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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

My Spicy Lima beans

Long time ago when I was visiting my brother in Italy, he took me to this neighborhood family restaurant. Needless to say that the brick oven baked pizza was out of this world. Also with their fresh out of the oven, warm Italian bread I tried the Lima beans made with simple ingredients like olive oil, garlic, onions and fresh tomatoes. I just fell in love with the Lima beans. Before that I never tried them in my life. Then I read up more on Lima beans and found out that they are really good for you. Here are some facts about Lima beans from Wikipedia.

Phaseolus lunatus is a legume. It is grown for its seed, which is eaten as a vegetable. It is commonly known as the lima bean or butter bean; it is also known as Haba bean, Pallar bean, Burma bean, Guffin bean, Hibbert bean, Sieva bean, Rangoon bean, Madagascar bean, Paiga, Paigya, prolific bean, civet bean, sugar bean, Etchells Bean or đậu ngự (Vietnamese).

The high fibre content in Lima beans prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after eating them. This is due to the presence of large amounts of absorption-slowing Etchells in the beans, and their high soluble fiber content. Soluble fiber absorbs water in the stomach forming a gel that slows down the metabolism of the bean's carbohydrates.

They can therefore help balance blood sugar levels while providing steady, slow-burning energy, which makes them a good choice for people with diabetes suffering with insulin resistance.

Soluble fiber binds with the bile acids that form cholesterol and, because it is not absorbed by the intestines, it exits the body taking the bile acids with it. As a result, the cholesterol level is lowered. They may therefore help to prevent heart disease, and may reduce the medical dosage required to combat cholesterol in the form of natural food.

Lima beans also provide folate and magnesium. Folate lowers levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that is an intermediate product in an important metabolic process called the methylation cycle. Elevated blood levels of homocysteine are an independent risk factor for heart attack, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease.

The magnesium content of lima beans is a calcium channel blocker. When enough magnesium is present veins and arteries relax, which reduces resistance and improves the flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.

After I came back to States, I started making Lima beans/Butter beans as side dish. I tried to make them the same way from the taste that I remembered from that restaurant. However I have to make them spicy by adding some chili peppers to my taste. I serve them with Pita bread but you can serve them with Naan or Italian bread. Here is my recipe to prepare Lima beans or Butter beans.

This recipe yields 4 servings.


* 1 can of large Lima beans with its liquid (or Butter beans)

* 5 cloves of garlic

* 1/2 red onion

* 2 fresh Jalapeno peppers (or to taste)

* 1 cup of crushed tomatoes from can

* 1/4 cup of olive oil

* 1 and half teaspoon of salt or to taste

* 1 teaspoon of paprika powder

* 1/4 cup of water

* 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper or to taste

* 1/2 teaspoon of crushed black pepper

* 2 tbl spoon of lemon juice

* 2 tablespoon of chopped Cilantro leaves


* Grind onions, jalapenos and garlic in food processor to desired consistency, I like it finely chopped but not to a paste.

* Heat oil in a pan.

* Add onion, garlic and jalapenos.

* Saute for 2-3 min.

* Add paprika and saute for few more seconds.

* Add crushed tomatoes and salt.

* Add Lima beans with its liquid from can.

* Add water.

* Cook for 5 min on slow heat.

* Add lemon juice, cayenne pepper powder and ground black pepper.

* Cook for another min or two.

* Turn the heat off.

* Garnish with Cilantro.

* Serve hot with Pita bread or Naan or with loaf of warm Italian bread.


Lima Beans description source:

Recipe and Photographs by Surekha.

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