Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cooking Dried Beans

Unless you are dealing with fast-cooking adzukis, put the beans in water anywhere from the night before to noontime, assuming you're cooking them after work.  The exact amount of water doesn't matter -- about half again the volume of the beans.  The cooking times vary, but my favorite two kinds of beans are adzukis and black beans.  The adzukis you can just cook straightaway with no soaking, although a couple of hours will help.

Once they are soaked up, put the beans into a pot with some extra space since it may foam up.  Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce to medium-low heat.  You can add a bit of salt, but keep it light because the liquid will be evaporating, concentrating the salt -- and it's easier to add salt than it is to remove it.  The cooking time will vary based on the beans and how long they were soaked, but most likely it'll be 40 minutes to an hour.  Soaked adzukis might be more like 30.  Once they are cooked, you can pour off extra liquid of you want, or keep them soupy if you prefer.

Once the beans are cooked, they are a blank slate to which you can add flavors.  Add more salt now to your taste.  I like adding black pepper, cumin, turmeric, and some kind of hot sauce.  Cilantro, parsley, thyme, rosemary are all reasonable choices as well.

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