Tuesday Tip: Cooking Legumes
It used to take ages for me to cook legumes. Sometimes it would take so long that we would have to let it boil away and leave it for the next day. Then make an omelette as an emergency. Since then I’ve investigated the quicker way to cook legumes, if we can consider beginning 24 hours beforehand as quick that is.
The first thing we need to do is rinse the legumes in water and then soak them about 24 hours before you plan to cook them. During those 24 hours, if you are around the kitchen, change the water a few times. After a few hours you will begin to notice how they start puffing up, so make sure your container is quite larger than the volume of the legumes.
Secondly comes the cooking part. This is where I used to go wrong. I used to put all the other ingredients in a huge pot, cook them, then add water and the legumes. They would take hours to soften. Boring, waste of time and energy, hungry… This does not make any scientific sense at all! Actually all the contrary, what I needed to do was put the legumes in a big pot with cold water and boil them with nothing else in the pot. No salt, no condiments and definitely no chorizo. They would then take about 30 – 45 minutes to become soft, depending on your legume. Just check them, take one out and poke them and you can tell how cooked they are. Once they have become soft, then you can add all the other ingredients to make your stew.
The scientific reasoning behind this is that, as we know, the boiling point of water is 100°C. If anything else comes in the water (for example: salt) its boil point increases. This means that it needs a higher temperature and longer time to start boiling. So, to boil legumes, its best to do it only with water.
Note: this post goes for all types of legumes such as beans, chickpeas or lentils. However, the 24 hours soaking part may be omitted with lentils.
Do you have any legume cooking tips? We’d all love to find out.
Thank you for reading!