Pulses & Soya

 

Pulse is a collective name for a wide range of dried peas, beans and lentils. Although there are thousands of species of beans and peas, they tend to have very similar characteristics. They are high in complex carbohydrates and fibre, low in fat, and contain about 25% protein (more than eggs, fish or flesh foods), earning them the term 'poor man's meat. When cooked, they have a simple, earthy taste and a robust, filling quality.

The term 'pulse' originates from the ancient Roman word 'puls', meaning pottage, a thick stew. Our growing interest in Indian and Middle Eastern cooking has also brought Eastern species to our shelves, along with the word 'gram', which is one of the collective names for dried beans and peas: for example, green gram (mung bean) and Bengal gram (chickpea). Dhal is used to refer to pulses that have been stripped of their outer hulls and then split, which makes them easier to cook and digest.

All pulses should be cleaned and sorted before cooking, so that any foreign matter or chipped or shrivelled examples may be discarded. Most dried pulses (other than lentils, mung beans and split peas) need soaking for several hours before they can be cooked, and some, such as the ked kidney bean, must be boiled for at least 10 minutes to destroy a naturally occurring toxin found in the bean before they are then slow cooked. Canned pulses are already soaked and cooked and so only need rinsing and draining before heating.

Also included in this section is soya, a bean that is not usually grown to cook and eat as it is, but rather for its many protein products, some of which include soya milk, soy sauce, tofu and miso.

Adzuki Beans
A small, sweet red bean that may be used in salads, rice dishes or desserts ...
Black Beans
Particularly common in Latin American cuisine, this small bean is used to make frijoles refritos, feijoada and balck bean soup ...
Black Eyed Beans
An earthy, nutty bean used to make Hoppin' John, a traditional southern US dish ...
Borlotti Beans
As essential ingredient in Italian regional dishes such as pasta e fagioli ...
Broad Beans
A meaty tasting bean, traditionally used to make Egyptian falafel ...
Butter Beans
Also known as the lima bean, this soft, creamy bean may be used in soups, stews and casseroles ...
Cannellini Beans
A haricot bean from Italy similar to the navy bean or butter bean ...
Chickpeas
Use whole in stews, salads, curries and as a snack, or grind to make hummus and garam flour ...
Dhal
The Sanskrit term used for dried beans, peas or lentils and the spicy stew that they make ...
Flageolets
Young, dried haricot beans ideal for serving with roast lamb ...
Ful Medame
A small variety of broad bean used to create the national dish of Egypt ...
Haricot Beans
A group of beans including the flageolet, cannelloni, navy bean, pearl haricot bean and Boston bean ...
Lentils
A look at the wide variety of dried lentil seeds, including brown, green, red and Puy lentils ...
Mung Beans
A small green bean that may be used to make dhal, Chinese and Japanese noodles or grown into beansprouts ...
Navy Beans
A small, white bean most commonly used to make baked beans ...
Pinto Beans
Similar to the borlotti bean, the mottled pinto bean is ideal for making chillies and refried beans ...
Red Kidney Beans
The bright, colourful beans traditional used for making chilli and refried beans ...
Soya Beans
A versatile bean most commonly used to make tofu, miso, soy milk and soy sauce ...
Split Peas
Yellow and green split peas ...