How to make Mallika Basu's Indian Bean Salad

Mallika Basu
Indian bean salad: Press

My mother’s Indian mixed bean salad is a delicious, spiced summery treat. Toss it up, and enjoy it as a healthy side dish to anything you fancy. I personally love it with grilled meat and battered fish on quiet weeknights.

A tin of unflavoured mixed beans is just the ticket here if, like me, you can’t be bothered to soak various beans overnight and then cook them at different temperatures until perfectly squidgy.

My version below doesn’t use onions, but my mother does use it in hers. You can also add chillies and fresh coriander for a change.


Serves 2

  • 1 tin mixed beans (chick peas, kidney beans, black eyed beans etc)
  • Quarter cucumber
  • 6 baby tomatoes
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 small onion (optional)
  • Pinch of carom seeds
  • Juice of quarter lemon
  • Salt to taste


Rinse, drain and leave the beans to dry in a colander. In the meantime, chop the cucumber and onion (if using) into small pieces, and halve the tomatoes placing them in a mixing bowl. Stir the beans into the vegetables, adding a bit of salt.

Now, warm the cumin seeds on medium in a little egg pan for ten seconds and then crush finely in a pestle and mortar.

Next, carefully drain off any excess water in the salad. Squeeze the lemon juice all over, stirring through the ground roasted cumin and carom seeds. Add salt to taste to finish. Let the spices work their magic for at least half an hour before you serve.

Mallika is an Indian food writer with a regular recipe column. Her new cook book, Masala: Indian Cooking for Modern Living is available here.