More and more often I hear patients say that practically do not use beans in their diet. And, it’s not because they don’t like them, quite the opposite, the main reason is that they don’t know how to cook them or they just don’t have the time.
Beans are automatically associated with elaborate and nutritious dishes that make us feel satisfied and nourished. This is due to its high amount of fiber and complex carbohydrates. When we eat them we don’t crave for food for hours, and our levels of energy remain high
Unfortunately, beans are also associated to mothers cooking, many of whom spent all morning in the kitchen. However, preparing beans does not have to be long and complicated but it requires some planning .
Beans need soaking. Soaking will reduce the cooking time and making them more digestible and reducing their content in purines.
So, the first step is to place the beans in a bowl of water for 8 to 12 hours. Water should be cold, except for the chickpeas, which will be more tender if you use warm water. Our mothers used to do the soaking process at night, so in the morning beans were ready to be cooked. But If you are not going to be able to cook in the morning, you can put them to soak before you go to work and when you come back they’lll be ready for cooking .
After soaking, throw the water, that way you will get rid of the purines. Next put the beans in a pot with fresh water and a piece of kombu.
Kombu is a very interesting seaweed to use when we cook beans. It contains glutamic acid which softens the fibers of the beans making them more digestible and reducing the cooking time. In addition, it does not alter the taste of the stew and it provides lots of minerals. It is especially rich in iodine and calcium. It contains almost 8 times more calcium than milk.
We can also add spices that will make the beans more digestive: small amount of cumin, fennel, 2 or 3 bay leaves or a couple of slices of ginger. All these ingredients are known to improve the digestibility of beans. They also bring interesting flavors to dishes. Better try them separately to see which one you like best.
It is important not to add salt at the beginning of the cooking process, because if we do so the beans will not get soft. You and add a pinch of salt when they are ready and cook for a few more minutes.
During the cooking process, if you are not using a pressure cooker you can add water to the beans from time to time. This process, is meant to help soften them. If using a pressure cooker, do not worry, just check the indications on cooking beans for your pressure cooker.
It is very important that beans are well cooked. They must be very soft to be digested properly. Cooking time varies from one cooker to another and from a type of pot to another. You might need to try a few times to get the correct timing.
Once the water has come to boil, lower the flame, place the lid , and let it gently cooked. Beans should be cooked on a low fire so that they don’t break.
When beans are tender it is time to add the salt and let them cook a few more minutes.
Your beans a ready, enjoy them!!