Refried Beans


Per Wiki, re-fried beans is mashed and cooked beans and is a staple in Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisines.

I heard of re-fried beans during my bachelorette years in the U.S. Initially I thought that they were some kind of fried beans and I wondered how they managed to fry beans? I imagined green beans smothered in some kind of batter and fried! And why refried I wondered? Do they fry them twice?

I got my answers when I found out that refried beans were actually kidney or pinto beans(usually pinto beans – the light pink variety of beans) mashed and cooked in mexican spices. This yummy concoction is often used in their burritos or fajitas and my personal favorite quesadillas. When I had my very own kitchen to play (those were the days!) I tried creating quesadillas with some home-made re-fried beans. I am not a big fan of store brought ready food plus being a Taurian I have the patience of bull when it comes to creating anything. I made this again recently for a Sunday lunch and it was stuffed into quesadillas [with home-made tortillas of course] and  served with Mexican rice. The recipes for the quesadillas and mexican rice shall follow but here is my version of the recipe for re-fried beans without the frying  🙂

  • 1 cup of red kidney beans a.k.a Rajma
  • 1 medium sized onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped / mashed
  • 2 small-medium sized tomatoes Tomatoes pureed. You can also use them finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • Cumin Powder – 1.5 tbsp
  • Mexican Spice Seasoning – 2 tsp. I discovered this at Nuts and Spices while I was looking for Chipotle and paprika seasoning  Don’t worry if you don’t have this. This is fusion food after all
  • Red Chilli Powder – 1 tsp
  • Olive oil – 2tbsp

You are all set to get your beans going…..

  • Wash and soak the kidney beans overnight and pressure cook them for about 4-5 whistles the next day
  • Add some olive oil to a hot pan and dump the mashed garlic and onions. Add a pinch of salt and saute them until the onions start turning transparent /golden brown
  • Add the tomato puree, followed by the dry spices and cook until the gravy starts leaving the sides of the pan
  • Drain the kidney beans but save some of the water in which they were cooked! This could be a great stock to prepare soups and other curries 🙂
  • Add the kidney beans to the onion-tomato mixture and mix well to incorporate the spices. Do a quick taste check and adjust the seasoning as per your taste.
  • Now add some of the water in which the kidney beans were cooked and mash beans with a masher or the back of your cooking spoon. I prefer a rough mash though I have found that many recipes mash the beans to a paste which is good too. You can just run you mixture in a food processor or a mixer once they are cooked for a fine paste 
  • One the beans have been mashed cook well until the mixture starts turning dry. Switch of the stove and you are done.
  • Your re-fried beans are read to use

Take care not to dry it out this paste too much as you may end up with a bean paste that is hard to spread. You also need to take care that the mixture is not too soggy as this may lead to a soggy mess of your quesadillas or fajita

I also discovered that these are great as dips for veggies, spreads for sandwiches and chapathis which can be eaten as wraps. Now this is what I call eating healthy 🙂 

And if you are still interested on why this recipe is called re-fried beans, here is some information


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