How to Quick Soak Beans

by My Persian Kitchen on June 8, 2010

Last week I asked a question on My Persian Kitchen’s  Fan page over on Facebook. The question was about beans and how people prefer theirs, a bit on the “al dente” side or completely soft.  The reason I asked is because The Sous Chef and I had a bit of debate over how we like our beans cooked.  The whole curiosity bug over how others prefer their beans came about when my friend Kumar was over for lunch. The two of us were cooking together a vegetarian India stew made with eggplants and chick peas .

Since I have been cooking my own beans as of late and not using the canned ones, a technique that has come in handy has been quick soaking, which I learned about for the first time about 6 years ago.  It is incredibly simply and does the job!

For demonstration purposes I am using 1 cup of chickpeas.

For one cup of chickpeas I add 3 cups of water.

I soaked these over night.

About 12 hours later the size of the chickpeas has doubled!

For a quick soak on the other hand all you have to do is the following: You will notice that the beans will expand considerably during this short time!

Place chickpeas in a pot, cover with about 5-6 cups of water and bring to a boil.

Let boil for 2 minutes.

Turn off burner.  Cover and let stand for one hour.

This is how much the beans expand during the quick soak time.

And here are the two side by side for comparison purposes! The ones on your right are the quick soaked ones, while the ones on the left are soaked over night.

Now you are ready to cook them!

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Nay Shayan June 8, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Oh, this is brilliant. I love these kinds of tips. So, do you cook your beans again after the quick soak?

My Persian Kitchen June 8, 2010 at 1:59 pm

Nay, yes, the quick soak is equivalent to the overnight soak. Basically, instead of waiting 8-12 hours for your beans to soak you can do it all within about one hour and some change!

An Indian Cook in NY June 8, 2010 at 2:44 pm

This is a terrific post! I always soak beans overnight because I had no idea whether the quick soak method really worked as well or not. I love your “scientific” experiment where we can see the results side-by-side!

shannon abdollmohammadi June 8, 2010 at 9:01 pm

I grew up in the South and watched my mom do a quick soak of pinto beans so she could get the beans done faster. Works like magic!!

Mika June 8, 2010 at 10:43 pm

What a wonderful tip…so you don’t have to preplan every meal that includes beans…thanks for sharing this…

kim June 9, 2010 at 6:43 am

if you forget to soak overnight, another thing to try is a pressure cooker. they come out great. i happen to like them creamy as apposed al dente. : )

vivi June 9, 2010 at 7:17 am

another tip is to cook them with a tsp of baking soda

Yvonne June 11, 2010 at 12:15 pm

Thanks for the tip..any more?

My Persian Kitchen June 11, 2010 at 12:37 pm

Yvonne, I try to share my tips as they come to mind!! You can find some other tips under Tips & Techniques:

Bria June 13, 2010 at 5:01 pm

I’m all about the quick soak, and I prefer my beans well done. Like you, I’ve been cooking my beans from scratch more lately. The slow cooker comes in quite handy for this. Assuming, of course, you’re not looking to get them done in under 4 hours ;-)

Aaron June 14, 2010 at 8:11 am

How do you prepare your lentils, say for Gaymeh?


My Persian Kitchen June 14, 2010 at 6:13 pm

Aaron, we don’t make Ghaimeh with lentils, but with split peas!!! Here is the recipe for Ghaimeh!

qudsia asad August 3, 2012 at 1:10 am

I was suppose to prepare chic peas but forgot to soak at night and now there’s hardly any time left, i was disappointed… but you have really made my day thank you so much.

PLH all November 15, 2012 at 8:07 am

Cooking with ginger, about one small nodule per pan of beans, cooks out the gas letting problem inherant with most beans. Doesn’t change flavor

karen June 22, 2013 at 10:14 pm

Love the ginger tip will use that tonight, cheers

Rob Jones February 1, 2014 at 11:31 am

This worked, but extended the cooking time in the pressure cooker to 30 minutes (quick release at 15psi) and ruptured a lot of the shells. No problem for Hummus, but wouldn’t work for chick pea curry, salads, or other dishes where you want whole chick peas.

Gary in West Linn, Oregon May 12, 2014 at 11:02 am

After 2 small heart attacks I am adapting to a much more heart-healthy diet. I love hummus so my wife is teaching me how to make it myself. We are following a good basic recipe in the book “Good Food Great Medicine”, by Mea and Miles Hassell, M.D. I wanted to know exactly how much volume of chickpeas to use to obtain 4 cups of soaked beans. Your demo was exactly what I was looking for. A big bonus is the many tips I viewed on this site. There are many Persian-Americans in our Portland, Oregon metro area; I just wish there were more restaurants!

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