Another post for any foodies! We are delighted to feature Surinder & Safia Hothi-Bellamy from Pure Punjabi in this piece who are Mother and Daughter duo running a business offering Indian cookery lessons online and in person, as well as running a pop-up restaurant. They have their own range of garam masala and tandoori masala that are well worth a try! Safia has written the piece below as a guest blog and created two exclusive recipes just for you on Home of Eco. The focus of this feature is to gain a better understanding of what pulses are and how to use them to benefit our diet and the environment. Take it away Safia…

What are Pulses?

Pulses are the name for fresh and dried forms of beans, peas and lentils, such as chickpeas, cannellini beans or red split lentils (when talking about fresh beans/peas or lentils only, they are known under the sub-group name of legumes i.e. bean sprouts or fresh garden peas).

They are plant-based, vegetarian, wheat-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free and nut-free and so are the perfect choice for any household or dinner party that needs to feed anyone with a special dietary requirement.

Pulses are a fantastic source of non-animal protein, and are ideal for vegetarians and vegans, or even for those who are looking to cut down on their intake of animal based proteins (whether it may be for health, economical, ethical or environmental reasons). They are low on the glycemic index and are full of fibre, making them a fantastic long-term addition to your diet.

When eaten with rice or wholemeal flatbread, they contain a complete set of amino acids (your body uses amino acids to make cells) We need to get some amino acids from our diet as our body cannot make all the different types of amino acids on it’s own.

As the term ‘pulses’ covers both fresh and dried forms of beans, peas and lentils, there really is such a huge variety available, in terms of taste, as well as texture. Not forgetting that the dried beans are ground down into different flours, giving even more exciting opportunities for creating alternatives to well known dishes.

How to use them effectively:

–  Using pulse flours such as gram flour – also known as chickpea flour to make pasta, and also as an alternative to wheat flour when making a crispy coating for chicken or other bread-coated items.

–  Using tofu as a replacement for cream cheese in desserts – you just have to make the dish the day before serving to give the tofu time to absorb all of the other flavours in the dish.

–  Using lentils in meat dishes to reduce the quantity of meat. It’s a great way to make dishes on a budget and makes the meat go much further. Generally I use white beans, such as butter beans or cannellini beans, with chicken and I use green lentils or pinto beans with red meat.

A recent scientific study from Imperial College London suggests that we should all be trying to eat 10 portions of fruit and vegetables per day – double the amount that has previously been recommended. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably wondering how on earth you can eat 10 portions a day.  Well, the good news is, this recommendation also includes eating pulses. Pulses are also kind to the environment for example, to grow 450g of pulses requires 43 gallons of water, whereas it requires 800-1000 gallons of water to raise the equivalent weight of meat.

Another great thing about pulses is that they have a long shelf life, making them the perfect pantry stock up item and reducing the quantity of perishable food items in your house and therefore impacting positively on levels of food waste. So if you are always looking for ways to eat better and live greener, pulses are most definitely a worthwhile addition to your everyday cooking.

To give you some inspiration of some great ways to use pulses in your diet, I’ve put together two recipes just for Home Of Eco…

Recipe 1: 3 bean stuffed flatbreads with spiced fondue dipping sauce

This recipe is great for a homemade takeaway, or if you’re having friends round and are all looking to have something everyone will like. If you want to make as much in advance as possible, make the dough for the flatbreads the day before, and just leave it in the fridge till you need it. Also make the bean stuffing the day before, and again, just leave it in the fridge till you need it. Then all you need to do it roll out the flatbreads, fill them with the stuffing, and cook them.

This recipe makes 5 flatbreads.

Dough for the flatbreads (Vegetarian, Vegan, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Nut-free (to make wheat-free and gluten free, use a wheat-free or gluten-free flour)

Prep time: 5 minutes, resting time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

2 cups of plain flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground cumin seeds 2 tablespoons olive oil
125ml water

To make the flatbread, mix all of the ingredients together and mix till a dough has formed. Once the dough has formed, knead it for 5 minutes and let it rest for 10 minutes. If you are making the dough in advance, then wrap the dough in cling film at this point, and put it into the fridge to rest until you need it again later to make the flatbreads.

3 bean stuffing (Vegetarian, Vegan, Dairy-free, Wheat-free, Gluten-free, Egg-free, Nut-free)

Prep time: 5 minutes, cooking time 25 minutes

Ingredients:

Approximately 80g tomato puree 1⁄4 cup of recently boiled water
1 large clove of garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon of coarsely ground cumin seeds
1 teaspoon of coarsely ground coriander seeds
1⁄2 tin of pinto beans (approximately 100g)
1⁄2 tin of kidney beans (approximately 100g)
1⁄2 tin of black beans (approximately 100g)
2 tablespoons of freshly chopped coriander leaves 1 red onion, finely chopped

To make the bean stuffing, put the tomato puree and water into a saucepan and stir till combined.  Add the garlic, paprika, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, pinto beans, kidney beans and black beans. Stir all the ingredients together and turn the heat to the highest setting to bring the beans to the boil. Once they come to the boil, turn the heat low and let them simmer for 20 minutes, and turn the heat off to let the beans start cooling down.

