So why do we actually soak the beans before making Durban Sugar Bean Curry?


I know that we have always just soaked the sugar beans, without thinking, before cooking them – but why do we do it?

Here’s a brief summary:

The practice of soaking beans, including sugar beans, overnight is rooted in two main reasons:

  1. Reducing cooking time: Soaking helps to soften the beans, making them cook faster and more evenly.
  2. Improving digestibility: Soaking beans helps to breakdown complex sugars, notably oligosaccharides, which can cause gas and bloating. Thus, soaked beans are generally easier on the stomach.

Note: Many people add a teaspoon of bicarb to the water when they pre-boil the beans, this helps to soften them, as well as with the gas sometimes associated with beans.

There are also some myths associated with soaking beans, which are worth noting:

  • Although soaked beans do cook faster, the difference in cooking time compared to un-soaked beans is not drastic. In a test, un-soaked pinto beans finished cooking only 10 minutes later than soaked beans. (Shane’s note: *** however, after soaking sugar beans for about 24 hours, they boiled soft in 20 mins, as opposed normally about 2 hours. I was using AMC pot, so maybe that had something to do with it.)
  • The quick-soak method, where beans are brought to a boil and then left to soak in the water for an hour, resulted in beans with great flavor and texture. This method didn’t significantly reduce the cooking time, but the beans had the best flavor among different methods tested.

Here are the sources I used for the information above:

  1. “Soaking Beans Overnight – Do You Refrigerate? [Solved]” from FoodandFizz:
  2. “4 Reasons Why You Should Soak Your Beans” from VegFAQs:
  3. “How to Soak Beans Quickly—And Why You Should” from Epicurious:

Besides being on of Durban’s favourite dishes, Sugar Beans are super healthy for you.

  1. Nutrition: Beans, in general, are an excellent source of protein and dietary fiber. They also contain various vitamins and minerals such as iron, potassium, and folate.
  2. Digestive health: Beans can support digestive health due to their high fiber content. They can aid in preventing constipation and promoting regular bowel movements.
  3. Heart health: The fiber, potassium, and magnesium in beans can contribute to heart health. They can help lower cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and decrease the risk of various heart diseases.
  4. Blood sugar control: Beans have a low glycemic index which means they cause a slower rise in blood sugar levels compared to other high-carbohydrate foods. This makes them a good choice for people with diabetes.
  5. Weight management: The high fiber and protein content in beans can increase feelings of fullness and may help with weight management.
  6. Cancer prevention: Some studies have suggested that a high intake of beans can be associated with a reduced risk of certain types of cancer due to their high antioxidant content.

Cooking a Durban Sugar Bean Curry is really easy using our amazing, Original Blend all-in-one Masala.


  • 100ml Sunflower Oil
  • 1 Large Onion / or 2 medium (Finely Sliced)
  • 4 Tablespoons Durban Curry Lovers, ORIGINAL BLEND Masala
  • 1 Tablespoon Ginger & Garlic (optional)
  • 2 Large Tomatoes, finely chopped
  • Pre Boiled Beans (simmer until soft, retain the water)
  • 3 Potatoes (Cubed)
  • Curry Leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • Dhania Leaves (Coriander)


  • On a medium heat, add oil to pot
  • Add the chopped onions and sauté until soft
  • Add the ginger & garlic
  • Add the Masala and allow to gently fry
  • Add Tomatoes and sauté until your tomatoes have broken down into the gravy and the oil begins to separate.
  • Remove from the heat, add the Beans and mix well
  • Return to the heat, add the water from the beans until you have your required consistency. (The beans will suck up some water, so keep adding.
  • Add Curry leaves and salt to taste.
  • Add Potatoes, reduce the heat and allow to simmer until the potatoes are soft and fluffy and the beans delicious and ready to eat.
  • Taste for salt and garnish with Dhania leaves (coriander)
  • Serve plain, with rice, with roti, as a bunny chow, on slices of thick buttered bread or however you like.

Here is a recipe, using all the individual spices, such as dhania powder, jeera powder, chilli etc.

NOTE: If your beans are very soft and your potatoes are not soft cooking or you prefer bigger pieces, then you can add them before the beans and let them start to soften a bit before adding the beans.

Durban Sugar Bean Bunny Chow – yum, yum.