Thursday, February 19, 2009

Beans: A History and My Legume Love Affair Ninth Helping Round-Up

Beans: A History by Ken Albala (Berg 2007) may be the most interesting single-subject volume of food history I’ve seen; it reads as easily as a novel. Beans are Albala’s plucky hero, ever striving to overcome the cultural elite’s prejudice against what it deemed low-class trash food.

From continent to continent, Albala tracks beans’ essential role in bringing civilization and saving the masses from starvation. Despite their importance to humanity, beans get little respect. They’re too often considered as exclusively poverty food, with personal success being achieved when beans are no longer part of one’s diet.

Albala’s cultural and political history of beans is particularly interesting to read during this time of economic downturn, when too many are relying on cheap fast food for sustenance. The stigma attached to bean eating that Albala describes may partially explain why this healthy eating option is not more readily embraced by modern Americans.

Albala says the only place where beans are universally held in high regard is on the Indian subcontinent. The entire region has a vibrant bean cuisine that is accepted without regard to class lines.

That vibrancy nearly overwhelmed me as I assumed responsibility for hosting My Legume Love Affair Ninth Helping (MLLA9) this month.

The initial wave of MLLA9 recipes came mostly from Indian cooks, a cuisine with which I am totally unfamiliar. I struggled to understand the recipes, with their incomprehensible-to-me names and ingredients. Wikipedia became my new best friend.

I quickly discovered that when Indian cooks use the word “lentil,” they may be referring to what I call lentils, or they may mean chickpeas, pigeon peas, or various members of the Vigna family. Some Indian cooks use the word “gram” or “dal” instead of lentil for any of these legumes. Scientific names were my only hope for understanding the very interesting Indian recipes.

By sheer coincidence, I was reading Albala’s book. It helped clear up some of my confusion. Albala gave me a clear structure for understanding the relationships between all the new legumes to which I was being introduced.

In putting together this month’s round-up, on the assumption that some of my readers may be as confused as I was by Indian terminology, I adopted Albala’s organizational structure. To locate the beans in historical time and place, I’ve included brief quotations from Albala’s book.

For anyone interested in learning more about legumes, I highly recommend
Beans: A History; it’s well worth reading.

Each month, Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook, the creative mind behind My Legume Love Affair, offers a prize which is randomly awarded to one entrant. The prize this month was
Mediterranean Street Food by Anissa Helou, and the winner is Petra of Foodfreak. Congratulations Petra!

Since this month I’m focusing on species, I’m awarding a second prize for the entry using the most legume species in a single recipe. The prize is
A Taste of Thyme: Culinary Cultures of the Middle East by Richard Tapper and Sami Zubaida, and the winner is Maria of Organically Cooked for her Mixed Bean Stew. Congratulations Maria!

With over 80 entries, this month’s round-up is a long read. Grab a cup of tea and settle in to learn about an enjoyable and highly diverse group of legumes and recipes!

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My Legume Love Affair Ninth Helping

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Lentils: Fertile Crescent
The histories of humans and lentils are inextricably intertwined. In
Beans: A History, Albala reports at page 9-11: “The lentil was among the very first plants ever domesticated … Somewhere in the Fertile Crescent, what is today eastern Turkey, northern Iraq and Syria, some unsuspecting nomad decided to gather tiny wild lentils and plant them … The earliest charred remains of wild lentils, an indication of cooking, date from about 11000 BCE and are found at the Franchthi Cave in Greece. Somewhere around 7000 BCE or earlier the lentil began to be domesticated, the modern species of Lens culinaris most likely deriving from a wild progenitor Lens orientalis.”

1. Petra of
Foodfreak
Hamburg, Germany

Braised Lentils, Peas, and Bacon with Zander Fish
(
LentilsLens culinaris and Green PeasPisum sativum)

2. Simona of Briciole
California, United States

Soup with Lentils from Castelluccio
(
Lentils Lens culinaris)

3. Peter of Souvlaki for the Soul
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Warm Lamb Salad with Beets and Lentils
(
Lentils Lens culinaris)

4. Jaya of Spice and Curry
Kolkata, India

Shrimp and Red Lentil Fritters
(
Red LentilsLens culinaris)

5. Sushma in My Experiments with Cooking
Singapore

Curry with Lentils, Spinach, and Garlic (Lasooni Dal Palak)
(
Red LentilsLens culinaris and Toor Dal - split pigeon peas - Cajanus cajan)

Lupines: Europe and Andes
Lupines have a dicey history as food. They need to be carefully prepared to remove bitter alkaloids that render lupines both poisonous and unpalatable. However,
Albala suggest lupines may be worth the effort to prepare. They are remarkable high in protein, which is provided at a much higher efficiency rate than beef.

