By Preet Marwaha,
Special to The Post
Lentils that are soaked in tradition
India is a nation rooted in traditions. Holidays, religious festivals, weddings, and of course, food. The growing, making and eating of food involves a number of traditions, and is a critical component of all cultures across India.
Today we focus on the traditions around making food, in particular beans and lentils, which make up many of the staple foods consumed across India.
If you grew up eating lentils or beans, you may remember your grandmother or mother putting chickpeas, beans and lentils in a bowl filled with water and letting them sit all day or overnight. Later came the advent of the pressure cooker and this crucial step of soaking was soon a thing of the past. Traditional meals were cooked in a fraction of the time, and we were getting only a fraction of the nutrients.
Why is soaking so important?
Legumes, much like many of the nuts and seeds we eat, need to be soaked overnight to help us better digest them. The soaking removes enzyme inhibitors and phytic acids that prevent proper nutrient absorption, and prevents the gas or indigestion we experience after eating beans and lentils. One of the key nutrients in many beans and lentils is iron and unless we soak them, the amount of iron we can absorb is significantly reduced.
Soaking is a simple practice where you take your favourite bean or lentil and place them in a bowl filled with water (filtered is preferred). Let them sit for 24 hours in the fridge. After this time, drain the water and rinse the lentils or beans well. They are now ready to cook with your favourite method.
Enjoy your beans or lentils for all their nutrients and skip the bloating.
Preet Marwaha is a nutritional expert who explores the the Mind Body Food triad and how our thoughts, actions and food choices affect our health, the planet’s health and many of the social issues we face today. More information: www.preetmarwaha.com