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If time allows, soak dried beans for several hours overnight or boil them in water to cover for a minute, then soak for a couple of hours.
If you have not soaked the beans, rinse them and put them in a pot with water to cover; bring to a boil and simmer while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
Otherwise, drain and add them in step 3. Combine the onions, garlic, chile, and ginger in a food processor and grind until pasty.
Put the oil in a large deep saucepan or flameproof casserole with a lid over medium heat and add the onion mixture, along with some salt and pepper and the curry powder.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to brown, 5 to 10 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and coconut milk and bring to a boil.
Whether youve soaked or parboiled the beans, drain them and add them to the simmering mixture, along with enough water to barely submerge the beans.
Partially cover and adjust the heat so the mixture simmers steadily but not violently.
Cook until the beans are tender, 30 to 90 minutes.
If you are using the sausages, cut them into 1-inch chunks and brown them at any time while the beans are cooking.
Stir into the bean mixture.
Just before serving, add the tamarind.
Taste and adjust the seasoning and serve.