“Unlike other beans, there are native species of lupines on both sides of the Atlantic. Lupinus albus and luteus … as well as augustifolius … come from southern Europe and Lupinus mutabilis comes from the Andes and is uniquely adapted to growing at high altitudes.”
Albala at 26. Although Andean lupines are still used in heart of Inca country, “[l]upines were completely effaced from the culinary record in the West. That is not to say ordinary people avoided them. They continued to be eaten commonly as a snack, especially at popular fairs in Italy … Lupines or lupini beans can be found in jars on the shelves of Italian grocery stores in the US and in Provencal olive mixes.” Albala at 30.

I’d planned on writing about lupini beans and bought them both dried and bottled. We tried the already-prepared bottled version first. They were inedibly salty and extremely bitter. No one who ate one was willing to try a second. I soaked them overnight and removed the excessive salt, but the nasty bitterness remained. By unanimous demand, the bottled beans were discarded.

After that, I lost my enthusiasm for the multi-day soaking process necessary to render dried lupini beans edible. Since I have the dried beans, and Mark Bittman claims they’re good, I’ll try them someday; just not this month.

Fava Beans: Europe
Though not much used in the United States, fava beans are wildly popular in Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean basin.
Albala tells us at 33-34 that fava beans were “among the early Fertile Crescent domesticates,” but “the origin of Vicia faba is unknown and its wild ancestor is probably extinct. … The oldest archaeological remains of favas were found in a site near Nazareth dated between 6500 and 6000 BCE … Oddly, the archaeological record is otherwise silent and the next findings date from several thousand years later. Exactly when and where favas were domesticated remains a complete mystery, and they quite suddenly appear in Bronze Age sites in the third millennium BCE in places as far flung as Spain and Portugal, northern Italy and Switzerland, Greece and the Middle East. … most likely they spread from the Fertile Crescent in every direction, becoming the premier bean of the ancient world. When the word bean is used in European texts prior to 1492, it is almost always the fava.”

1. Maria of
Organically Cooked
Hania, Crete, Greece

Mixed Bean Stew (Pallikaria-Παλλικάρια)
(
Fava BeansVicia faba, LentilsLens culinaris, Chickpeas - Cicer arietinum, Black-eyed Peas - Vigna unguiculata subsp. unguiculata, White Beans - Phaseolus vulgaris)

2. Sra of When My Soup Came Alive
India

Fresh Fava Bean and Eggplant Curry
(
Fava BeansVicia faba)

Peas, Chickpeas and Pigeon Peas
Peas’ sweet flavor has made it more popular than most legumes. Peas also “have the broadest range geographically and climactically than any other legume … from the subtropics to cold and arid climates.”
Albala at 75-6. According to Albala at 76, peas were “one of the earliest domesticated plants … archaeological remains of which date back as far as 8000 BCE. Its wild progenitor was probably the tall humile type distributed throughout the Levant, eastern Turkey, Syria and northern Iraq. … [A]ll the cultivated varieties used today are Pisum sativum. This domesticated pea spread rapidly, reaching Western Europe by 4000 BCE and thereafter south to Egypt, north into the Caucasus and Eastern Europe and east eventually reaching India by about 2000 BCE.”

1. Matt of
Hurst Bean Blog
Indianapolis, Indiana, United States

Split Pea and Asparagus Soup
(
Green PeasPisum sativum)

2. Laurie of
Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska
Anchorage, Alaska, United States

Split Pea Soup with Ham Hocks
(
Green PeasPisum sativum)

3. Ragee of
Simply Innocence
Copell, Texas, United States

Sweet Green Peas and Fresh Fenugreek Leaves in Spicy Cream Sauce (Methi Matar Malai)
(
Green PeasPisum sativum)

Albala points out at 81-2 that like peas, chickpeas have “largely escaped the ignominy of beans. Though … they are hardly a pea at all. They are properly a bean. … The origin of chickpeas is once again in the Fertile Crescent … in Turkey and Syria the oldest carbonized chickpeas have been found, about 10,000 years old, but these are small and may have been gathered wild. Larger seeded, domesticated samples are found in Bronze Age sites in Israel and Jordan. They made their way to Greece by 6000 BCE and France a few thousand years later, and, like the other beans, eventually to Africa and India. … There are two distinct types of chickpea – the large smooth-skinned variety common in the Mediterranean called Kabuli and smaller darker chickpeas more common in India and thereabouts called Desi.”

