Most pulses must be rehydrated before cooking. Lentils, split peas, and adzuki beans don’t need to, but soaking reduces their cooking time and the risk of flatulence. First wash them in cold water. During this step you can sort and remove any spotted ones and any dirt or foreign objects. Depending on the legume type, 6 to 8 hours of soaking are necessary to rehydrate them completely. To play it safe, soak them overnight. To ensure they remain covered with water during this whole period, use an amount 4 times the pulse volume. Soaking is usually done at room temperature, however, if it is too hot (more than 25°C), it is preferable to put the pulses in the refrigerator to avoid any risk of fermentation.
If you have forgotten to soak the beans overnight, the following “rescue” procedure should be followed: place the beans into a large pot, add cold water
to cover (5 cm above the beans), and bring to a boil, uncovered. Boil 2 min, then remove from heat and let stand, uncovered, 1 hour. You may then proceed to
the cooking step.
The nutrient-rich soaking water could also be used for cooking the pulses; however, if you wish to reduce the potential to cause flatulence, it is better to change the water (this side effect is caused by oligosaccharides, complex sugars that – because they’re indigestible by normal stomach enzymes – proceed into the lower intestine where they’re eaten and fermented by friendly bacteria, the result of which is gas). In conclusion: soak all pulses overnight, rinse them and use fresh water for cooking.
You can cook the pulses either in a pot or in a pressure cooker. Cover them with salted water (about 1 teaspoon for every litre of water), bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered. They are done when al dente. Cooking times vary with the legume type, age/storage conditions, and soaking time. Use the following table as a reference; with a pressure cooker use ¼ of the time.
|Black beans||1-2 h (don’t be surprised if the cooking water becomes rather… black)|
|Fava beans||1.5 h|
|Kidney beans||1.5-2 h|
|Pinto beans||1.5 h|
|Pink beans||1.5 h|
|Romano beans||1.5 h|
|White beans||1.5-2 h|
|all types||45-90 min (pay attention not to overcook them, since they become “pasty”)|
|du Berry||7-10 min|
|du Puy||7-10 min|