Kidney Beans with Ground Turkey in thick gravy


Beans with ground meat


My Father-in-law is one of the most creative cooks that I have ever met. He started cooking for himself when my Mother-in-law passed away about 15 years back. Like all ‘good’ Indian wives, my Ma-in-law took care of Dad’s every need. When she succumbed to Breast Cancer all of a sudden, he was left adrift like a sailboat without a rudder in the middle of the sea. It was a very hard walk for him. It was just not the loneliness. It was also dealing with the immense dependence he had on his wife. It can be an extremely overwhelming journey, especially for a man who has been brought up with every chauvinistic value available to mankind.


turkey with beans


To unlearn all that, and then to pick up the sails to navigate the boat can be a very tough job. He did all that and more. Not only did he learn to look after himself with aplomb, he learned to cook from scratch, and discovered a passion. He does not even realize that he is a true original recipe developer. He works with his spices, observes cooking methods of people, integrates new components and takes pride in having a very distinctive style of his own.

Though my Mom is a fabulous cook too (and I possibly have inherited some of her great cooking genes) but I credit my Father in law with the passion that I have developed over the years to create signature dishes of my own. Having picky eaters help. Only the best pass the table salt test, so it’s a constant war to innovation, a struggle to find variety with limited ingredients. My husband though, remains my greatest champion, and I love him to pieces.

When Dad is visiting us, it is literally a food fest. We both love to cook, and it’s a long discussion on menu that often fill our days. When he is back in India, often, Dad calls me up and we discuss recipes, what he has discovered lately, and how he has created something which he loves. So when he asked me to try cooking kidney beans with ground goat meat, I knew I had to try it. My Mom cooks chick peas with ground goat meat and it’s a fabulous preparation, but I had never tried kidney beans with ground meat.


Cooking gravy


I dug into the freezer only to realize I didn’t have any ground goat meat, but I did have ground turkey. I know that in US, chilli is cooked much in the same fashion, but I have never eaten some because I don’t eat beef.


Kidney beans gravy


I treated it fairly simple. I cooked the beans and the turkey separately, but I kept the gravy base for both more or less same. Question is, why separately? Because ground meat cooks faster than beans, and needs to brown. Kidney beans too need to soak in the gravy by themselves for a while. It’s easier to achieve this if you cook them separately.


Kidney beans chili


To give it a little different touch, I used two very distinctive Indian masala (curry powders). Chana masala powder and Meat masala powder. You can buy both at any Indian grocery store in your locality. But even if you skip these, the dish will still be one amazing eat. I can guarantee that because my Father in law does not use any of them in his kidney beans – ground meat gravy.

wine, turkey and beans



Might I say this turned out to be one the best dishes ever to come out of my kitchen? It was that delicious. I can’t wait to make it again.


Kidney Beans with Ground Turkey
  • 2 Big Onions sliced fine
  • 1 cup ground turkey
  • 1 cup kidney beans
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste (or puree)
  • 1 tbsp. ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (red chili powder)
  • 2" stick cinnamon
  • 2 cardamom pods whole
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 Thai green chilies or 2 jalapeno
  • ½ cup coriander leaves for garnish
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 tsp chana masala
  • 1 tsp meat masala (I use MDH brand)
Divide all spices into two equal parts - 1 part for beans, the other for ground meat.
  1. Soak the beans overnight and boil them with 1 tsp salt and enough water till they are soft. Alternatively, you can use canned kidney beans too.
  2. Heat oil in a deep pan (that has a lid), and fry half of onions.
  3. Add ½ tbsp ginger garlic paste and 1 green chili
  4. Now add half of each of these spices: cumin, coriander, cayenne, chana masala and meat masala.
  5. Stir for a minute, then add tomato paste.
  6. Stir in the beans and cook for 5 minutes till oil starts leaving sides.
  7. Transfer to a dish, clean the pan and get ready to cook the meat.
Ground turkey
  1. Heat oil and add onions.
  2. When they start turning golden, add meat.
  3. Repeat step 3 to 5 from above.
  4. Stir and fry the meat till nicely browned.
  5. Add 1 cup of water.
  6. Cook till the meat is fully cooked.
  7. Add back the kidney beans.
  8. Stir both of them together on high flame for 30 seconds.
  9. Add cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, bay leaf.
  10. Lower the flame, and cover.
  11. Cook on the sim for 10 minutes. Add a little water if needed.
  12. Uncover, and check the gravy. It should show oil leaving sides.
  13. Pop in rest of the green chilies.
  14. Garnish with coriander leaves.
Serve rolled in a tortilla, with rice, naan or bread. We had it with wheat roti.


