What are pulses? How do you cook them? Also, can you cook them inside the microwave? Keep on reading to find out, dear reader.
Pulses are legumes or beans. They belong to the Fabaceae family and it also refers to the seed or fruit of such plants. A pulse is when you use their seeds as dry grain. You can grow legumes agriculturally and turn them into pulses for human consumption.
They’re also used as livestock silage and forage or included in soil-enhancing manure when push comes to shove.
How to Cook Pulses in Microwave
Long story short, in order to cook pulses, legumes, nuts, or beans in your microwave, do the following. Make sure the beans are tender before putting them inside the microwave by bathing them in water overnight. Cover them inside a tight-fitting lid then microwave them on high for 7 to 10 minutes.
Do so until the pulses end up boiling. Stir, cover, and microwave them on 50 percent power or medium for 33 to 35 minutes. Stir them gently every 15 minutes until the pulses end up nice and tender.
Details on How to Cook Pulses or Beans
Even though the microwave doesn’t cook dried beans or pulses in an instant, it can still cook pulses at a much shorter time frame. It cuts the time in half. You really have to cook the dry means thoroughly to make them edible and soft.
Microwaving even reduces the risk of water boiling over as well as scorched pot bottoms. This means your kitchen will stay cool regardless of the torrid weather. Follow the instructions below for the best results.
- Avoid a Boil Over: Use a microwave-safe casserole twice the volume of the pulses and water you’re putting inside it. Put drippings or a tablespoon of margarine, a ham one, or a chunk of bacon or salt pork. This also keeps the beans from boiling or bubbling over too.
- Cover Beans Tightly: As an exception to the rule of loosening lids when microwaving anything, you should cook pulses with the lid tightly shut. This is to keep the beans from going dry. Don’t use plastic food wrap because it splits during long cooking sessions.
- Don’t Salt Beans: Don’t salt the beans until they’re cooked because they can get toughened by them. Don’t hurry the cooking of the beans by keeping the power at 100 percent. This will only make the pulses tough and chewy to eat as well as dry them out.
- Lower the Power: Once the liquid boils reduce the power to medium or 50 percent for the rest for the cooking time to let the beans absorb the soup. Make sure the beans are tender before taking them off of the oven.
- Microwave Further If: Microwave further for 5-minute increments if the beans remain tough instead of tender after the recommended microwave time. Some super-hydrated and old pulses take longer to cook.
How to Cook Basic Boiled Dried Beans
Get the following ingredients.
- Salt, pepper
- 1 pound dried beans, sorted
- 1 tablespoon bacon drippings, margarine or oil
- Soaking water plus enough hot water to total 3 cups
First off, rinse beans then soak overnight in 1 quart of cold water. Cover the casserole with a tight-fitting lid. Microwave the whole thing at the highest power for 7-10 minutes until the water boils.
- Heat at Medium: Stir after 7-10 minutes then cover again. Set the microwave at medium power or 50 percent for 35 to 55 minutes. Stir your dried beans gently every 15 minutes until the beans become tender.
- Which Beans Cook Fastest? You can cook kidney beans and cannellini beans fastest. The slowest to cook include black beans, pinto, marrowfat, Great Northern, Navy, and peas.
- Let It Stand: Let your basic boiled dried beans stand for 5 minutes after cooking for about half an hour. Drain and reserve the liquid for a stew or soup. Season these cooked pulses to taste with salt and pepper. This makes 6 servings and can be used for many recipes.
- Sour Cream: You can top off the black beans with sour cream. Other than that, you can also put in minced cilantro or chopped red or yellow onion, and so forth.
- Variation: To make the cooked dried beans savory, add lamb bone, roast beef, or small ham as well as ¼ salt pork or diced bacon along with 1 minced clove garlic and ½ cup minced yellow onion. Microwave as directed above, allowing extra 5 minutes of medium-power microwaving.
How to Cook Old-Time Baked Beans
Get the following ingredients.
- ¼ cup dark molasses
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon dry mustard
- 1 medium yellow onion, minced
- ⅓ cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ pound lean salt pork, cut in ¼-inch dice
- Bean liquid plus enough water to total ¾ to 1 cup
- 5 to 5½ cups cooked navy or pea beans, drained (reserve liquid)
Now combine the salt pork and onion into the 4-quart or 5-quart casserole and cover with paper towels before microwaving on high for 4 minutes—Stir in 2 minutes then microwave for another 2 minutes.
- Stir into the Beans: Stir into the dried pulses ¾ cup bean liquid, pepper, mustard, molasses, and brown sugar.
- Cover with Wax Paper: Cover the bowl with wax paper then microwave at 9-10 minutes. Stir at half of the time or 4-5 minutes. Do so until the beans gently bubble.
- Reduce Power: Reduce power to 50 percent or medium then microwave from 30-35 minutes (like with basic boiled beans). Stir carefully at 15 to 17 minutes until the flavor is mellow.
- Check Liquid: Check liquid after stirring and add ¼ cup more liquid if beans look dry. Stir again and let stand for 10 minutes. Season with salt to taste.
- Take Note: In ovens with only 600 watts of peak power, increase cooking time by about 15 percent.
What Else Do You Need?
Yes, normally you don’t close the lid tightly because of building pressure. It turns the container into a pressure cooker. Other foods will turn into mush or spill over when you do this. When cooking pulses, this is encouraged because pulses or dry beans take longer to cook.
In this case, it’s okay to fit the lid close instead of putting it slightly ajar. You can cook most pulses by microwave except chickpeas and dried whole peas, which should probably be cooked traditionally.
- Leah Mensch, “Spilling the Beans – Can you cook beans in the microwave?“, Pittnews.com, April 22, 2021
- Jean Anderson and Elaine Hanna, “For Dried Beans in Half the Time of Conventional Cooking“, LATimes.com, July 6, 1989