Dried Pulse Vegetables (Legumes): Preparation and Cooking Guide

Soaking time - overnight.

Cooking time - boil, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 1-1 ¼ hours or until tender.

Pulses are the edible seeds, usually dried, of the pod-bearing family of vegetables collectively known as Legumes, and include lentils, peas and beans. They are an exceptionally rich source of protein, vitamins and minerals, making them important part of a vegetarian diet. Pulses have been a staple food in many parts of the world for thousands of years and today feature in the cooking of many regions - China, the Middle East, Egypt, Africa and Central and South America.

Unfortunately, there is still a lot of confusion surrounding the preparation and cooking of pulses, so here is an easy-to-follow guide to make it easier.

Pinto beans* are medium-sized brown beans with dark-brown markings. They turn a salmon-pink color when cooked, and are used in Mexican soups and dishes like refried beans. Also available canned.

Great northern beans* are similar to cannellini beans and can be used in the same dishes. These beans can be used in any recipes which call for small white beans. Also available canned.

Whole green peas

Soaking time - overnight.

Cooking time - boil, uncovered, for 1 ¼ - 1 ½ hours or until tender.

Green/yellow split peas

No soaking is necessary.

Cooking time - boil, skim off froth. Simmer, partially covered, for 30-45 minutes or until tender.

Broad beans* are otherwise known as fava, horse or Windsor beans. Large and flat, these beans can be green, beige or brown in color. They are often used in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking.

Dried peas come in several varieties which include dried whole green peas (also known as blue boilers or field peas), green split peas and yellow split peas (also known as matar dhal). Indian yellow split peas (channa dhal)* are a little smaller than regular yellow split peas.

Black eye beans* are also known as saluggia beans, black-eyed peas, cowpeas or catjang. They are so named because of their black "eyes" and are popular in Greece, India, Africa and the Middle East. They also feature in Southern American cooking.

Mung beans* are also known as green gram or chhata. When skinned and split they are called moong dhal. These tiny beans are used extensively in India in savory and sweet foods, and in China they are sprouted into long bean sprouts.

Soaking time - overnight.

Cooking time - boil, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 1-1 ¼ hours or until tender.

Cannellini beans* are sometimes confused with great northern beans because they look so similar. These beans are very popular in Italian soups and casseroles. Also available canned.

Adzuki beans* otherwise known as aduki, adsuki, asuki or feijao beans. Tiny reddish-brown beans, they are often used in Asian recipes including the Chinese sweet bean cake.

Soaking time - overnight.

Cooking time - boil, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour or until tender.

Red kidney beans are also called raajma, Mexican beans or haricot rouge. These deep brown-red or dusky-pink beans are commonly used in Mexican dishes such as bean dips and taco fillings. Also available canned.

Soaking time - overnight.

Cooking time - boil, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 1 ½ hours or until tender.

Chickpeas are also known as garbanzo beans, Bengal gram, kabli chana, kaala chana or ceci. They are very popular in India, the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Chickpeas are a major ingredient in hummus, a Middle Eastern dip. They also come in cans and pre-cooked in vacuum packs.

Black beans* are otherwise known as black kidney beans, frijoles negros, black turtle beans, Spanish or Mexican black beans. They are small, oval beans with shiny black skin and cream-colored flesh. These beans are used in South American, Mexican and Caribbean cooking.

Soaking time - 2-3 hours.

Cooking time - Boil 15 minutes. Reduce heat, simmer, covered, for 40 minutes or until tender.

Haricot beans* are also known as navy or white beans. These beans are used to make canned baked beans and are popular in American dishes such as Boston baked beans. Also available as plain canned beans.

Soya beans, also called soybeans, are the least easy to digest of all the beans. Therefore, many soy products have been developed over the years to make their exceptional nutrition easily available. When well cooked, they are popular in vegetarian cooking because they contain the most protein. Also available in cans.

Green lentils

Soaking is not necessary.

Cooking time - Boil, skim off froth. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30-45 minutes.

Red lentils

Soaking is not necessary.

Cooking time - boil, skim off froth. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 10-15 minutes (for whole) and 6 minutes (for split) or until tender.

Lentils are available as green (sometimes called brown lentils or masoor dhal), whole red, and split red (also called masoor dhal), These varieties are all used to a great extent in India and the Middle East. Another variety, Puy lentils*, are smaller and plumper than the green lentils and are popular in France. "Brown lentils" are also available canned and pre-cooked in vacuum packs.

Soaking time - 4-6 hours.

Cooking time - boil, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 1-1 ¼ hours or until tender.

Lima beans can be small or medium to large. The baby-sized beans are sometimes called butter beans. Lima beans are delicious in soups, casseroles and salads. They also come in cans.

Soaking time - overnight.

Cooking time - boil, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 30-45 minutes or until tender.

Borlotti beans are also known as Roman or cranberry beans. These speckled beans are popular in Italian cooking and are excellent in soups and casseroles. Also available canned*.

Butter beans are also known as wax beans. These small beans also come in cans and are perfect in salads, curries and soups.

Mujaddara - Rice and Lentils

Bean Salad Recipe

* Available from health food stores or delicatessens if unavailable at supermarkets.

* Where soaking and cooking times for pulses are not mentioned, refer to cooking instructions on packet.

Tips

• Rinse pulses and remove discolored ones, or stones, before cooking.

• Rinse and drain canned pulses before using in recipes.

• Most pulses require soaking before cooking, with the exception of red lentils, green lentils and split peas (although they can be soaked), black eye beans and mung beans. Soak in plenty of cold water and drain before cooking.

• Cook in plenty of unsalted boiling water as salt prevents the beans from becoming as tender as possible. Don't add bicarbonate of soda as it destroys B vitamins.

• Pulses are cooked when they crush easily but aren't mushy.

• Cooking times may vary depending on how long the pulses have been stored.

• Compounds which make pulses difficult to digest and cause flatulence are leached into water. To cut down on flatulence, throw away the soaking and cooking waters.

• Store pulses in separate airtight containers in the cupboard for up to one year.

• Pulses are low in fat and supply carbohydrates, protein, dietary fiber and some vitamins

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Suzi 8 years ago

Thanks - helpful page :)

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