You want to know how to cook black beans from dry? Then look no further! It really is quite a spectacular stroke of luck that you found this website. Who knows what you would have done without me?
Seriously. This is important, so listen up.
First you’ll need your dry black beans. You can find them in many different places; latin american food stores; organic stores; and some supermarkets. You can get black beans in Asian stores, but be aware that these are usually black soya, which is quite different from normal black beans. Fermented black beans from Asian stores are also not the same thing.
You’ll probably need about 1/2 a cup of dry beans per person, depending on your recipe. Measure them out and add two to three times that much water; basically enough to cover and then some. Many say that you should add “two inches more” water than the level of the dry beans. That seems rather unscientific – it would depend on the amount of dry beans and the size and shape of the container, right? But just add enough water to cover amply. Remember the beans expand a lot while soaking so be sure to account for that.
Now add ONE TEASPOON of baking powder. Don’t worry about accuracy; it’s not so important. Just one teaspoon will be fine while cooking for three, four, five people. Mix briefly, and leave to sit for 8 hours. Overnight works, too.
Be careful not to let them stay too long there, or they might ferment. If you are soaking the beans and the room is very warm, consider putting them in the fridge to soak.
Now, cook your beans! Drain the soaking water, and add them, with new water, to a pot. Bring to the boil, and then simmer. The beans could take as little as 15 minutes to cook; check periodically. You can check by taking some beans out with a fork, leaving the fork on a board to cool for 30 seconds, and then trying them. They should be quite tender to the bite.
Once your beans are done, remember to save the cooking water! Black bean cooking water is very rich in flavour and nutrients – it’s almost more flavourful than the beans themselves. You can use it as a stock, a soup base, or even just drink it as is with a little salt. It is delicious.
The important thing in all of this was the baking soda. If you don’t add it to the soaking water, the beans can take 2 hours or more to cook.
Some people suggest adding baking soda to the cooking water, but I don’t suggest this. Asides from ruining the flavour of the broth, it also just isn’t as effective as adding it to the SOAKING water.
Asides from this, remember to avoid adding acidic foods to the beans while they are cooking, as this will slow down the cooking a lot. Acidic foods include any citrus (lemon, lime, orange) as well as tomato. This is important! At least as important as the baking soda tip.
Finally, if you are in a hurry you COULD cook unsoaked dry black beans in a pressure cooker. But pressure cookers scare the crap out of me – do you know how many people end up in hospital because of those things? So you won’t get tips on cooking black beans in a pressure cooker from me. Go back to Google if you want to find out about that.
(Okay, I ended up eating my words. See: Black Beans Pressure Cooker)