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East: Chili Lima Beans with Fresh Dill (Dalna

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Beans/legum Chili Indian


  • Stephen Ceideburg
  • 1/4 c Large dried lima beans
  • 1/2 tb Light vegetable oil
  • 1/4 ts Cumin seeds
  • 1/2 c Chopped onion
  • 2 Garlic cloves, peeled, crushed
  • 1 Half-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1/2 c Peeled, chopped tomato
  • 2 tb Flaked coconut
  • 2 tb Chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 1/2 c Water
  • 1/4 ts Cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 ts Paprika
  • 1/2 ts Salt, or to taste
  • 1 tb Chopped fresh dill


Dalnas are the ingenious creations of cooks from Orissa, in eastern India. Traditionally, the dish is prepared with yellow mung beans, but I have created this recipe using readily obtainable large lima beans. To round out the menu, accompany this robust stew with rice pilaf.
Rinse lima beans. Soak in water to cover for 6 hours, or overnight. Drain and rinse again. Set aside.
Heat oil in a small heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add cumin, onion, garlic and ginger. Stir and cook until onion starts to brown, about 4 minutes. Add tomato, coconut and cilantro, reduce heat and cook until tomato is soft. Transfer to a blender, add 1/4 cup of the water and blend until smooth. (If necessary, add more water to facilitate blending.)
Combine beans, tomato-onion mixture and remaining water in a heavy 2 quart saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook until beans are tender, but still hold their shape, about 1 hour. Add cayenne, paprika and salt. Mix thoroughly. Garnish with fresh dill.
PER SERVING: 55 calories, 2 g protein, 7 g carbohydrate, 2 g fat (1 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 181 mg sodium, 3 g fiber.
Laxmi Hiremath writing in the San Francisco Chronicle, 6/24/92.
From Gemini's MASSIVE MealMaster collection at