What is vaal, field beans, butter beans?
Sometimes called 'butter beans' because of its starchy and buttery texture, vaal has a delicate flavour that complements a wide variety of dishes. You will find them in various shapes and sizes, ranging from cream-coloured flat long beans, to broad hard beans and off white oval-shaped dal. This versatile ingredient is used commonly in Maharashtrian, Gujarathi and Parsi kitchens in traditional recipes like Vangi ani val, Dalimbi, Walor muthia nu shaak, Tittori dal etc.
Also Known as
Field beans, Lima beans, Fava Beans, Dried vaal, Butter beans, Broad Beans
Sort the beans to remove any stones or debris. Wash it well in running water. Now, soak it in warm water. This helps reduce the cooking time, thereby saving on time as well as energy. Further you can use them as per recipe requirements.
How to select vaal, field beans, butter beans
• It is available pre-packaged as well as in bulk containers as dried vaal beans, whole or split.
• If purchasing in a packaged container, check to see if there is a "use-by" date on the package.
• Just as with any other food that you may purchase in the bulk section, make sure that the bins containing the vaal beans are covered and that the store has a good product turnover so as to ensure its maximal freshness.
• Whether purchasing vaal in bulk or in a packaged container, make sure that there is no evidence of moisture.
Culinary Uses of vaal, field beans, butter beans in Indian Cooking
• On cooking, vaal acquires a strong, nutty aroma and the taste becomes creamy with a slight, but not unpleasant bitterness. This combines well with coconut, jaggery and ginger.
• The beans can be fried, causing the skin to split open, and then salted and/or spiced to produce a savoury, crunchy snack.
• You can add the cooled vaal beans to soups, sandwiches and salads.
• Rangoon na Vaal is a simple and nutritious preparation of field beans.
• Vaal, known as Lima beans, is popular in China, Peru (habas salads), Mexico (habas con chile) and Thailand, where its name means "open-mouth nut".
• In Schezuan cuisine, the beans are combined with soybeans and chili peppers to produce a spicy fermented bean paste called doubanjiang.
• In most Arab countries, the fava bean is used for a breakfast meal called ful medames, made by combining cooked or crushed fava beans to a sauce.
How to store vaal, field beans, butter beans
• Clean the vaal and remove any stones or dirt particles.
• It can be stored indefinitely in an airtight container in a cool, dry location.
• Cooked vaal should be stored in the refrigerator and can be used for up to 3 or 4 days.
Health benefits of vaal, field beans, butter beans
Vaal is a storehouse of protein and fibre. The duo of these nutrients makes you feel full for longer, helping cut unnecessary food intake and weight gain. The fibre also aids digestion and maintains digestive health. Beans also appear to have a blood sugar normalizing effect, and may be of benefit to diabetics. The zinc in this dal acts as an antioxidant and helps to protect against cancer and fatigue. They also abound in vitamin B1 which has a role to play in nerve functioning. Upon sprouting, they vitamins and minerals increase manifold.