Dipping sauce (Vegetarian, Wheat-free, Gluten-free, Egg-free, Nut-free (to make vegan and dairy-free either omit the cheese or use a dairy-free alternative)

Cooking time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons tomato puree
1⁄4 cup of recently boiled water 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 big pinch of chilli flakes
1 big pinch of salt
1 small clove of garlic, crushed 50g of manchego, grated

Combine the tomato puree and water in a saucepan till they form a smooth sauce. Put the heat on a medium to low setting and add all of the other ingredients. Let the sauce simmer for 5 minutes and it’s ready.

Making the flatbreads:

Take the dough and divide it into 5 equal portions. Take each portion and divide it in half leaving you with 10 sections. Roll out each half into a circle roughly 1mm thick.

Take the bean stuffing and stir in the chopped red onion and the freshly chopped coriander leaves. Take one of the circles of dough, and put 2 to 3 spoonfuls of the bean stuffing on, spreading the beans out till they are form a single layer, making sure you leave a 1⁄2 cm border around the circle. Dab your finger into a little water, and run it around the border of the circle with the beans on. Take the second circle and lay it on top with the bean mixture and press the edges together tightly, so that none of the bean mixture falls out. Repeat this process till all of the flatbreads have been made.

Once all the flatbreads are lined up and ready, heat a griddle pan over a medium heat and grease with a teaspoon of olive oil. Put the flatbreads onto the griddle pan and cook each side for 3-4 minutes until until all of the dough is completely cooked through on each side.

Serve the flatbreads with the spiced fondue dipping sauce. 

Copyright © 2017 Pure Punjabi Ltd All rights reserved.

Recipe 2: Black gram flour chicken nuggets with okra fries

This recipe makes enough for 4 people.

Black gram flour chicken nuggets (Dairy-free, Wheat-free, Gluten-free, Egg-free, Nut-free)

Prep time: 5 minutes, cooking time 15 minutes 

Ingredients:
4 chicken breasts, cut into bitesize pieces
3⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons of black gram flour (you can use regular gram flour if you can’t find black gram flour)
1 heaped teaspoon coarsely ground coriander seeds
A pinch of salt

Put the salt and pepper over the chicken pieces and mix so that the season evenly coats all of the chicken. In a separate bowl, mix the black gram flour, the pinch of salt and the coarsely ground coriander seeds. Coat the chicken in the black gram flour mixture, making sure that each piece of chicken is evenly coated on both sides. Heat a frying pan over a medium heat. Put a little olive oil into the pan to lightly grease it. Add the chicken to the pan, and cook each side for approximately 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through to the centre. 

Okra fries (Vegetarian, Vegan, Dairy-free, Wheat-free, Gluten-free, Egg-free, Nut-free)

Prep time: 10 minutes, cooking time: 6-7 minutes

Ingredients:

15 okra
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely minced
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely minced A pinch of lovage seeds
A pinch of garam masala
A teaspoon of lemon juice
A pinch of salt
A pinch of freshly ground pepper
A couple of tablespoons of gram flour Sunflower oil, for shallow frying

Before starting, put sunflower oil into a wide frying pan. Put enough oil in so that it come up roughly 5cm up the side of the pan, and heat the oil over a medium to high meat.

Whilst the oil is heating, slice the okra into 4, to create 4 long fingers from each okra.

In a separate bowl, mix together the garlic, ginger, lovage seeds, garam masala, lemon juice and garam flour. Mix all the ingredient together and add a couple of tablespoons of water, till you have a batter.

Put the cut okra into the batter, and coat them evenly. Carefully put the okra fries into the oil and fry them for roughly 5 minutes, or until they are a light golden colour. Drain well and serve hot. If you want to keep the okra fries warm, make sure they are well drained and place them on an oven tray, one layer thick, and put them in a pre-heated oven at roughly 100 degrees Celsius.

Please note: The above information and recipes are being provided on the basis that Pure Punjabi is credited as the source and sole owner of these recipes.

Copyright © 2017 Pure Punjabi Ltd All rights reserved.

We really love both these recipes and hope you do too. Let us know how you get on using #goeco on social media. If you want to find out more about Pure Punjabi or keep up to date with all their latest news you can check out their website here or their instagram, facebook and twitter by clicking on the links.

Thanks again Safia, we hope you can join us again soon for some more recipe inspiration!

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