Kuru Fasülye Revisited

A plate of kuru fasülye with rice pilaf, salted onion, cacik and pickles.

I’m back. So much for my promise of more frequent posts when last I checked in. I’ve been on a kick of revisiting previous recipes, and the last several dishes I have cooked already had revisited posts here, and since I didn’t have anything new to say about them I just left well enough alone. (If you’ve payed attention you’ll notice some older posts in the featured post section at the top of my homepage. Those are what I’ve been cooking and eating in the last couple months.)

Also, as promised, I will have some new content coming along next time, starting a new exploration of how the same dish differs from country to country, this time around the Arab world. I’m expecting some challenges finding recipes, given that not only is the local language different, but the entire alphabet is different, but I’m looking forward to a different set of flavors for a while.

I don’t really have anything new to say about this dish. It’s a delicious Turkish bean dish. Keep reading below for the original post from February of 2020.

Kuru Fasulye with rice pilaf and cacik.

Kuru fasulye is a stewed bean dish in Turkish cuisine. It is made primarily with white beans and olive oil, and onion and tomato paste or tomato sauce are almost invariably used. Sometimes other vegetables or meat may also be added, especially pastirma. Kuru fasulye is often served along with rice or bulgur. It is often considered the national dish of Turkey.


Kuru fasülye is the Turkish take on the beans and meat theme we’ve been exploring. There are lots of bean dishes in Turkish cuisine, but this is one of the most popular. It’s delicious, so I can see why.

Being an Islamic country, they don’t eat pork, so beef, lamb or chicken are traditional. Actually, a good number of the recipes I looked at were vegetarian, so feel free to leave the meat out entirely if you prefer. I dug a package of lamb kebab meat out of the bottom of my freezer for this batch.

Although Wikipedia and one or two of the blogs I looked at mentioned pastrima (a type of cured beef) or some sort of turkish sausage, they didn’t show up often enough to make their way into my recipe, nor spend time and money trying to find those ingredients. If you happen to live somewhere where you can easily find them, they would probably be delicious additions.

The one unusual ingredient in this recipe is red pepper paste*. This is just like tomato paste, except made from red peppers. It even smells pretty much like tomato paste. It comes in various various levels of spiciness, from mild to hot. I bought the mild one, but feel free to choose a hotter one if you like spice. The only real problem is that it mostly comes in 700g jars, which is a LOT of pepper paste when your recipe calls for 1 Tablespoon. I guess I should probably freeze the rest of it in ice cube trays so that it doesn’t go to waste.

A jar of Öncü brand red pepper paste.

I didn’t think about researching the long green peppers called for in the recipe until I was in the grocery store trying to figure out what kind of pepper to buy. Obviously in the upper midwest in the dead of winter, I wasn’t going to find a Turkish chili. Doing some research now, it seems like you most likely want a mild pepper, along the lines of an Italian sweet pepper or a banana pepper. Or, just use a green bell pepper. I wound up grabbing some poblanos, which were about the mildest I could get other than a bell pepper. Again, if you like heat, go with something spicier, if not use the bell pepper. Just don’t go crazy; Turkish cuisine isn’t usually melt your face spicy, although they commonly keep red pepper flakes on the table with the salt and black pepper.

This recipe’s variation on the bean cooking process is to change the water during the soaking process. We also then par-cook the beans and drain them before adding them to the rest of the ingredients. I probably should have par-cooked them longer; at 30 minutes they were just barely crushable between my finger and thumb, and even after two hours of simmering in the stew they were still firmer than I normally like my beans. Perhaps more water in the stew would help as well; I did add small ammounts several times, but there wasn’t a whole lot of sauce left at the end. That said, I ate a couple large helping of this today, and haven’t noticed any unusual amounts of gassiness, so maybe all that water changing does help remove some of the undigestible elements.

I served this with some Turkish pilaf and cacik, a cucumber- yogurt dish, similar to tzatziki, which complemented the beans beautifully.

Kuru Fasülye

Prep: 40 Minutes
Cook 2 hours +
Total: 2:40 plus soaking time

14 oz. small white dry beans
1 ¾ Tablespoons olive oil
1 ¾ Tablespoons butter
8 oz. meat, diced (lamb, mutton, beef or chicken)
1 ½ onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 ½ long green pepper, diced (or one bell pepper)
4 teaspoons tomato paste
1 Tablespoon red pepper paste
½ teaspooon red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 tomato
2 ½ cups water

¾ hot pepper
28 oz. canned cannellini beans, drained (in place of dry beans)
14 oz. canned chopped tomato (in place of fresh tomato)
1 ½ teaspoons sugar

Pick over beans and remove any broken beans or rocks. Rinse, cover with cold water, and soak for two hours. Drain, cover with cold water again, and soak overnight.

Drain beans again, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 30 minutes, until beans are just tender, not fully cooked. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat oil and butter in a soup pot or dutch oven. Lightly brown the meat. Add onion and saute for 5 minute or so, until soft and translucent. Add garlic cloves and green pepepr. Saute another 5 minutes, until peppers are tender.

Add tomato paste, red pepper paste, pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Continue to cook and stir for 2-3 minutes. Be careful not to burn it.

Puree the tomato in a blender or food processor, and add it to the pot. Add water, bring to a boil, and lower heat to simmer for about 20 minutes.

Add the beans, and continue to cook over very low heat for another 1-2 hours, with the lid slightly ajar. Add water as necessary to keep the beans submerged; but not too much- you are looking for baked bean consistency, not soup.

Serve with rice pilaf, pickles, salted onion, and cacik (cucumber yogurt salad), or just some crusty bread for sopping up the juices

For a true Turkish experience, share with your friendly local cats.

*I receive no compensation for mentioning this product.

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