Sunday, November 04, 2007

cooking dried beans, Taiwan-style

It's a little hard to find canned beans here, but I've easily found chickpeas, black beans, and pinto beans at the local (non-Western) grocery store.

Cooking them is pretty easy. There are lots of methods on the internet, but this works for me!

1. Soak them for about eight hours- either overnight, or I like to put them out before I go to work in the morning and cook them when I get home. Fill a large bowl no more than 1/3 full of beans, then fill almost to the top with water. They will expand a lot.

2. Drain the beans and rinse them.

3a. In a rice cooker, put the beans and an equal part of water in the rice bowl part, and fill the outside of the rice bowl with water. Basically like you would make rice. Check on them every ten minutes or so to make sure the water hasn't all cooked out. It should be done when the cooker says its done, but check to make sure they're soft enough- if not, do another cycle. Drain, rinse,the end!

3b. If you don't have a rice cooker, cook them on the stove- again, one part beans to at least one part water. Bring to a boil, then cook on medium-low (on a Taiwan-style stovetop; probably medium on a Western one) for at least an hour. It should be a very light simmer. Check on them every 20 minutes or so and add small amounts of water to make sure it never boils dry (or even comes close). Don't let it come to a good boil. Drain, rinse,the end!

It sounds like a pain but there's very little hands-on time involved. Both methods work equally well- the rice cooker is faster but the stovetop method is nice to warm up your apartment during the winter!

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