Here are some guidelines on how to cook beans:
The basic principle for cooking all beans is the same, no matter how you plan to use them in a recipe.
1. Before you cook them, pick through the beans and remove any stones, broken beans, or other bits of debris. It isn’t unusual for a bit of the bean field to end up in the bag, along with your dried beans.
2. Put the beans in a large, heavy-based pot, cover them with cold water. Usually three to six times the dried beans, and bring the water to a hard boil. Reduce the heat and let the beans simmer. Skim any foam that rises to the surface. Add ginger or your favorite seasonings such as cinnamon, or a pinch of nutmeg to the beans. You may add vegetables too. We suggest leafy vegetables, potatoes and carrots as they are very complementary to beans.
3. About halfway through the cooking time, when the beans have softened, add the salt and any acidic ingredients like tomatoes. Beans require salt, to bring out their full flavor. Adding salt and acids, inhibit water penetration and, when added too soon, can toughen the beans.
4. When the beans are fully cooked, taste one and adjust the seasonings as needed.
5. In many cultures, we season the beans one more time to stimulate the digestive process, enhance the flavor, aroma and appearance of the dish. Take a small wok or flat pan. Add ghee or oil to the pan, add chopped onions and cumin seeds. Saute until slightly brown. Add ginger, garlic, tomatoes and chopped parsley to the onions. Let it simmer for five minutes or until the oil separates from the seasoning mixture. Add to the beans
6. Garnish with fresh cilantro, parsley or dollop of yogurt.
If you are a vegetarian and want to get the full nutritional benefit of legumes, gradually increase your consumption until you are consuming at least three to four cups of beans, peas or lentils per week. Also add rice, grains, yogurt to your meal or to your diet so you have all the amino acids or complete protein needs.
Many people avoid beans and other legumes because of their reputation for producing gas. Cultures that have been eating beans for a long time have less trouble with beans. Studies show that people who eat beans frequently experience this problem less. The body seems to adapt. Beans and lentils can be made more digestible by following these tips: Beans have sugars that are difficult for the human body to break down and digest.
We suggest the following techniques which break down these enzymes and make it easier to digest.
1. Soak them for five to eight hours before cooking.
2. Boil them for 30 minutes and then change the water.
3. Change the soaking water several times.
4. Add salt and acidic ingredients such as tomatoes after cooking. You may add ginger and tumeric before cooking as the beans will absorb the ginger taste.
5. Start with lentils as they are easier to digest (yellow moong, toor dal).
6. Add beans gradually to your diet. Try navy bean soup, humus, kidney beans in a salad. Include beans, peas and lentils in soups or pasta dishes.
If you are making hamburgers, add boiled chana dal to make kebabs. Kebabs with chana dal (also add coriander powder, cumin powder, lime juice, green chili and salt) are called Shammi Kebabs in India and are very popular. This will also make your burger tastier and healthier. Garnish with lime juice, raw onion rings and cilantro for an authentic Indian kebab presentation.
- 1 cup of dry navy beans=3 cups cooked
- 1 pound (2 cups) dry navy beans=6 cups cooked
- 1 pound cooked beans will serve 6-8 people
- 1 serving of cooked beans=3/4 of 1 cup