Pulses and beans form a significant portion of plant-based nutrition. Compared to any other culture,we Indians have done wonders in making them a well-integrated part of our staple diet. However,these days this naturally grown food is altered from the time it pops out of the soil till it reaches our plate. Also, we are mostly eating them in the same cooked way. But there is a lot that you can do.Read on to know more.
Collectively termed legumes, pulses and beans include:
Beans such as chholey (chickpeas), rajma (kidney beans), lobia (raungi or black eyed beans),black chana, dried peas, etc.
All types of dals such as red lentils, yellow moong, green moong, tur daal, chana daal, etc.
Aim for wholesome nutrition
Pulses and beans must be consumed in their whole and unaltered form to derive the maximum nutritional benefit. Whole means in its most natural state - free from processing, polishing, additives or any other measure to refine them. These days super markets flood their shelves with brighter, shinier legumes and pulses. And you would also find not so good looking, husked and not split varieties of legumes. Which one should you opt for?
From the time of the harvest, the legumes, i.e. beans and pulses go through certain processing like de-husking, milling, splitting, and polishing to make it palatable for humans. And to some extent it is fine.
The trouble is when they go further into refining and polishing it to make them look presentable and to improve their shelf life. Each step in the process strips the legumes off its natural nutritional benefits. The de- husking removes the external bran coating, the dietary fibre that aids in digestion. During the process of milling they are disintegrated further and are polished with oils and other syntheticadditives to make it look appealing. But by now the protein and essentials minerals in these prettier looking legumes have depleted.
Next time when you are out to buy legumes and beans stick to “chilka waale” / “saabut” / whole varieties. They may not look as pretty but they will definitely do what they are supposed to do - provide you with your legit, rightful and authentic nutrition.
Aim for Variety
In the majority of our homes, we have cooked daal, chholey, rajma, lobia, black chana, etc in regular meals. And with some planning, we can expand the variety in which we consume these legumes.
It’s the process by which the seeds are germinated which when nurtured would develop into young plants. So you see it is a life source of another young life and hence loaded with life-sustaining compounds that help to ward off several diseases and ailments. Eating sprouts is probably the best way to consume legumes. For more information about the process of sprouting and its benefits, read here.
The process of sprouting is easy and can be done with a variety of legumes. And then eaten in diverse ways, such as those mentioned below.
1) In Salads
There is a basic salad mix that can make a variety of quick and nutrition loaded salads with sprouts. Allyou need to do is mix up finely chopped onions, tomatoes, capsicum, boiled potatoes, cucumber,chilies and coriander leaves. Sprinkle black salt, roasted cumin powder, chat masala powder, a few drops lemon juice. Now this basic mixture can perk up any variety of sprouts you have. You can also add boiled beans like rajma, chholey (chickpea), lobia (raungi), black chana or any boiled pulses like green moong or chanaa dal to the basic salad mix. You can also convert any of the above salads into bhel by mixing a handful of puffed rice and green coriander chutney, eliminating lemon.
Another way to add variation to your meals especially lunchboxes and breakfasts. And the best way to get the kids to eat the legumes without the grunts.
This is a very accommodating basic cutlet recipe.Take boiled, mashed potatoes, add finely chopped onions, coriander leaves, green chilies, amchoor powder, salt, black pepper, a bit garam masala powder and some rice flour for binding. In this mixture,you can add any soaked, drained legumes and slightly grill it or bake it to make it into fine cutlets like green moong cutlet, green pea’s cutlet, boiled black chana tikkis.
3) In Chillas
When you hear chillas are you still reminded of besan chilla or rice flour chilla. In fact you can make chilla out of lobia , saabut/whole green moong, chana daal too. All you need to do is soak them for 6-8 hours and then grind in your food processor. You can even make chillas from sprouts, just add some water and
grind to make it into abatter.
4) In Soups
Nothing can beat the blissful contentment from a bowl of soup. Yet another way to add variety to yourlegumes. A recipe for you -take some boiled small red kidney beans or rajma and mix it with this recipe of soup, you will have a hearty, healthy bowl for your meal. And this hearty soup is exotic enough for the kids’ variety craving palate.
We hope this jogged your imagination enough to include ‘whole’ legumes in your meal in a ‘variety’ of ways.
Bonus Tip - Legumes gel well with vegetables and make a gut-friendly, ease of digestion promoting combination. Food combination has a tremendous effect on how its nutrition is absorbed in the body. Read here to find out more.
With so many varieties of legumes and so many ways in which you can consume them, there is no dearth of recipes you can try. We would love to hear from you. What is your way of bringing legumes on to your dining table? . Share in the comments.
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