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While we generally associate dried peas with a deep green colour, they are also available in a yellowish white (safed) colour, which offers a more delicate flavour. Safed vataana is nothing but dried white peas. Dried peas are produced by harvesting the peapods when they are fully mature and then drying them. Once they are dried and the skins removed, they split naturally.
When fresh peas are not available or when you want to enjoy a starchier, hardier flavoured legume, dried peas or white vataana are the perfect choice. Safed vataana is available all year round, and there are different types, all of which are spherical in shape.
Parboiled safed vatana
Parboiling is a cooking technique in which soaked safed vataana are partially cooked in boiling water, but removed before it is cooked all the way through. As dried peas take longer to cook than other ingredients, many recipes call for parboiled peas, to ensure that they cook completely in the final dish.
Soaked safed vatana
Soak the safed vataana in plenty of water for 6 to 8 hours. Drain and use as per the recipe.
Sprouted safed vatana
Wash the safed vatana and soak it overnight in sufficient water in a flat-bottomed container. Then, drain the water and keep the vatana aside. Take the flat-bottomed bowl or saucer, line its bottom with a wet 100% cotton washcloth. Spread the soaked safed vatana on the cloth. Take another similar cloth and cover the vatana. If the cloth is large enough, the same cloth can be folded over the safed vatana, to make a bundle-like arrangement. Keep the container in a dry, dark place. After 12 hrs, sprinkle some more water on the cloth to make sure it is moist. Once the safed vatana has sprouted to the desired length, you can remove and use it as required in the recipe.
How to select
• Dried peas are generally available in pre-packaged containers as well as bulk bins.
• They are available as whole peas or split peas.
• Regardless of packaging, check the peas as best as possible to ensure that they are not cracked and that they are free of debris.
• Use safed vataana to make dal, the classic Indian dish.
• Safed vataana soup, whether homemade or from a container, is a delicious way to enjoy this nutritious legume.
• Purée cooked peas with your favourite herbs and spices and serve as a side dish.
• Boiled safed vataana can be made into a tangy chaat with chopped onions, green chilies and tomatoes.
How to store
• Dried peas or safed vataana will keep for several months if stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry and dark place.
• If you need to store them for longer, you can keep them in the refrigerator
• Dried peas, a small but nutritionally mighty member of the legume family, is a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fibre.
• Not only can dried peas help lower cholesterol, it also helps manage blood-sugar disorders since their high fibre content prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal.
• Dried peas also provide good to excellent amounts of four important minerals, two B-vitamins and protein, all with virtually no fat.
• Dried peas, like other legumes, are rich in soluble fibre.
• They are a good source of potassium, which may decrease the growth and development of blood vessel plaques and is also good for lowering high blood pressure.
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