1. Vani of
Mysoorean
United States

Mexican Bean and Vegetable Burger
(
Chickpeas - Cicer arietinum)

2. Trupti of
Recipe Center
Virginia, United States

Chickpea Burgers
(
Chickpeas - Cicer arietinum)

3. Nuria of
Spanish Recipes
Barcelona, Spain

Oven-Baked Rice with Chickpeas, Pork, and Morcilla (Arroz al Horno)
(
Chickpeas - Cicer arietinum)

4. Sree of
Taste Spell
United States

Chickpeas in Spicy Curry Sauce (Chole Masala)
(
Chickpeas - Cicer arietinum)

5. Divya of
Easy Cooking
Channai, India

Curried Garbanzo Beans with Fresh Fenugreek Greens (Methi Chole)
(
Chickpeas - Cicer arietinum)

7. Varsha of
Will-O’-the-Wisp
Seattle, Washington, United States

Garbanzo Bean and Spinach Curry (Palak Chole)
(
Chickpeas - Cicer arietinum)

8. Asha of
Foodie’s Hope
North Carolina, United States

Brown Chickpea Masala (Chana Masala)
(
Desi Chickpeas - Cicer arietinum)

9. Hema of
Salt to Taste
Bayonne, New Jersey, United States

Spicy Chickpeas Fritters (Masala Vadai)
(
Chana Dal – split skinless Desi chickpeas - Cicer arietinum)

10. Sanghi of
Sanghi’s Food Delights
Singapore

Sweet Steamed Dumplings (Kolukattai)
(
Chana Dal – split skinless Desi chickpeas - Cicer arietinum)

11. Sanghi of
Sanghi’s Food Delights
Singapore

Spicy Chickpeas Fritters with Buttermilk Curry (Masala Vadai Mor Kuzhambu)
(
Chana Dal – split skinless Desi chickpeas - Cicer arietinum)

12. Indrani of
Appyayan
Singapore

Fry Bread Stuffed with Spicy Chickpeas (Radhaballavi-Dal Puri)
(
Chana Dal – split skinless Desi chickpeas - Cicer arietinum)

14. Rinku of
Cooking in Westchester
Westchester County, New York, United States

Radish and Scallion Pakoras with Chickpea Batter
(
Chana Dal Flour - Desi chickpeas - Cicer arietinum)

For Americans, Pigeon Peas are the least well-known of the “peas” catalogued by
Albala. Cajanus cajan is also known as the Congo or gunga pea and, in the Caribbean, as gandules. Albala says at 86, “They probably originated in India, where they are split, thereafter called toor dal, and cooked down with spices until they disintegrate. … To this day the majority are grown in India. From there they spread basically to every dry tropical region where peas do not grow well. Thus in East Africa they found a welcome home, though some speculate that they originated [t]here.”

1. Varsha of
Will-O’-the-Wisp
Seattle, Washington, United States

Spicy Vegetable and Pigeon Pea Soup (Sambar)
(
Toor Dal – split pigeon peas - Cajanus cajan)

2. Lubna of
Yummy Food
Bangalore, India

Spicy Vegetable Soup (Sambar) with Shallots
(
Toor Dal – split pigeon peas - Cajanus cajan)

3. Lubna of
Yummy Food
Bangalore, India

Cucumber and Pigeon Pea Soup (Dosakaya Pappu)
(
Toor Dal – split pigeon peas - Cajanus cajan)

4. Saritha of
My Kitchen’s Aroma
Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

Coconut and Pigeon Pea Chutney (Kandi Pappu-Cobari Pachadi)
(
Toor Dal – split pigeon peas - Cajanus cajan)

5. A&N of
Delectably Yours
Atlanta, Georgia, United States

Lemon Pigeon Pea Soup (Rasam)
(
Toor Dal – split pigeon peas - Cajanus cajan)

6. Usha of
Veg Inspirations
North Carolina, United States

Bitter Gourd with Pigeon Pea-Tamarind Sauce (Pahakai Pitlai Kozhumbu)
(
Toor Dal – split pigeon peas - Cajanus cajan, Chana Dal – split skinless Desi chickpeas - Cicer arietinum, and Urad Dal – split black gram – Vigna mungo)

7. Priyanka of
Not Yet 100
India

Pigeon Peas and Tomatoes (Tamatar Dal)
(
Toor Dal – split pigeon peas - Cajanus cajan)

