While last month I featured fava beans that are shaped like a half-moon, now we are at full-sun time of year. This week we have the longest day of the year, the solstice. For the solstice I'm sharing a recipe of very round and full beans: garbanzo beans, or chick peas.
Ingredients (organic when possible):
Serving suggestion: Eat this dish with a small side salad of lettuce, tomato and cucumber. Dish the dal onto jasmine or basmati rice. Top with all of the following: cilantro, plain yogurt and chutneys of your choice.
If not using canned chickpeas, preparation of chickpeas begins 2-3 days prior to making the dal.
Preparing tomatoes (the purpose is to remove the skins and seeds and not yet cook the tomatoes)
Boil water and using a fork, tongs or a slotted spoon, immerse each tomato for a few seconds and remove. Peel the tomato, remove the seeds and chop.
Preparing the dal
Tip: this can be done while the chickpeas are cooking or the canned chickpeas are heating in two or more cups of water.
You are ready to serve!
Have you ever cooked with some whole grains or beans and a few hours later felt .... uncomfortable? What about nuts? Do some trail mixes or breakfast cereals seem especially tough to chew? Have you noticed that after some meals you've felt energized and after others you've felt drained and maybe even in pain? In trying to feel better did you take some medications that didn't seem to help or had undesirable side-effects?
Read on to find out how to avoid or reduce uncomfortable problems with beans, whole grains and nuts.
Look for freshness - Most beans, grains and nuts come in a dried form. Since they can keep on the shelf for years, it's not always easy to tell how fresh they are. To gain skills at identifying a healthy seed, browse at stores that sell mostly organic bulk grains and then compare how the same grains look on the shelf in a bag at another store. You may start to notice the go-to store for organics has larger, plumper, shinier beans and grains. In the case of nuts, they contain much more oils and will therefore smell more fresh showing they are not rancid.
Be careful about storage - beans, grains and nuts are all seeds. Seeds contain molecules essential to sprout a new life of a plant including fats that are easily broken down at warm temperatures and with too much light. When these fats are no longer intact, your body can't use them so they become irritants to the digestive system rather than helpful food. If there is too much wetness or dryness grains and beans will grow mold or become too dry to eventually eat. To preserve freshness, store seeds in a dry, cool, dark place in non-plastic containers.
Soak overnight - Once a colleague from India urged me to soak my lentils for even a short time before cooking because it would be more healthy than not soaking. Think about the qualities of a seed. A seed is an energy storage package. It's dormant until water gives it the signal to grow. By soaking seeds you allow them to begin to moisten and come alive and change their chemistry to make the stored food more available for the growing plant. People eat seeds because they provide energy, but if they are too dense and unactivated, your body will become tired just trying to get the energy out of them! Before making any recipe with whole grains, soak your grains in water overnight at room temperature in the dark.
Sprout - Sprouting beans, grains and nuts is important because it allows them to auto-activate more fully. One benefit of this process is reducing phytic acid content of the grains. Phytic acid is present in varying amounts in beans, whole grains and nuts and reduces the ability of the body to absorb minerals. Sprouting time varies from overnight soaking for quinoa, to several days for almonds. After soaking for 6-8 hours, rinse in a strainer and place the strainer containing grains or seeds on a large bowl and cover with a plate in order to keep them in the dark. Rinse every few hours and watch for changes in shape such as a sprout beginning to emerge.
Some people are more sensitive than others to grains, beans and nuts. With these tips, you can experiment and learn to identify what works best for you and your digestion.
I'm a Licensed Acupuncturist who loves to cook and share tips on Chinese medicine. Lately I've been on a road trip. Please subscribe to my newsletter for news on feeling your best!