For dinner tonight I am trying an Indian recipe – kala chana. I found some black chickpeas at the store when I was visiting my cousin last weekend for a really good price so I bought a 3 lb bag of these bad boys. I frequently cook and eat the lighter, softer garbanzo beans common at salad bars (I know you’ve seen my chickpea sandwich mix, I eat it at least once per week). But I wanted to try these black ones for a change.
I picked up all my spices at the Indian market earlier today, and now I’m about to throw down.
The hard part about making beans and grains is remembering to pre-soak them — overnight is best. Presoaking beans overnight not only cuts down on cooking time by up to 25%, it also helps the beans cook evenly without splitting, and it helps break down the sugars in beans that cause gaseous expellations.
When I forget to soak beans overnight, the next day I’ll instead do the “fast soak” method my grandmother taught me. Not only is it faster than soaking beans overnight, I have heard that the fast soak method breaks down more of the complex sugars that can make beans hard for some people to digest than overnight soaking does.
Since its all good, this is how we get down with the quick soak method:
Pick over your beans and remove broken ones, rocks, or misshapen beans. Toss those in the garbage. Then rinse beans, and place in pot. Add enough water to cover the beans and about three inches more. Bring beans and water to a boil and let boil for two minutes. Remove pot from heat, cover with top, and let stand for one whole hour. Do not remove the top to peek in — you need that heat and steam to stay in there with the beans. Plus the beans won’t be doing anything different than they were when you put them in the pot. Feel me?
Drain beans in colander and rinse. You’re now ready to cook whatever bean recipe you had in mind.