8. Priya of
Priya’s Easy N Tasty Recipes
Paris, France

Peppery Chayote and Pigeon Pea Stew (Chayote Pepper Sambhar)
(
Toor Dal – split pigeon peas - Cajanus cajan)

9. Chitra of
Ratatouille-Anyone Can Cook
Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Crispy Bean-Rice Pancakes with Curry Leaf Chutney (Moru Moru Adai)
(
Toor Dal – split pigeon peas - Cajanus cajan and Chana Dal – split skinless Desi chickpeas - Cicer arietinum)

10. Le of
Heartful Concoctions
United States

Spicy Pigeon Pea, Eggplant, Drumstick, and Green Mango Soup
(
Toor Dal – split pigeon peas - Cajanus cajan)

Oddballs and Villains
“Every family has its black sheep oddballs and criminal types. Beans are no different. They seem odd only by comparison to the respectable members of the Fabaceae family, and many have found very happy homes throughout the world. Some of these are real degenerates though, surviving on the very margins of the human food supply, mostly as famine foods. … Although in no way related to each other, these beans [are included in a single chapter] because few readers are likely to be acquainted with them. This rogues’ gallery will include Lathyrus and Lablab, the Vetch clan, as well as the more obscure Canavalia, Mucuna and Macrotyloma, and the beautifully seductive Psophocarpus tetragonolobus…”
Albala at 90.

1. Laurie of
Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska
Anchorage, Alaska

Santorini Fava with Capers (Fava Pantremeni-Φάβα Παντρεμένη)
(
Santorini Fava, Lathyrus clymenum L.)

2. Divya of
Dil Se
Los Angeles, California, United States

Hyacinth Bean Stew (Mochai Kuzhambu)
(
Hyacinth BeansLablab purpureus)

Mung and the Vignas: India
In India, beans escaped the low-class reputation in which they were held elsewhere in the world.
Albala at 107-08 attributes this to a variety of political and religious reasons which “catalyzed the valorization of beans in a way that was diametrically opposed to Western Civilization’s denigration. Beans thus became an essential staple crop in India, the primary source of protein for the majority of people… Although the majority of modern Indians are not vegetarian, dense population and the high price of meat has meant the majority still receive most of their calories from vegetables, primarily grains and beans. As we have seen, Fertile Crescent legumes such as lentils and chickpeas were introduced at a very early date. But the subcontinent also had its own species, the most important of which are the Asiatic Vigna species or as they are known in India ‘grams’: mung beans (V. radiata or green gram), urd beans (V. mungo or black gram) as well as moth beans (V. aconitifolia), and rice beans (V. umbellata). … The Taxonomic distinction of the Vigna beans is also a relatively recent phenomenon. Many were classed as Phaseolus until that name was reserved exclusively for New World species…These Asian Vigna species were also given a sub-genus classification called Ceratotropis.”

1. Deeba of
Passionate About Baking
North India

Mung Bean Pancakes
(
Moong Dal – split mung beans – Vigna radiata)

2. Sanghi of
Sanghi’s Food Delights
Singapore

Sweet Mung Bean Pudding (Kheer)
(
Moong Dal – split mung beans – Vigna radiata)

3. Saritha of
My Kitchen’s Aroma
Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

Sweet Mung Bean Pudding (Payasam or Kheer)
(
Moong Dal – split mung beans – Vigna radiata)

4. Aparna of
Ap’s Kitchen
Mangalore, Saudi Arabia

Spiced Mung Beans and Rice (Sheeth ani Mooga Dali Bette)
(
Moong Dal – split mung beans – Vigna radiata)

5. Priya of
Priya’s Easy N Tasty Recipes
Paris, France

Mung Bean Fritters (Green Gram Medhu Vada)
(
Mung BeansVigna radiata)

6. Priya of
Priya’s Easy N Tasty Recipes
Paris, France

Spinach and Mung Bean Soup
(
Mung BeansVigna radiata)

7. Kalva of
Curry in Kadai
Florida, United States

Steamed Rice-Bean Cakes with Garlic-Spice Powder (Kanchee Idli and Vellulli Karam)
(
Urad Dal – split black gram – Vigna mungo)

8. Ashwini of
Nanna Adige
Dallas, Texas, United States

Steamed Bean Cakes (Dal Idli)
(
Urad Dal – split black gram - Vigna mungo, Moong Dal – split mung beans - Vigna radiata, and Toor Dal - split pigeon peas - Cajanus cajan)

