Dried beans, peas and lentils, collectively known as pulses, have been part of man's staple diet since ancient times and are still an important food for vegetarians and meat-eaters. They are low in fat and rich in protein, carbohydrates and fibre, as well as being a rich source of B-complex vitamins and are the best vegetable source of folic acid, in addition they provide iron, calcium and phosphorous.
They are also a good source of phytoestrogens which are believed to be beneficial in womens health, cardiovascular health, osteoporosis and certain cancers. Available as dried or canned beans, peas and lentils; they have a long shelf life and are economical and nutritious.
STORAGE, PREPARING & COOKING PULSES
Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
All dried beans and peas require soaking before cooking.
Dried beans and peas can have either a long or short soak – see instructions below. Soaking helps to clean and soften the beans and speeds up cooking time. It also makes them more digestible by releasing the phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors which protect the plant, but can cause gas and inhibit nutrient absorption.
Traditional cultures took great care to prepare their beans with a long soak before cooking to enhance digestibility and nutrient absorption.
Do not salt the cooking water as this causes the skins to split and the insides to toughen.
Do not add acidic ingredients such as tomatoes and tomato products at the beginning of cooking as this tends to cause the beans or peas to toughen.
Adding a small (3-5cm) piece of kombu sea vegetable to the cooking water helps soften beans and improves their digestibility.
All dried beans and peas should be brought to the boil and boiled rapidly for at least 5 minutes. Dark coloured beans such as red kidney beans should be boiled rapidly for 10-15 minutes to kill the toxins in their skins.
Cooked pulses can be frozen for future use when ready to use simply add them to your dish, no need to defrost.
Long Soak: Prepare dried beans or peas by rinsing and placing in
a large bowl, cover with cold water; cover bowl and soak overnight
at room temperature. Drain and rinse before cooking.
Short Soak: Place dried beans or peas in a large saucepan, cover
with water; bring to the boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat; soak for 1-2 hours. Drain and rinse before cooking.
Cooking: Place soaked beans or peas in a saucepan; add water to
cover by about 10cm. Bring to the boil; boil for at least 5 minutes
depending on the bean type. Reduce heat and simmer until cooked
250g dried beans = 1 cup dried = 2-3 cups cooked beans
Allow about Â½ cup cooked beans or peas per serve.
1 cup (200g) dry lentils = 2 to 2Â½ cups cooked
2 cups dried lentils = 4 servings/approx 5 cups cooked
A GUIDE TO LENTIL VARIETIES
Beluga Lentils: Also known as Black Beluga, Beluga black and
petite Beluga lentil. This petite shiny jet black lentil is one of the
most expensive. They hold their shape well when cooked. Cooking
time: 40-45 minutes. Substitutes: French green lentils.
Brown Lentils: Also known as Indian brown, German, green,
Continental and Egyptian. The most commonly available and
generally least expensive lentil They are the khaki in colour and tend
to go mushy if overcooked. Cooking time: 15-20 minutes or until
Channa Dal: Also known as chana dal and gram dal. This is the
most popular dal in Indian, it has a sweet, nutty flavour and is a dull
yellow colour. It is made by splitting a small relative of the chickpea.
True besan (chickpea) flour is made by grinding channa dal.
Cooking time: 10-15 minutes. Substitutes: Toor dal or yellow split peas.
Dal: Also known as dhaal, dhal, dhall and daal. This is the Indian
term for peas, beans or lentils that have been split and often
skinned, however it can also be the name for any cooked lentil, pea
or bean dish. Split lentils do not hold their shape well so are an
excellent choice for soups and purees. Cooking time: 15-20 minutes.
French Green Lentils: Also known as Puy Lentils, Lentilles du Puy
and Lentilles Vertes du Puy. Originally grown in the volcanic soils of
the Puy in southwest France, this lentil is now also grown in North
American and Italy. Cooking time: 40-45 minutes. Substitutes:
Beluga lentils or brown lentils (take care not to overcook).
Moong Dal: Flat and yellow in colour. Quick cooking, moong dal is
skinned and split mung beans, that are relatively easy to digest.
Cooking time: 20-25 minutes Substitutes: Yellow split peas.
Red Lentils: Also known as massor dal, maser dal, mussor dal,
masur dal and pink lentil. This fast cooking lentil has a mild earthy
flavour with a soft texture and varies in colour from a deep orange to
salmon red turning golden and mushy when cooked. Cooking time:
10-15 minutes Substitutes: Yellow split peas or brown lentils.
