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  • 8
  • Easy
  • Meat-free wheat and gluten free
  • 10 minutes, plus overnight soaking time
  • 2–3 hours
  • Woolworths Vanilla Chardonnay

“Sousboontjies are one of the star sides on our Christmas table (and at Sunday lunches) and taste as good warm as they do cold. My sister, Paula, sister-in-law, Anneline, and I have all tried to recreate these without much success. My mom takes pity on us and makes a large batch so each of us can leave with our very own jar, jealously guarded from spouses and children! These can be made in advance and kept in the fridge for a few days, but you must plan ahead as you need to soak the beans.” – Liesl Nicholson


  • 500 g Imbo half white beans
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 cup brown vinegar
  • 300-500 g sugar
  • 1 T butter (optional)
  • 1 T cornflour (optional)

Cooking Instructions

1. The night before, sort the beans and discard any broken beans and grit. Soak in 4 cups water overnight. The next morning, drain the water and rinse the beans.

2. Boil the beans in the remaining water over a moderate heat for 2 hours, or until soft enough to be crushed with a fork. Rinse again to get rid of some starch and the loose skins.

3. Return to the saucepan, add the salt and about 1⁄2 cup water, then add the sugar. Boil for about 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and boil for 2–3 minutes.

4. Taste and add more sugar or vinegar and salt if necessary. Add the butter and cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes, checking often so the beans don’t burn.

5. Turn off the heat and allow to stand for few minutes. If too runny, mix the cornflour with little water and add to the beans.

Find more beans recipes here. 

Photography: Jan Ras
Production: Hannah Lewry
Food assistant: Claire-Ellen van Rooyen

Lettie Gerber Recipe by: Lettie Gerber
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