9. Sonal of
Khaane Ke Shaukeen
Singapore

Bean Dumplings in Yogurt (Dahi Vada)
(
Urad Dal – split black gram - Vigna mungo and Moong Dal – split mung beans - Vigna radiata)

10. Priyanka of
Not Yet 100
India

Crisp Flatbread with Black Gram Stuffing (Urad Dal Parathas)
(
Urad Dal – split black gram - Vigna mungo)

11. Lavanya of
vividharuchulu
Redmond, Washington, United States

Rice-Bean Pancakes (Plain Dosa)
(
Urad Dal – split black gram - Vigna mungo)

12. Sharmistha of
Cook-a-Doodle-Do
Hyderabad, India

Indian Bread with Bean-Asafoetida Stuffing (Hing er Kochuri)
(
Urad Dal – split black gram - Vigna mungo and Chana Dal – split skinless Desi chickpeas - Cicer arietinum)

13. Priya of
Food and Laughter
India

Spicy “Gunpowder” Seasoning (Molaha Pudi)
(
Urad Dal – split black gram - Vigna mungo and Chana Dal – split skinless Desi chickpeas - Cicer arietinum)

Albala concludes his Vigna chapter with the Adzuki bean at 113: “Although clearly thematically separate from the discussion in this chapter, there remains one more relative in the Ceratotropis sub-genus. He is much bigger than his brothers, and more boisterous, with his bright red coat. He is also a little sweeter and something about the adzuki bean (V. angularis) makes you feel like celebrating.”

1. Apu of
Annarasa
United States

Adzuki Beans with Swiss Chard
(
Adzuki Beans - Vigna angularis)

2. Lucy of
Nourish Me
Melbourne, Australia

Aduki and Celery Leaf Soup
(
Adzuki Beans - Vigna angularis)

Black-eyed Peas: Africa, Soul Food
Vigna unguiculata, at least according to botanists, is a cousin to the Asian Vigna species. … The black-eyed pea is, in any case, a resolutely and characteristically African bean. Archeological evidence from the Chad basin suggests that the pastoral people who migrated into this area around 1800 BCE began to switch to an agricultural regime by about 1200 BCE … with the staples of pearl millet and black-eyed peas. This bean has thus always played a central role in African agriculture and was brought with slaves to the Americas where it remains an indelible marker of African-American identity. … In the Old World, black-eyed peas spread northward and eastward in ancient times and the earliest recorded evidence of their use is not in Africa but among the Greeks and in India. … Africa, however, is the real home of black-eyed peas and West Africa still produces roughly 90 percent of the world supply.”
Albala 117-19.

1. Pavani of
Cook’s Hideout
New Jersey, United States

Black-Eyed Pea Burgers
(
Black-eyed Peas - Vigna unguiculata subsp. unguiculata)

2. Keerthana of
Kitchen Vibes
Germany

Curried Black-Eyed Peas (Lobhia Curry)
(
Black-eyed Peas - Vigna unguiculata subsp. unguiculata)

3. Sia of
Monsoon Spice
United Kingdom

Curried Black-Eyed Pea Sprouts with Bottle Gourd (Lauki-Lobia Curry)
(
Black-eyed Peas - Vigna unguiculata subsp. unguiculata)

4. Rachel of
The Crispy Cook
Saratoga County, New York, United States

Black-Eyed Pea Salad with Preserved Lemons
(
Black-eyed Peas - Vigna unguiculata subsp. unguiculata)

Phaseolus vulgaris: Mexico and the World
The common bean, Phaseolus vulgaris, wasn’t known outside the Americas until after 1492. It is now grown throughout the world, and comes in a myriad of wildly different shapes and sizes.
Albala describes its origins at 127-28: “The wild ancestor of Phaseolus spread from Northern Mexico to Argentina and it was domesticated independently both in the Peruvian Andes...as well as in Mexico… Exactly when these events took place is more difficult to determine, partly because archeological remains are sparse in the humid environment of Mesoamerica… Remains of P. vulgaris from a cave in the Peruvian Andes have been radiocarbon dated at about 6000 BCE and they may have been domesticated well before that … it is safest to say that these beans were domesticated several thousand years ago, without indicating a precise chronology.” Albala goes on to describe in fascinating detail the dramatic changes for both P. vulgaris and humans that occurred after Columbus encountered the New World. As P. vulgaris was incorporated into cultures across the world, the numerous bean varieties with which we are now familiar evolved and came into common use.

