked beans can be frozen for up to 6 months.
  • The cooked stew can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Nutrition Facts
Cape Malay Sugar Bean bredie
Amount Per Serving
Calories 358 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 22%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 86mg 29%
Sodium 346mg 14%
Potassium 712mg 20%
Total Carbohydrates 24g 8%
Dietary Fiber 5g 20%
Sugars 8g
Protein 31g 62%
Vitamin A 4.2%
Vitamin C 12.9%
Calcium 4.8%
Iron 19.5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Cape Malay Sugar Bean bredie PIN

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14 Comments

  • Reply
    OPHALYN LEE
    June 13, 2018 at 9:32 am

    OOOMMMGGG!!! Mouthwatering:) Do you deliver? haha Just kidding. But for sure I will have to try this. Another on my list:)
    xoxo
    Ophalyn @letmommybe

  • Reply
    Dominique L Kemper
    June 9, 2018 at 7:39 pm

    That looks so delicious!!! I love Lamb I have never made it personally but when others make it, it is amazing. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I will have to give it a try!

  • Reply
    Dana
    June 8, 2018 at 7:11 pm

    Oh, I am badly craving for this. This is so good, this will be a huge hit! This would disappear in no time at our house!

  • Reply
    Vasundhra
    June 8, 2018 at 12:05 pm

    The best part about this recipe is that I can easily make a vegetarian version which I am sure will taste delicious. I generally make a similar recipe with beans but the addition of sugar has made this recipe really interesting.

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      June 9, 2018 at 3:28 pm

      Somehow we always tend to add a small bit of sugar to anything that contains copious amounts of acidity like tomatoes or vinegar.

  • Reply
    Katie Kinsley
    June 7, 2018 at 3:25 pm

    There are times that I enjoy the flavor of lamb, but other times I find it too game-y in a recipe. I bet the meat on bone really soaks up additional flavors to relax the strength of wild meat, especially with carmelized onions.

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      June 7, 2018 at 3:58 pm

      I’ve been eating lamb regularly since I was a child so never quite understood until recently what people meant when they mentioned the gameyness of lamb. I suspect that overpowering gamey flavor is most prevalent in meat that has been aged for a long time because I have never smelled it on freshly slaughtered meat or recently slaughtered meat. Leaving the meat on the bone does intensify the flavor because the cooking liquid becomes like a stock when you add vegetables.

  • Reply
    Nora
    June 7, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    Oh yum, that looks absolutely delicious and mouthwatering! I love your photos of that food as well. Btw how did you make that nutritional value chart at the end? It looks very pretty and professional!

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      June 7, 2018 at 2:17 pm

      Thank you! The nutritional chart is included in the WP recipe maker elite bundle plugin and is quite easy to use once you get the hang of it.

  • Reply
    Elizabeth O
    June 7, 2018 at 12:04 pm

    This looks like such a lovely recipe. I would veto the meat as a veggie but really enjoy the rest for sure. It looks like proper comfort food indeed!

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      June 7, 2018 at 12:58 pm

      It’s entirely possible to make this meat free too. Just skip the meat steps and add the beans to the braised onions and other items.

  • Reply
    mommy b
    June 7, 2018 at 9:09 am

    This food looks enticing! I haven’t tried any lamb yet, so I’m quite intrigue how does it taste like. 🙂

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