What is black beans?
Black beans could not be more succinctly or descriptively named. They are just what they say they are, beans that are black. They are commonly referred to as turtle beans, probably in reference to their shiny, dark, shell-like appearance. Along with a rich smoky flavor that has been compared to mushrooms, black beans have a velvety texture, yet hold their shape well during cooking.
Also Known as
Black Spanish Beans, Common beans, Tampico beans, Venezuelan beans, turtle beans.
Boiled black beans
First clean and wash the black beans with water and drain them. Soak them in enough water for 5 hours or overnight. Next day, drain them and discard the water. Add more water and pressure cook them for 3 to 4 whistles. You can add salt while pressure cooking. Alternatively, you can cook the soaked and drained black beans in boiling water on stovetop.
Soaked black beans
To shorten their cooking time and make them easier to digest, black beans should be presoaked. There are two basic methods for presoaking. For each you should start by placing the beans in a saucepan and adding two to three cups of water per cup of beans. The first method is to boil the beans for two minutes, take the pan off the heat, cover and allow to stand for two hours. The alternative method is to simply soak the beans in water for eight hours or overnight. Before cooking the beans, regardless of method, drain the soaking liquid and rinse the beans with clean water.
How to select black beansDried black beans are generally available in prepackaged containers as well as bulk bins. Just as with any other food that you may purchase in the bulk section, make sure that the bins containing the black beans are covered and that the store has a good product turnover to ensure the beans' maximal freshness. Whether purchasing black beans in bulk or in packaged containers, make sure that there is no evidence of moisture or insect damage and that they are whole and not cracked.
Culinary Uses of black beans in Indian Cooking
1. Include black beans with your other favorite toppings next time you make a stuffed baked potato.
2. Black bean soup is sure to warm you up on cold winter days or anytime of the year you want to enjoy its nurturing essence.
3. For a "mucho bueno" twist on traditional burritos, use black beans in place of refried pinto beans.
4. Black bean sauce is readily available in market. Stir-fry a wide range of vegetables or paneer/tofu and make delicious oriental appetizers and gravies. Tofu in Black Bean Sauce is a real treat for the palette!
5. Blend cooked black beans with tomatoes, onions, garlic and your favorite spices to create a delicious bean stuffing and make Mexican tacos with them instead of kidney beans..
6. For a simple yet delicious lunch or dinner entrée, serve a Cuban inspired meal of black beans and rice.
7. In a serving bowl, layer black beans, guacamole, chopped tomatoes, diced onions and cilantro to make a delicious layered dip.
8. You can even substitute chickpeas and make a Black Bean Hummus, which can be served with pita bread or as a dip with deep-fried snacks.
9. Looking for a unique dip to serve along with crunchy tortilla chips? This Black Bean Dip is sure to tickle your taste buds.
10. Empty your kitchen shelves with all the available Mexican ingredients to make this Black Bean and Caramelized Onion Burger that everyone will love.
11. Give your regular meals a new taste, try this Black Bean Dal which is not only easy to make but also, tasty and healthy!
12. You can even use soaked and boiled black beans to make nutritious salads.
How to store black beansStore dried black beans in an airtight container in a cool, dry and dark place where they will keep up to 12 months. If you purchase black beans at different times, store them separately since they may feature varying stages of dryness and therefore will require different cooking times. Cooked black beans will keep fresh in the refrigerator for about three days if placed in a covered container.
Health benefits of black beans
Black beans is a legume which is low in calories and carbs as compared to other legumes. The protein, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus in these beans help to build bone strength. The fibre in these beans can help in managing diabetes and also add satiety and thus aid in weight loss. The fibre along with potassium, folate and vitamin B6 can support heart health by helping in lowering blood cholesterol levels. The antioxidants in black beans further help to reduce oxidative damage and maintain cell health.