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Red Beans Potpourri in a Tamarind-Balsamic Vinegar Sauce Recipe

Updated on April 9, 2018
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This exotic-sounding recipe is a strong and vibrant combination of red beans, onion, carrots, celery, prunes, balsamic vinegar, and tamarind paste heralding from Georgia. Tamarind paste, prunes, and balsamic vinegar dominate the taste of it, with sweetness balanced by the strength of the vinegar, and all complemented by the beans. It makes for a very hearty, filling, and pretty meal, one which can serve as an excellent side-dish to any recipe. In fact, with some additional vegetables and some meat, it would be a fine one-dish meal all of its own! But as it stands it makes for a lovely change from a regular bean dish or a vegetable dish, with the exotic flavors melding together into a strong, sweet, and balanced combination.

As with quite a number of my recipes I have adapted this from Please to the Table, The Russian Cookbook, by Anya von Bremzen. A thoroughly superb cookbook, I recommend it heavily to everyone.

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  • 16 oz can red beans (pinto beans)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 celery rib
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 6 pitted dried prunes
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons tamarind concentrate
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese chili and garlic sauce
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves, (and some additional for garnish)
  • 1/4 teaspoon, ground fenugreek
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste


  1. Combine together the red beans, the carrots, celery, and onions, in a saucepan. Add just enough water to cover them all and liberally season with salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, place the 6 pitted dried prunes and the balsamic vinegar in a small non-reactive saucepan. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. After 15 minutes, remove the prunes from the balsamic vinegar, and chop finely. Add the tamarind paste to the balsamic vinegar and mix together and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
  4. Drain the red beans, carrots, celery, and onions, and place into a serving bowl.
  5. Combine together the balsamic vinegar-tamarind paste, chopped prunes, coriander, olive oil, garlic-chili sauce, and the fenugreek, and mix together. Toss the vegetables-beans with it in the bowl.Correct seasonings with salt and pepper, and add in the cilantro, reserving a bit for a garnish. Either serve hot, or allow to cool to be a cold dish.

© 2018 Ryan Thomas


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