Learn how to soak beans, how to soak beans fast, and why soaking beans is important for the dish. Here are my tried and tested bean-soaking methods that will make cooking them easier and elevate taste too!
When I was growing up, mum always entrusted me with the task of soaking beans overnight for the next day’s menu. And of course, I always forgot. Now when I savour my creamy homemade hummus, I understand why she used to breathe down my neck about… well, everything, and soaking beans in specific.
I’ll get to the quick fix for the forgot-to-soak-beans situation in just a bit. First, let’s look at –
WHY SOAK THE BEANS?
Cooking unsoaked beans like rajma and black beans can add up to 2 hours to your cooking time. However, beans soaked overnight cook much faster, around 35-40 minutes.
Soaked beans are firmer and fewer beans will burst or split open while cooking. The dish will taste way better.
And here’s a fun fact – soaked beans are easier to digest! Bigger varieties like kidney beans contain ‘oligosaccharides’ – complex sugars that our bodies cannot fully break down. Soaking beans overnight helps to get rid of these complex sugars, therefore reducing gas and indigestion.
So, set a reminder if you have to and soak soak soak.
HOW MUCH WATER SHOULD I USE?
As a thumb rule, I use 3 cups of water for 1 cup of beans. Make sure the beans are submerged and there is 2 inches of water covering them.
WHAT’S THE RECOMMENDED SOAKING TIME?
About 8 hours. Overnight, if I remember to do it.
I drain the water in which the beans have been soaked. But while preparing my dish, I use the liquid in which the beans have been cooked or steamed. This cooking liquid has all the nutrients and goodness and boosts the flavour profile of dishes.
Use this Tip if you Forgot to Soak Beans
Join the club. At the end of the day, we are all human beans 🙂
Here’s how to soak beans fast. I call it my ‘Quick Soak’ method for when I’m impatient and bean-hungry.
Rinse the beans in water to pick out impurities. Next, fill a pot with water so the beans are submerged by about 2 inches. Place this pot on the stove and bring it to a boil. Let the beans cook without a lid for about 5-6 minutes. Turn off the heat and cover the vessel. Leave it for about an hour, drain the water, and use the beans.
Alternatively, place beans in a container, top with boiling water, stir in a teaspoon of salt (salt helps with the absorption of liquid) and cover it tightly with a lid. I suggest using a casserole or a box with a tight lid. Leave it for an hour, and voila! Quick soaked beans are ready!
These methods work well for any type of beans, especially kidney beans, navy beans, chickpeas, etc.
Here are some delicious recipes that use beans
This article has been researched and compiled by Bhavana Bhat