Other Legumes

A number of other legumes are also important.

Lima beans, also called butter beans, are flat, broad beans ranging from creamy white to pale pastel green in color, in a range of sizes from large to small.They have a starchy texture and a distinctive flavor unlike that of any of the kidney beans. Like peas, they are often harvested when they are immature and moist and eaten as a fresh vegetable.

Chickpeas, also called garbanzos or, in Italian, ceci (chay chee), are round, hard, yellow-brown beans about twice the size of peas and best known as the main ingredient in hummus (p. 762).They stay firm and whole when cooked and have a nutty flavor. Dried chickpeas are also ground into flour.

Fava beans are broad, flat beans, the matured dried form of the vegetable discussed on page 517.The brilliant green of the immature vegetable turns a creamy brown color when the bean is dried.The skin of the dried fava is tough and the texture is starchy.

Soybeans are one of the world s most important bean crops because of their high protein content as well as their rich oil content. Fresh soybeans are used as a vegetable (p. 531). Dried soybeans are very hard and require a long cooking time, but they are not often cooked and eaten directly. Rather, they are used to make a variety of other foods, such as soy sauce, soybean paste or miso, and tofu or bean curd.These products are discussed in Chapter 20.

Mung beans are small, round beans with a dark green skin and white interior. They are often sprouted to make the bean sprouts widely used in Chinese cooking. As dried legumes, they are available whole or hulled and split.The split form has a much shorter cooking time. Split mung beans break apart when cooked to make a purée.Mung beans belong to the same family as pigeon peas and black-eyed peas.

Adzuki beans are small, oval beans with a thick red skin.They are used primarily in Asian cooking in sweet as well as savory dishes.

Dal, or dhal, is the generic term in India for dried legume. Legumes used in Indian cuisine include moong dal (mung bean), masoor dal (red lentil), urad dal (a tiny,white split lentil), and chana (chickpea).

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