Mexican style beans using my new kitchen toy…

 There’s recently been a new addition to my kitchen: a pressure cooker. Now, my memories of pressure cookers was of the great big one my Mum had, hissing away, I assumed that’s what pressure cookers did, made lots of noise and created lots of steam. I couldn’t tell you anything about how it worked or what she used it for. Since entering blogworld, I have read more and more blog posts, mostly from Indian food bloggers, utilising pressure cookers in their day to day cooking. They cook beans and lentils and all sorts in a matter of minutes in a pressure cooker, it sounded amazing and very useful. I would always prefer to use dried beans rather than tinned, but I was never comfortable with having the gas on for an hour plus to cook them, so I would cook large amounts of beans every time so that I made the most of using all that gas, and then I’d get fed up with having so many beans to get through!!! 

So I did some research…and found that there are all sort of pressure cookers available nowadays, they’re not all huge like my Mum’s one was. You can even get electric ones that are programmable. It’s a whole new world.  

I found this cute three litre version to use on my hob/stove. After looking at the box for a few days, then finally unpacking it and looking at the pot for a few more days and reading the instruction manual over and over, I got brave enough to try it out. I tried cooking amaranth in it first, a tiny little grain, the grains are smaller than a pin head, and the experience wasn’t what I’d call successful. Put it like this, I had to hoover those tiny grains up from every corner of my kitchen! As the water had come to the boil inside the pot, it started bubbling and a few bubbles of water and amaranth started to escape from the tiny valve on top of the lid…then a whole fountain of water and grains started erupting, everywhere!!! I had to quickly put the vent whistle over the hole and hope for the best!!

I can state that after two attempts now, cooking amaranth is a really need a lot of water in ratio to the grains otherwise they come out quite porridgey…I’ll try again another time..

So I tried again with pinto beans which I’d soaked overnight; it was much more successful this time! And so cool, 250g pinto beans were fully cooked in under 10 minutes – amazing!


Pressure cookers save time and money and energy. You can cook everything in one, not just pulses and grains, which is what I wanted one for; meat can be cooked in minutes in one too. And whole dishes can be created. Keep your eyes peeled for more upcoming pressure cooker fun, but for now, it’s all about the beans and what I made with them….
I love the idea of Mexican refried beans and have wanted to make my own for a while, so this was my version of Mexican style beans…  


  • 150g (dry weight) pinto beans, cooked and drained
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped 
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 bunch chopped fresh coriander/cilantro
  • Juice of one lime
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground cayenne pepper, to taste


Heat your choice of oil in a pan over medium heat, add the onion and the garlic and cook until softened, then add the water, tomatoes, oregano, paprika, cumin, chilli powder, and the beans.

Mix well together and mash the beans as it all cooks. Keep stirring and mashing until you get the consistency you want.

Cook until the mixture is well combined and heated through, the add the coriander/cilantro, lime juice, salt, and cayenne, and serve. 

I ate these with some roasted purple broccoli – another new experiment, I just sprayed the brocoli with some spray olive oil and roasted them until the tops were crunchy and the stems were cooked, it was really good – and some butternut squash dip that I’d make this week too and the combination was lovely.


  In my next post I’ll show you what else I did with them, I think you’ll like it…;) 
Happy Friday!! 

39 thoughts on “Mexican style beans using my new kitchen toy…

  1. elamb

    This looks beautiful, I love your photo! And all those spices, yum! I would like a piece of fresh bread to mop up all the beans please and thank you …Let us know what else you cook in your new toy 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. skd

    The photos are spectacular. Pressure cooker is gods gift to women (men too in some cases) so that they don’t spend hours in the kitchen and can take time out to relax. I can’t imagine my kitchen with out it. It especially does wonders to meat( lamb/beef)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. simplyvegetarian777

    This is a great dish to share with friends and have a good fiesta. Pressure cooker is like a kitchen God when it comes to being economical and time saving. And you got a good brand there..Hawkins…is a very good and tested brand.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. simplyvegetarian777

        I always use pressure cooker and have 3 of them in different sizes. 1 is American brand is 5 qts for party cooking. And other 2 are 5 liters and 3 liters capacity. I have one of Hawkins too in hard anodized.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. FrugalHausfrau

      You never know with beans and pressure cookers because it’s hard to say how tough the beans are, or how old. I usually check at the minimum time, add five minutes, check, and so on. Once I had some really tough ones that never did get done! On the other hand, I’ve simmered many, and when I could see they weren’t getting soft after a couple of hours scooped them into the pressure cooker and saved the day…


      1. FrugalHausfrau

        Absolutely. If you ever open them up and they aren’t don, you get so you can just kind of judge after awhile whether to go a couple of minutes more or a little longer. They cook more as they heat up and cool down, too.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. dianaroggenbuckebrown

    I have been thinking about getting a pressure cooker too, especially as winter is creeping in and my days are getting busier, but I have been a bit scared, so this post is perfect. I’ll stay tuned to see what other creative inventions you make in your pressure cooker and hopefully that will give me the courage to buy one for myself too. Xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. FrugalHausfrau

    I love that purple broccoli! I’m glad you didn’t give up after the amaranth explosion. Usually there is a small line that means for grains and beans you don’t fill over that line because they expand so much and things that might get foamy sometimes benefit by a little touch of oil.

    I use mine all the time, and even made some of the chickpeas from our hummus posts with it! When I make chickpeas, I soak overnight, then cook for the directed time. Then leave the lid on to cool, not quick release. Less break and I think they are creamier.

    Liked by 1 person


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