Jihva for Milk – Spicy Succotash

fresh corn and beans
New England crops – fresh corn and horticultural beans

Summers at my grandmother’s on Cape Cod meant swimming in Vineyard Sound, beachcombing, cookouts and family. There was a huge garden, taking up more than half the backyard, which supplied us with vegetables and berries for our lazy days. Late in summer, when the corn was on, my grandmother would often pick and husk an ear to eat right there — sweet and crisp and warm from the summer sun. With other ears, she made succotash.

horticultural beans
horticultural beans

There are many names for these brightly colored beans; cranberry beans is one. As kids, we always knew them as “horticultural” beans. They are rarely seen in any market, at least around here; they were always more of a home garden crop.

Some folks say succotash should be made with lima beans. I can’t abide limas; my grandmother never used them, nor does my mother. For our succotash, nothing but horticultural beans would do. Some folks say succotash needs salt pork or bacon, tomatoes or squash. In my family, it is a simple dish: corn, beans, milk, butter and a little cream. Salt and pepper are the only seasonings.

I decided to liven it up a little.

Spicy Succotash

about a dozen pods fresh horticultural beans (shell beans, cranberry beans)

2 tsp butter or ghee
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
10-12 small fresh curry leaves, shredded

2 ears fresh corn, cut from the cobs
2 green chiles, slit

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup half and half cream

salt and pepper to taste


Wash and shell the beans. Boil them in a very little salted water about 10-15 minutes, until color changes and they are no longer mealy. Drain and reserve about 1/4 c. boiling water.

Husk the corn, being careful to remove all the silk. One at a time, stand the ears on end over a cutting board, and with a small sharp knife, carefully cut the kernels from the cob.

corn and cooked horticultural beans
cooked beans and fresh corn, cut from the cob

In a soup pot over medium heat, melt butter or ghee and pop the mustard. Add the cumin and curry leaves and cook briefly, then add the fresh corn and chiles. Saute for a few minutes, then add the boiled beans and reserved boiling water, milk, coconut milk, and half and half cream. Stir in salt to taste and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 15-20 minutes.

Correct the seasoning and serve piping hot. For best taste, eat outdoors at the picnic table 😉

This is my entry to this month’s Jihva For Milk, hosted by lovely and talented Vineela of Vineela’s Cuisine.

spicy succotash
spicy succotash



  1. vineela said

    Hi Linda,
    Thanks for your participation in JFI.
    Name is catchy .
    I have to prepare your chowder,then this recipe.
    Can you tell me is this the name of the bean – ‘Succotash’
    thanks for sharing the new recipe.
    Have a happy longweekend.
    See you at round up later.

    Hi Vineela, the word succotash comes from the Naragansett word msíckquatash; according to dictionary means boiled whole-kernel corn. The beans I used were horticultural, or cranberry beans, but you could use lima beans or any other large dried bean you like. Looking forward to the beautiful roundup!

  2. Hi linda,
    I wanted to have them right now..its raining and how i wish i could have them..right now..thanks for sharing..

    Hi Sudah, I know, we had some rain the past few days yes? I love soup/stew on rainy days too 🙂

  3. Nabeela said

    I’m glad you ventured out of the dessert area for JFI…..I’m eating wayyy too many desserts these days.
    The soup looks delicious…I’m sure all those different milks you used made it nice and creamy, not to mention delicious 🙂

    Thanks Nabeela, I’m afraid this one isn’t much better for the waistline with all that butter and cream… but sometimes we have to splurge a little 😉

  4. shilpa said

    Looks great Linda. I have never tried this beans. I will see if I can get hold of some here.

    If you try it Shilpa, I hope you enjoy!

  5. Asha said

    Holy succotash!!! I think I can get some dry cranberry beans and make a succotash out of it 😀 It is a funny word, isn’t it? Good job….

    Thanks Asha… it is a funny word. I forget the cartoon character who used to say “suffering succotash” with a lisp… 🙂

  6. Queenkatt said

    “Suffren Succotash” was said by Porky Pig. I’m looking for a succotash recipe like my mother used to make. She used salt pork, shell beans, corn and I forgor what else. So I am searching for something close to hers. New England born and bred, so this must be from the Indians.

    Hi Queenkatt — I know there are some recipes for succotash calling for salt pork, but I made this according to my family’s recipe – no meat. Good luck in your quest.

  7. Julia-Gulia said

    No, not Porky Pig — see WIkipedia to back me up — it was Daffy Duck who said in his speech impedimeneted way ‘Sufferin’ Succotash.’ (Think about the difference in their impediments — stuttering vs Daffy’s hyper lisp. Sufferin’ Succotash is more comedic with a lisp than with a stutter, I’d suppose).

    Just messaging to tell you, however, that this recipe is a dream. It has inspired some ingredients I had on hand but never knew what to do with. Now they cry out for me to use them well in this recipe. Thank you for liberating my ingredients into all that they might be.

    Thanks Julia — I’m glad you enjoyed 🙂

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