We know that many of us are struggling with a whole range of difficulties these days due to the global pandemic.
We also know that there are old struggles that are left unsolved. Such as how to cook beans and lentils so that they are not undercooked, hard and difficult to digest 😅 This week we will tackle the latter!
Once you've got the hang of cooking chickpeas until they are just right you can whip up a quick protein-rich snack, by frying them in some olive or coconut oil and your favourite spice. At Loose we have loads of fresh organic spices and spice mixes that you might like to try and a really good zero-air mile extra virgin olive oil from Italy. Za'atar would also be very exciting.
HOW TO COOK CHICKPEAS, BEANS AND LENTILS
Whether you're starting with beans or lentils choose organic, and make sure you don't boil a whole kilo at once, that will just be too much for a regular home-size pot, but rather stick to one or two cups.
Soak beans or lentils in lots of cold water overnight on the kitchen bench (not fridge) and then rinse in the morning and leave for another few hours before finally cooking later on in the day. You theoretically can cook them after the first soaking but we found that soaking them in another batch of fresh water helps them to be even more digestible.
Some people say you have to add some acid to the soaking process, such as lemon or apple cider vinegar but we don't have any experience with this. If you do, let us know.
that using one reduces the cooking time greatly and helps with cooking them through properly
So, once you've drained them grab your biggest pot, add loads more water (about 4 times as much) , DON'T ADD SALT (that'll stop the pulses from cooking through), add a piece of Kombu sea vegetable if you have some if not don't worry (however it also helps with flatulence), and bring to a boil with the lid on.
Once the pulses come to a boil white foam will gather at the top DON'T MISS scooping that OFF and getting rid of it in the sink. Keep scooping until all or most of the foam is gone and then turn down to a gentle boil, pop the lid back on. If more foam arises once the lid is back on just scoop it off or turn the heat down a little. Boil beans for as long as possible. Lentils are much quicker, but I'd still give them an hour. Beans can be boiled for 2-3 hours. With white beans and chickpeas we would make sure to give them at least 2.5 hours and more is fine too. Personally, we believe that softer and cooked longer is better. We all like a good nights sleep and a happy bellies.
The subject of what to do with the soaking water, such as having left over aquafaba which is a protein-rich chickpea water that can be used to make vegan mayos and meringues, or using it for soups is worth a whole other blog post.
Extra note: if you use a pressure cooker that would reduce the cooking time down greatly, and help with cooking pulses really thoroughly. Many people don't have one, so we hope this explanation will help those!
If you want to learn how to make some wholesome plant-based and gluten-free food, Maria-Carin Gala from Gala's Organic Kitchen is offering a by donations or free class this Saturday! Learning how to construct a 'BOWL'. Beans and lentils can feature in that for sure. How to cook wholegrain and how to make tahini sauces and more. Come and join her, she'd love your company. Click here for the Facebook event invitation, and here for the booking link.
Have a good week,
The Loose team.
Photo credit dimitri.photography