1. Katerina of
Culinary Flavors
Athens, Greece

Bean Salad
(
White Beans - Phaseolus vulgaris)

2. Emiglia of
Tomato Kumato
Paris, France

Minestrone
(
White Beans - Phaseolus vulgaris)

3. Valli of
More Than Burnt Toast
British Columbia, Canada

Better for You Taco Salad
(
Red Kidney Beans - Phaseolus vulgaris)

4. Maya of
Konkan World
Texas, United States

Minestrone Soup
(
Red Kidney Beans - Phaseolus vulgaris)

5. Laura of
The Spiced Life
Midwest, United States

Kidney Beans with Cardamom-Yogurt Sauce
(
Red Kidney Beans - Phaseolus vulgaris)

6. Neha of
Tasty Recipes
Singapore

Red Kidney Bean (Rajma) Curry
(
Red Kidney Beans - Phaseolus vulgaris)

7. Renuka of
Fusion
Tamilnadu, India

Curried Red Kidney Beans (Rajma Gravy)
(
Red Kidney Beans - Phaseolus vulgaris)

8. Nina of
Miss Adventure at Home
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Four Bean Salad

(Red Kidney, Green, and Yellow Beans - Phaseolus vulgaris and Chickpeas - Cicer arietinum)

9. Lisa of Lisa’s Kitchen
London, Ontario, Canada

Spicy White Bean and Turnip Soup
(
Cannellini Beans - Phaseolus vulgaris)

10. Lavi of
Home Cook’s Recipes
India

Amaranth Greens and White Kidney Bean Curry (Sirukeeri Rajma Curry)
(
Cannellini Beans - Phaseolus vulgaris)

11. Swarna of
Saivam
Fremont, California, United States

Portabella Mushrooms Stuffed with Cannellini Beans
(
Cannellini Beans - Phaseolus vulgaris)

12. Allison of
Local Lemons
Berkeley, California, United States

Spring Cannellini Bean Soup with Romano Croutons
(
Cannellini Beans - Phaseolus vulgaris)

13. Lori of
Taste with the Eyes
San Pedro, California, United States

Cannellini Bean Asian Slaw with Miso Sesame Dressing
(
Cannellini Beans - Phaseolus vulgaris)

14. Erin of
You-Name-It-Free
Basel, Switzerland

Royal Purple Baked Beans
(
Black Beans - Phaseolus vulgaris)

15. Tigerfish of
Teczcape-An Escape to Food
Singapore and California, United States

Spicy Pinto Beans
(
Pinto Beans - Phaseolus vulgaris)

16. Katie of
Eat This.
Haslett, Michigan, United States

Andean Pinto Bean and Butternut Squash Soup
(
Pinto Beans - Phaseolus vulgaris)

17. Giff of
The Constables’ Larder
New York, United States

Pancetta, Chard, Cranberry Bean and Gouda Gratin
(
Cranberry Beans - Phaseolus vulgaris)

18. Manju of
Mirch Masala
Seattle, Washington, United States

Barley and Mixed Bean Soup
(
Beans - Phaseolus vulgaris)

Limas and the Lesser Phaseoli: Andes
After P. vulgaris (see above), the most important of the 55 separate Phaseolus species is the lima bean, Phaseolus lunatus.
Albala says at 191-93 that the lima “is native to the Andes. Those found at the Guitarrero Cave in the highlands of Peru were domesticated even before both the common bean and corn. … They are roughly contemporary with many Old World sites of bean domestication. … Like P. vulgaris, the lima bean was taken to Europe sometime in the 16th century, and also to the Philippines with the Manila galleons. It is widely grown throughout SE Asia, particularly in Burma. It was also taken to Africa from Brazil, and is now the primary dried bean eaten in the tropics there and in Madagascar. … It never really caught on as a major food in Europe, probably because the climate is not ideal for its growth.”

1. Laurie of
Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska
Anchorage, Alaska

Pan-Fried Salmon with Curly Endive and Christmas Lima Beans & Christmas Lima Bean Salad
(
Lima BeansPhaseolus Lunatus)

2. Susan of
The Well-Seasoned Cook
New York, United States

Lima Bean and Artichoke Soup
(
Lima BeansPhaseolus Lunatus)

Tepary Beans: Native Americans
I tried tepary beans for the first time this month, because I wanted to have at least one recipe for each of
Albala’s 11 bean chapters. Having done so, it’s hard to understand why it isn’t more widely available; it’s one of the best beans I’ve ever tasted. Albala explains at 203-04 that the origins of the tepary bean, Phaseolus acutifolius, “are debated since wild forms are found stretching from the Southwest through Central America. Archaeological remains in Puebla, Mexico, date back 5,000 years, but it is not known where it was first domesticated. A strong claim is made for domestication, perhaps independently, in the [American] Southwest where wild varieties can still be found. … As recently as the 1930s, the Tohono O’odham [formerly called Papago Indians] grew 1.5 million pounds of teparies a year. Half a century later the bean had almost completely disappeared.”

