Monday, 23 April 2012

Healthy Eating: Pinto Beans Soup

Image from

Last two weeks ago, I shared about successfully getting my bowel movement to regular stage, many thanks to the adoption of a much healthier eating lifestyle. One of the main changes I made is including lots of fibers to my diet and drinking lots of homemade nutritious Chinese soups.

One of my favourite soup, which I drink on regular basis is the Pinto Bean Soup. Like all Chinese soups, it is simple to make and extremely nutritious too. Before I share the recipe, here are some informative facts about the goodness of this bean.

Pinto beans have a beige background strewn with reddish brown splashes of colour. Below is a picture of how the bean looked like when we open the pod.

Image from web

Health Benefits

- good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber.
- lower your heart attack risk.
- prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly, good choice for individual with diabetes.
- excellent source of molybdenum, a very good source of folate, a good source of protein and vitamin B1 as well as minerals: phosphorus, iron, magnesium, manganese and potassium.

Rich in Fiber

Pinto beans are rich in fiber. A cup of cooked pinto beans provide 62% of the recommended daily intake of fiber. Soluble fiber forms a gel-like substance in the digestive tract that combines with bile ( which contains cholesterol ) and ferries it out of the body. Research studies have shown that insoluble fiber not only increase stool bulk and prevents constipation, but also helps to prevent digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis.

Protein Power Plus

These hearty beans are a good source of protein, and when combined with whole grain such as whole wheat pasta or brown rice, provide protein comparable to that of meat or dairy foods without the high calories or saturated fat found in these foods. When you get your protein from pinto beans, you also get the blood sugar stabilizing and heart health benefits of the soluble fiber provided by these versatile legumes.

( Source from here )

After reading all the benefits of this bean, you can now understand why I love this soup so much. The way I boil this soup is pretty simple and please excuse the simple measurements as well.

Pinto Bean Soup
( serves 2-3 bowls )

  • 300/400 gms of fresh pinto beans ( discard the pod and use the beans only )
  • 2 skinless chicken ribs ( about 300/400 gms too ) *may substitute with pork ribs
  • 12 dried red dates
  • 200/300gms of arrowroot ( fan kok ), quartered and remove skin *optional but I find the soup taste better with this
  • 4 liters of water
  • salt to taste

  1. In a smaller pot, bring some water to boil and blanch the meat chicken/pork to get rid of the scums from the meat. Remove meat and set aside.
  2. In a regular stock pot, bring the 4 liters of water to a rolling boil. 
  3. Add in the meat and all the ingredients, except the salt.  Cover your pot with a tight lid and bring it to a rolling boil again, for about 5 minutes.
  4. Lower the fire to a simmer and let the soup simmer for at least 3 hours. Season with salt at the end.
Note: The soup will reduce to almost half or less a pot nearing 3 hours. Do not add in any water as it will dilute the nutrients of the soup.

Many may not know arrowroot well, so I am attaching a picture of it as a reference.

Arrowroot is highly nutritious too and has been used as a treatment for various bowel complaints too. 


  1. Thanks for this recipe! Now I finally know fan kok is called arrowroot. Pinto beans can buy easily in supermarkets right? I love boiling and drinking soup. I boil soup at least 3 times a week. Will definitely try this recipe. :)

    1. You're welcome. Yup, both the ingredients are found easily in supermarkets. Enjoy!

  2. I always see that type of beans in the Asian market but never stop to check the name. Thanks for the info and recipe. I eat pinto beans but right out from the can as mixed beans salad.

    1. I personally prefer the fresh ones because it is easily available here. I think anything you see 'fresh' in Asian market in your place must be super expensive, right?
      If given no choice, I actually don't mind the dry ones though.:)

  3. I've never seen this! Will see if I can find it in the supermarket. Must keep my eyes like wide open!

    1. I think you will likely find fresh ones in big wet markets, while dry beans are readily available in supermarkets.

  4. Hi! Do u know what's pinto beans in Chinese?


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