A GUIDE TO BEAN & PEA VARIETIES
While by no means exhaustive this guide is intended to help
demystify this valuable food source. Cooking times are approximate
and are for pre-soaked beans â€“ cooking time depends of the type,
age and quality of the beans.
Adzuki Beans: Also known as azuki beans, aduki beans or red
Oriental bean. Pronounced a-Zoo-kee they are lower in fat and
easier to digest than other beans. Used to make sweet red bean
paste they are also good in rice dishes and salads and for sprouting.
Cooking time: 30-45 minutes. Substitutes: Red kidney beans.
Black Turtle Beans: Also known as black beans, turtle beans,
Mexican black beans, Spanish black beans or frijole negro. A staple
of Latin American cooking. Not to be confused with fermented black
beans which are used in Asian cuisine. Cooking time: 45-60 minutes.
Black-eyed Beans: Also known as black-eyed peas, cowpea,
black-eyed Suzy, poor manâ€™s pea or Southern peas. These small
creamy-white coloured beans have a black scar on the edge where
they were joined to the pod and when cooked have a wonderful
creamy texture. Cooking time: 40-60 minutes.
Blue Peas: Varieties of blue peas include marrowfat, Prussian
blue , Harlee blue and whero all of which can generically be referred
to as blue or field peas. These are green peas which are left to
mature and dry naturally in the field before harvesting. Used to make
mushy peas and are great for sprouting. Cooking time: 50-60 minutes.
Borlotti Beans: Also known as cranberry beans or Roman beans.
Commonly used in Italian soups and stews. Cooking time: 40-60
minutes. Substitutes: Cannellini, great northern or pinto beans.
Cannellini Beans: Also known as white kidney beans. This bean
has a smooth texture with a nutty flavour. Cooking time: 40-60
minutes. Substitutes: Great northern or navy beans.
Chickpeas: Also known as garbanzo bean or pea, white chickpea,
ceci bean or cici bean. A staple of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean
cooking they probably best known as the main ingredient in
hummus, but they are also excellent in soups and stews. Cooking
time: 60-90 minutes â€“ very dependant on age and how they are to
be used. Substitutes: Great northern (for hummus), or lima beans.
Fava Beans: Also known as broad beans, Windsor beans and
horse beans. Pronounced FAH-vahâ€”a meaty, strong flavoured
bean which are popular in Middle Eastern cooking. Cooking time:
40-60 minutes. Substitutes: Lima beans or chickpeas.
Great Northern Beans: A white, mild flavoured bean which is often
confused with the cannellini bean. Cooking time: 40-60 minutes.
Substitutes: Navy, cannellini or lima beans.
Lima Beans: Also known as butter beans, wax beans and Madagascar
beans. A large, pillowy bean with a creamy texture and delicate
flavour. Vigorous boiling can lead to the skins coming off. Baby lima
beans and green lima beans are also available. Cooking time: 40-60
minutes. Substitutes: Navy, cannellini or Great Northern beans.
Mung Beans: Also known as mung peas, mungo beans and green
gram. These small olive green beans are available whole or split
(moong dal), they can be used in stews and salads and are one of
the most popular sprouting beans. Cooking time: 25-40 minutes.
Navy/Haricot Beans: Also known as Boston beans, Boston navy
beans and Yankee beans. This is the bean traditionally used in
commercial baked beans. Cooking time: 45-60 minutes. Substitutes:
Great Northern, lima or cannellini beans.
Pink Beans: Also known as chilli beans. Similar to pinto beans but
smaller and rounder. Cooking time: 45-60 minutes. Substitutes:
Pinto or red kidney beans.
Pinto Beans: A pretty beige coloured bean with brown streaks that
cooks to a uniform pinkish brown. Cooking time: 45-60 minutes.
Substitutes: Pink, red kidney or borlotti beans.
Red Kidney Beans: Also known as Mexican beans and haricot
rogue. Can range from dark red to light pink in colour and have a
creamy texture with a full flavour. They should be boiled vigorously
for 10-15 minutes at the beginning of cooking. Cooking time: 45-60
minutes. Substitutes: Adzuki, pinto or borlotti beans.
Soy Beans: Also known as soya beans. Due to the possibility of GE
contamination soy beans are now only available to licensed
processors. Organic canned soy beans are available, as are a huge
range of products made from them including tofu, miso, soy sauce,
tamari, tempeh, soy milk and shoyu. Soy beans and soy products
are one of the richest sources of phytoestrogens.
Split Peas: Available as green or yellow. Split peas are a popular
inclusion in soups and stews. They do not require soaking and do
not keep their shape during cooking. Cooking time: 45-60 minutes.
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