Also known as
Broad field beans, broad beans.
Rangoon vaal or field beans is a species of bean (Fabaceae) native to north Africa and southwest Asia, and extensively cultivated elsewhere also. It is a rigid, erect plant 0.5-1.7 m tall, with stout stems with a square cross-section. The leaves are 10-25 cm long, pinnate with 2-7 leaflets, and of a distinct grey-green colour.
The fruit is a broad leathery pod, green maturing blackish-brown, with a densely downy surface. Each pod contains 3-8 seeds; round to oval and 5-10 mm diameter in the wild plant, usually flattened.
Not just the beans, but the young leaves of the plant can also be eaten either raw or cooked like spinach. The vaal beans are rich in protein, calcium and folic acid, and can be eaten cooked, semi-cooked and fried too. The beans can be fried, causing the skin to split open, and then salted and/or spiced to produce a savoury crunchy snack that is loved by all!
Boiled rangoon na vaal
As the name suggests, this refers to the vaal that is boiled. You can use two cups of water per cup of vaal if cooking in a covered pot. Always put the cover on when cooking beans as it will reduce the cooking time to around 20-30 minutes, use less energy, and perhaps retain more vitamins. Bring the concoction to a boil, then turn the down the flame to medium-low. If it gets too thick, add more water. You can also pressure cook the soaked vaal with or without salt in boiling water for around 5 minutes to get boiled Rangoon vaal.
The beans are cooked when they burst and the water turns syrupy. At this point, you may add spices, vegetables or even boiled rice as per your preference and recipe requirements.
Parboiled rangoon na vaal
Parboiling is a cooking technique in which soaked vaal are partially cooked in boiling water for 3-5 minutes, but removed before it is cooked all the way through. Many recipes call for parboiled vaal, to ensure they get cooked well in the final dish along with the other ingredients.
Soaked rangoon na vaal
Clean, wash and soak Rangoon vaal in enough water overnight. Discard the water, wash the vaal, and use as required.
How to select
• Rangoon vaal is easily available at grocery stores in packaged form and in wholesale bins.
• In either case, they should be dust free and without stones and other debris.
• Always check the pre-packaged whole vaal for their expiry date.
• Whole Rangoon vaal can be used in varied preparations ranging from salads and soups to stir-fries.
• Soaked dal can be cooked till soft, and then prepared like any other dal.
• In Indonesia, they are made into a popular dessert snack which has the consistency of porridge. The beans are cooked with sugar, coconut milk, and a little ginger.
• A tangy dish is made in India by mixing cooked vaal with jaggery, tamarind and onion- ginger- garlic paste.
• Whole vaal can be soaked in water and ground to make a batter for dosa or uttappams.
• Vaal ni dal, Vaal nu pulao and Vaal usal are popular dishes of Maharasthra.
How to store
Store Rangoon vaal in an airtight container.
• Rangoon vaal like other lentils and pulses is a good source of protein and dietary fibre.
• It is low in fat and rich in B-complex vitamins, calcium and potassium.