Laurie of
Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska
Anchorage, Alaska, United States

Tepary Bean and Vegetable Stew
(Tepary BeanPhaseolus acutifolius)

Soy: China, Japan and the World
Soy is “the most widely grown bean on the plant,” according to
Albala at 209, though most of it is processed “into milk and curd and made into a variety of condiments bearing little resemblance to the humble bean.” Albala attributes this to soybean’s slight bitterness and its “unpleasant beany odor” (noting that green Japanese edamames are “a very specific cultivar bred for its mild flavor and consumed immature”). “Glycine max is the Latin name for the soybean, which was descended from another wild bean, Glycine soja. … [It] was first cultivated in the eastern half of Northern China, based on recent DNA evidence, … about 3,000 years ago, though some make a claim for Mongolia. That makes it a relative latecomer among the ancient beans, but with an extremely long pedigree nonetheless. … Although archaeological evidence may eventually push back the origin of soy domestication, 1100 BCE is for the moment the earliest certain date.” Albala 209-10.

1. Laurie of
Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska
Anchorage, Alaska, United States

Mushroom and Edamame Risotto with Homemade Pancetta
(
SoybeansGlycine Max)

2. Soma of
eCurry
Texas, United States

Stir Fried Ginger Tofu and Veggies with Brown Rice
(
SoybeansGlycine Max)

3. Christine of
Kit’s Chow
Kitsilano, British Columbia, Canada

Savory Tofu Puffs
(
SoybeansGlycine Max)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thank you to everyone participating in MLLA9. If I've made any errors, or left out any entries, please let me know so I can make a correction. My Legume Love Affair - 10th Helping: Starters and Desserts for April 2009 is being hosted by Courtney of Coco Cooks.

31 comments:

Superchef said...

great round up and congrats tot he winners of the cookbook!! :)

n btw, laurie, my blog name is Mirch Masala and superchef is just a nickname that i use for myself. You need not necessarily change it here. Just letting you know, thats all. Have a great week ahead! :)

Mediterranean kiwi said...

that book by albala is on my must-buy list

although the greek diet relies heavily on bean dishes as part of the regular weekly diet, you will never see a bean dish being served on a festive day in greece or at a 'trapezi'. the only time i have seen this happen is in greek homes outside greece. i think this is very revealing:

greeks love to showcase their regular diet to foreigners. the higher level of education of the foreign born greeks helps to put healthy food in perspective. living in multicultural environments makes you more food-tolerant

i have bought some new (ie strange to me) bean varieties which i am looking forward to trying out as soon as possible

thanks for the round-up

Sanghi said...

Wow..! This is lovely roundup! yummy recipies,.! Thanks..!

Mediterranean kiwi said...

i forgot to mention that it is believed that the japanese and greeks owe their longevity to beans:

read the fanatic cook's posts: http://fanaticcook.blogspot.com/2009/04/what-predicts-survival-in-long-lived.html and http://fanaticcook.blogspot.com/2009/04/what-predicts-survival-in-long-lived_16.html

and thanks for the prize!

Peter G said...

Phew! What a round up! I had bean envy at the end of this! Thanks agian Laurie!

sra said...

Thank you for the round-up. It was a nice touch to include the history and other details of the various lentils. Hopefully, this hard work took off some of the edge off your pain.

Jaya said...

Beautiful round-up and so well put up ,great work ..thanks for hosting a wonderful event for us..
hugs and smiles

Maya said...

Wow... that was one stunning round-up. Thank you so much, Laurie, for this great work and for the inspiration! So many tasty recipes to try out and so many new types of legumes that I've learned about... :)
Many congrats to Petra and Maria too!

Bellini Valli said...

What an incredible and informative roundup Laurie. Thank you so much for setting the caliber so high. I wish you all the best:D

Deeba @Passionate About Baking said...

Hope life is slowly getting back to normal Laurie.
This is quite a marathon of a MLLA round-up. Well done indeed & congrats to Petra & Maria. Enjoy your books!

Rachel said...

Maya's use of the word stunning above is apt. This is a load of information and history and I have bookmarked this roundup to refer to again and again. Well done!

Asha said...

WOW!! What a long list of gorgeous Bean dishes. Good job, thanks for taking time to round up! :))

Congratulations to the winner as well.

hurstbeanblog.com said...