This post is linked to Terrific Tuesdays

Adventures of a DIY Mom


21 comments for “Kidney Beans with Ground Turkey in thick gravy

  1. July 16, 2012 at 9:01 AM

    At my house that would be called turkey chili 🙂 It looks great. Isn’t it wonderful that your father-in-law has made it through in such an amazing fashion. Your husband must be so happy.
    Maureen @ Orgasmic Chef recently posted..Food Writer Fridays – Charlie Louis from HotlySpiced.comMy Profile

    • July 16, 2012 at 9:23 AM

      Yes, we both are very proud of him. He stayed with us when we were in India. He also visits us quite often. But it’s not the same thing. He is really something, so full of life. I miss him.
      Minnie recently posted..Kidney Beans with Ground Turkey in thick gravyMy Profile

  2. July 16, 2012 at 10:06 AM

    Love your food story! Have you ever considered writing something for Food Stories?
    CJ at Food Stories recently posted..New Feature: Monday MusterMy Profile

    • July 16, 2012 at 10:34 AM

      I actually have :)) You know, I had thought about posting about kidney beans on National Beans day. But things got crazy here, and I could never finish it 🙁 It’s the photographs which often set me back.

      But I do want to write one.

      • July 16, 2012 at 10:39 AM

        Writing for food holidays helps to give me structure but I don’t always follow holidays … Sometimes, I just post whatever the heck I want … Send me whatever food story you want to share and we can go from there … whenever you’re ready 🙂
        CJ at Food Stories recently posted..New Feature: Monday MusterMy Profile

        • July 16, 2012 at 12:29 PM

          That sounds good! I will send you an email soon 😀

  3. CCU
    July 16, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    This looks simply fabulous my friend, such a good recipe – almost like a turkey version of rajma 😉

    Choc Chip Uru
    CCU recently posted..The Proud MomentMy Profile

    • July 17, 2012 at 10:11 AM

      Thanks Uru :)) You can continue with Rajma, though I do think your dad and bro will love this version as much.

  4. July 16, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    I learned about unusual food and flavor combinations from my dad. I’ve never known anyone who had as much fun as he did putting different ingredients together to see what would come of them. I’m loving the spice combinations in this dish and I’m looking forward to trying it. My mouth was watering while I was reading the ingredient list! Thanks for sharing, Minnie!
    Stephanie @ It’s not just about the recipe . . . . recently posted..What’s in the oven? Classic Apple PieMy Profile

    • July 17, 2012 at 10:12 AM

      That explains your immense love and creativity for food, as well as the desire to teach your kids what you know. Thanks so much Stephanie!

  5. July 17, 2012 at 4:30 AM

    Looks fantastic Minnie – I love kidney beans in anything, and when it’s a dish like this, meat, some beautiful spices, it becomes a wonderful meal. Thank you for the wonderfully touching story too – it’s so wonderful that your father-in-law could learn such wonderful skills. It’s sad that it took something tragic to give him the motivation, but it sounds like he really did a fantastic job at surviving the sadness!

    • July 17, 2012 at 10:14 AM

      Thank you Charles. He is a lovely man, and he has made the best of what he was handed.

      I love kidney beans too, a love that is shared by my younger son. He can survive on ‘Rajma’ – the hindi word for kidney beans.

  6. July 17, 2012 at 10:30 AM

    Your father in law sounds like a rock star! His story sounds very similar to my fathers. We lost my mum to cancer too and we were all in shock including Dad. He has since taken to cooking also, but he is not as adventurous as your father in law.

    Great recipe! I add ground meat to black eyed peas and chick peas but I guess you can add any bean! I should pass this on to my dad, he likes ground goat meat and beans 🙂

    Coffee and Crumpets recently posted..Aebleskiver~Danish Pancake PuffsMy Profile

    • July 17, 2012 at 3:45 PM

      That’s so sad Nazneen. It must have been very difficult for all of you. Losing one’s Mom is such a great tragedy.Losing one’s spouse, however, is like losing one’s dreams. To make new dreams can be such an ordeal. I am glad your dad coped well.
      I’m going to try to make this with goat meat next.
      Minnie recently posted..Kidney Beans with Ground Turkey in thick gravyMy Profile

  7. July 17, 2012 at 8:30 PM

    Such a lovely story, Minnie. I love the photographs as well, everything looks so elegant 🙂
    Erin {Recimplicity} recently posted..Homemade Nutrigrain BarsMy Profile

    • July 18, 2012 at 9:53 AM

      Thank you so much Erin 🙂 You made my day!!

  8. July 17, 2012 at 11:28 PM

    What an interesting back story to a delicious recipe Minnie. I think my dad would be lost without my mother to cook for him. I think it’s great that your FIL learned to cook 🙂
    Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella recently posted..Low Fat Chocolate Brownies (with a secret ingredient!)My Profile

    • July 18, 2012 at 9:54 AM

      Thanks Lorraine. I wish them a very very long road of togetherness.

  9. July 19, 2012 at 9:47 AM

    This looks spectacular. It’s wonderful that your father-in-law has taught himself this valuable skill.
    Jen @ Savory Simple recently posted..SlimKicker Health Challenge Giveaway: Win a Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker!My Profile

    • July 19, 2012 at 9:53 AM

      Thank you Jen!

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