Avre Bendi (Navy Beans in a Coconut, Chilly and Tamarind curry)

Avre Bendi

Avre = Navy Beans

Bendi = a spicy coconut, chilly and tamarind concoction.

and thus, Avre Bendi.

The beauty about so many of konkani curries are the fact that they use just these 3 ingredients, but just by varying the quantity of each or grounding it coarsely or finely, they change the taste and the texture of the curry. The second thing I love about these curries is that there is not much of sauteing or bhunoing involved. You cook the beans in the pressure cooking for upto 3 whistles and while that is happening you grind up the coconut, chillies and tamarind. Add the paste to the cooked beans with salt and bring to boil. Season. Thats it. I mean, all of this doesn’t take more than 10 mins. On the days that I make an authentic konkani meal, I finish all of the cooking– a curry, rice and a side dish in 20 minutes. Using all four burners at the same time, of course. Heck, I could give Rachel Ray a run for her money. 🙂

Beans are the biggest source of protein in many predominantly vegetarian cuisine. While, konkani cuisine is famous for its seafood preparations, it is not part of the everyday food. Except, by choice, that is. So, mostly,the daily food is rice, beans and a vegetable together with buttermilk. A complete meal. As I said before, the curries are defined by the quantities used and the texture into which it is ground. In the case of bendi, less of the coconut, more of the chillies and tamarind and ground into a fine paste. Bendi’s are seasoned with garlic. 

The recipe…

1 cup navy beans soaked over night and cooked till soft

1/4 cup grated coconut

8-10 dried red chillies

1/2 tsp tamarind paste / marble sized piece of tamarind , if using actual pods

3-4 garlic cloves


oil for seasoning and roasting chillies

Roast the chillies in a little bit of oil on a low flame. You know they are roasted when they loose the wrinkly look and puff up. Cool them a little bit and then grind them up with coconut and tamarind into a fine paste. This takes some work , if you are using american blenders. Heat up the cooked beans till they start boiling, add the paste , salt and mix. The broth will start foaming and then settle down. The paste is cooked when all of the foam has died down. Remove from flame. Heat up oil and garlic together in a small pan. Never put garlic in hot oil. Always put it in the oil and then heat up the oil. This way the garlic cooks just enough and doesnt burn. Also, the oil gets infused with the garlic juices better. Add this tempering to the bendi and immediately cover up the pot. Mix the seasoning in before serving.

Today,I had these with boiled rice (parboiled rice in the US is just not the same). I used the ones I have from India. Most people in Mangalore still eat this rice as their daily rice. The younger generation, however, seem to prefer white rice. As for people like me, born and brought up in Bombay,white rice is daily rice and eating boiled rice is something that ups the exotic quotient.


9 thoughts on “Avre Bendi (Navy Beans in a Coconut, Chilly and Tamarind curry)

  1. Why you naughty girl…you never told me you were back!!
    Hope everything’s ok for you to cut short your visit. Good to have you with us again.
    Just read that dosa post. You take food porn to a whole new level 🙂

  2. Vee, I had not heard about Bendi before coming to US. Looks like it is very famous in SK. Few days back, one of my reader asked me about ‘Vaali bendi’. I thought she is talking about bhindi, as in Okra :(. Then I read about ‘Lima beans bendi’, but I never tried it. After reading your post, I am inspired now. I would try it today :D.

  3. Hi Vee,
    I’ve been to ur blog often but its my first time commenting. Avre Bendi looks delicious, I going to try it soon.
    And I dint see any event entry in ur post, if u like Avre bendi and the dosa’s cud be great entry’s for Sailu’s kitchen’s ‘Jihva for DAL’ having submissions on July 1st and Nandita’s ‘Weekend Breakfast Blogging’ event. The links are in my site too.
    Will come back for more recipes 🙂

  4. Ashwini, You didn’t Know??!!!?

    Shilpa, Bendi is my fave konkani curry. Try it,you will love it,too

    Krithika, Thank you

    Priya, Hey I participate in jihva. as for the breakfast thing, I was in india when that came up, so I didn’t know. Gimme some time to set up again!!!…

  5. What is Navy beans. Does it go by some other name here in the US or is this what it is called. Can you find it in Indian grocers here. I would like to try out this simple yummy looking recipe

    Meena, Navy Beans are white round beans that you would find at your regular grocery store. They look like smaller, more rounded version of dry lima beans. I haven’t seen it at any Indian store here. It is a bean used mainly in mangalore, Karnataka. I will email you the photo, if you still can’t find it.

  6. Hi,
    I remember eating Aure bendi. Grandma cooked exactly like yours. Thanks for invoking those memories.

    however I have a nagging doubt. maybe you can help. she also made koddel – especially with kulith (horse gram). What’s the difference between koddel and bendi?

    Hi Sonia,

    Welcome! I had the same doubt and my answer to it, though purely guesswork is that bendis are usually made with only the star ingredient while koddels usually have a bunch of other stuff (we call it ‘barshi’) like suran,dento, valli etc. At least, that was the way bendis and Koddels differed at my home. Do they differed the same way in yours?

  7. Some people do not use garlic for the bendi. The bendi will also taste much, much better if you put in 8-10 teppals when bringing the gravy to a boil.

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