You did a really great job here, thanks for all of your work!

-Matt
www.hurstbeanblog.com

Vani said...

Just read about your dad. I'm so sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine how difficult it must be to lose a parent. Please accept my condolences.

WOnderful round-up, Laurie! Very informative too. Thanks for hosting.

Pavani said...

Great Round up Laurie.. Great information, thanks for taking time. Have a wonderful week ahead. btw.. my name is spelt wrong, it should be Pavani.. you don't have to change it, I just wanted you to know.

Ken Albala said...

This is absolutely incredible! Thanks so much for including my work in the whole project. Ken

Giff said...

What a roundup! What a great diversity of recipes. That must have been a huge amount of work, so thank you so much for hosting.

Lori Lynn said...

That is one excellent humongous round-up! I appreciate all the time and energy you put in Laurie. Really enjoyed learning more about the humble bean. I'll be hosting in May, looking forward to it!
Lori Lynn

Lisa said...

Wow, what a great job you did on the roundup. Such an informative post and lots and lots of great recipe ideas. Thanks so much for your effort!

glamah16 said...

What roundup! Great job on hosting.

Laurie Constantino said...

Manju, I've fixed the name of your blog - thanks for letting me know!

Maria, that's an interesting point about festively served beans in Greece vs. the diaspora. For the most part, my experience is similar to yours although I seem to recall fresh green beans with skordalia at a trapezi, or maybe some gigandes, but the latter may be my imagination. Nothing like trying new bean varieties - as you can see, I've really been enjoying it! Thanks for the links to fanatic cook's interesting pieces - now if we could just get the Greeks to stick to their former diet unstead of going over to the fast food dark side.

Thanks Sanghi!!

Peter G, you may have had bean envy, but I had carpal tunnel! HA!! It took awhile, but it was very educational.

Sra, I'm glad you liked it - can you tell I'm a history buff??

Jaya, You are most welcome! It was fun to do. (Especially now that it's over....)

Maya, you and me both - learning about new legumes that is! I've found myself haunting the dried legumes aisles at every store I visit these days.

Thanks Valli!

Deeba, life is getting back to normal, thank God. (Especially now that this round-up is done!)

Rachel, I've bookmarked it too!! (A comment on the state of my memoery vs. the quality of the post.)

Asha, I'm just happy there were so many interesting recipes!

Thanks Matt!

Oh, Vani, thanks for the condolences - they're much appreciated.

Pavani, sorry about spelling your named wrong - it's now fixed.

Ken, thanks for writing such a great book - it's in my permanent collection.

Giff, it was work, but also very interesting. I'm glad I had the opportunity to host.

Lori Lynn - glad you liked the roundup and gird your loins for May, lest you be overtaken by tidal wave!! I'll be sure to send in an entry!

Lisa, I want to join you in trying Indian fare (as long as I can line up the ingredients, that is). It's extremely interesting and sounds so very good.

Glamah16, thanks!

KC said...

Wow! That was some roundup! I'm learning new things about beans. I'm keen to try terpary beans.

You did a lot of work dividing them into all the bean categories. Thank you for hosting a great event.

Lavanya said...

great roundup..yummy dishes..thnaks for your amazing work..by the way..my blog name is vividharuchulu not feel the magic of spices..plz change it :)

Varunavi said...

Great job done.Thanx for including me.

Lucy said...

Laurie, I've been back a few times, savouring your hard work. Frankly, you must be exhausted!

I'm not even halfway through yet, but just wanted to check in and let you know how appreciated your hard work and energy are, particularly in light of your recent loss. Fantastic round-up - the best I've seen - and so much fascinating information.

Shall be back over the next few days to savour each dish. Thank you!

Chitra said...

thats a great round up laurie, got to know many healthy dishes,thanks for hosting it;)

Mediterranean Turkish Cook said...

Laurie, great round up. I was kind of late to send my bean recipe and then I read what happened with your dad, so I decided not to send it the last minute. Next time. Sorry about your loss again. I hope everything is going okay now.

Susan said...

Wow, Laurie! Do you ever sleep? What a stellar round-up! Thanks so much for hosting MLLA. You've made us all proud. : }

manju said...

I can't believe I missed your hosting this event -- that's what I get for dropping out of cybersphere for 2 months. What a fantastic round-up and details of legumery...I'll have to bookmark this post not only for the recipes but the bean info too!

Srivalli said...

what a wonderful round up..kudos on the great job.. loved reading the description..

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