Get Food Educated Series-2 : Know Your Pulses

  Know Your Pulses: The facts

  • A legume refers to any plant from the Fabaceae family that would include its leaves, stems, and pods. Fabaceae family comprises 730 genera with over 19,400 species.
  • A pulse is the edible dry seed from a legume plant. So a fresh pea seed is not a pulse.
  • Dry legumes yield between one and 12  pulses per pod.
  • Pulses come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. They provide protein, fiber, and significant amounts of minerals and vitamins in our diet.

Food And Agricultural Organization (FAO) notes that the term “pulses” is limited to legumes harvested solely for dry grain only. The legumes that are used exclusively for oil extraction or used for sowing purposes are excluded. These legumes include soybeans and groundnuts that are used for oil extraction and seeds of clover and alfalfa that are used exclusively for sowing purposes.

How we use pulses in our diet:

  • Soak pulses in water for 4-6 hours, soaking the pulses make them soft.
  • Split whole gram with or without skin; split pulses are commonly known as dal
  • The ready-to-eat roasted whole seeds or dal, flour are some of the processed products of pulses.

 Pulses  in our favorite  dishes:

  • Whole seeds: sprouts, boiled, roasted, mixed with vegetables as curries
  • Dal: as salad, gravies, vada, sweets, snacks mixed with cereals –as dosa, idly, etc.
  • Flour: Chickpea flour or Besan commonly used in gravies, savories, sweets, roti. Black gram dal flour is used to make dosa.

FAO recognizes 11 primary pulses

Know the varieties under the Pulses (FAO)

  1. Dry beans: There are many varieties under this type and some of them are listed here
    • Adzuki bean (Azuki bean)
    • Black gram ( Urad, Black lentil or White lentil)
    • Black Turtle bean (Black bean
    • Borlotti Bean
    • Cannellini beans (Italian white kidney beans)
    • Flageolet beans
    • Haricot beans( Navy Bean, Pea bean, White pea bean)
    • Horse gram ( Hurli, Kollu, Kulthi, Madras gram)
    • Lima bean( Butter bean, Double Bean, Wax bean)
    • Moth bean (Dew Bean, Matki Kal, Mat bean, Turkish gram)
    • Mung bean(Green gram)
    • Pinto beans
    • Rice bean(Galmoong, Mambi bean, Red bean, Sutri)
    • Red kidney beans(Rajmah)
    • Scarlet runner bean( Multiflora bean)
    • Tepary bean (Often confused with Moth Bean)
  1. Dry Broad Beans
  • Horse bean (Fava beans, Pigeon beans, and Windsor beans)
  • Broad bean
  • Field bean
  1. Dry peas:
  • Garden pea (Field pea, Matar, Battani)
  • Protein pea
  1. Chickpea (Bengal gram, Chana, Egyptian pea, Garbanzo)
  • Bambai chickpeas
  • Desi chickpeas
  • Kabuli chickpeas

Among  the pulses, Chickpea is one of the earliest cultivated legumes, and 9500-year-old remains have been found in the Middle East

  1. Dry  cowpea (Black-eyed Bean, black-eyed bean Alasande, Barbati, Karamani, Chowli, Yardlong bean)
  1. Pigeon pea (Arhar/Toor, Cajan pea, Congo bean, Red gram)
  1. Lentil:
  • Red lentils (Egyptian lentils, Masoor)
  • Yellow lentils
  • Green or brown lentils
  • Puy lentils
  • Umbrian lentil
  1. Bambra Groundnut (Earth pea)
  2. Lupins (Lupini bean)
  1. Vetch (Common vetch). Vetch seeds contain anti-nutritional factors. 
  1. Pulses NES, Minor pulses, including:
    • Lablab (Avare, Hyacinth bean, Sheem, Tonga bean )
    • Jack bean (Sword bean)
    • Winged bean (Goa Bean, Dragon bean)
    • Velvet bean(Bengal bean, Buffalo bean, Cowitch, Lacuna bean)
    • Yam bean (Jicama Bean) 
    • Grass Pea (Kesari dal)

Start exploring the now unused legumes in your diets:

 Try to include new pulses:

  1. Substitute a new pulse in part like, if you are using  100 g  Urad dal in a  dosa recipe try to use 25 g horse and reduce 25g urad dal 
  2. Use different pulses with vegetable curries.
  3. You can include ground pulses with wheat flour to make the chapatti more nutritious..

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