Pulses are a staple of Indian cuisine. No matter how many fancy dishes we try, our heart eventually craves for basic Daal-Chawal. Pulses are a rich source of protein, which is paramount for vegetarians. But do you know the correct way to have lentils? A lot of people complain of digestive issues after eating pulses but why is it so? Some pulses like pigeon pea (arhar dal) can cause gas, indigestion, and bloating but not all people experience these issues. If you too feel heavy and uneasy after consuming lentils, you are probably cooking them wrongly. Experts advise soaking pulses for some time before cooking. There is a good reason behind doing so..
Certified Nutritionist Dt. Kiran Kukreja recently shared an Instagram post on the benefits of soaking pulses. She pointed out that most people simply wash lentils and then cook them. Only a few soak them in advance. There are numerous benefits of soaking lentils before cooking. Here are some of them:
- Reduces digestive problems - If you experience gas, indigestion, constipation, heaviness, etc. after eating lentils, you must soak them before use. This eliminates gas-causing compounds from them to lessen the possibility of digestive issues.
- Increases mineral absorption - We all know that lentils are a powerhouse of minerals. While you will get them upon consumption, cooking soaked lentils could increase the absorption rate. Your body will be able to absorb all the minerals faster.
- Improves digestion - When you soak lentils, its amylase compound is activated. Amylase breaks down complex starch present in lentils, which makes them easy to digest. In short, lentils are easily digested because of the soaking.
One of the benefits of soaking lentils is that it reduces cooking time. For example, it would take an hour to cook kidney beans (rajma) if not soaked. Whereas, if you soak them for at least two to three hours before cooking, it would take hardly 20 minutes to boil them. So, cooking time is also reduced after soaking.
How long should lentils be soaked?
Different lentils require different times to soak properly. Some lentils need to be soaked for 30 minutes while some should be soaked for a couple of hours.
- As per Dt. Kiran Kukreja, split pulses like moong dal, arhar dal, etc., should be soaked for 30 minutes to two hours depending upon the quantity.
- Whole pulses should be soaked for two to three hours to minimise gastric compounds.
- Lentils like kidney beans (rajma) or chickpeas (chhole) should be soaked overnight. They will be cooked quickly and you will get to enjoy them without feeling heavy and uneasy.
In a nutshell, you must soak lentils before cooking. This not only enhances their nutritive value but also reduces potential health risks as well as cooking time.
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