All kinds of pulses are excellent sources of nutrients. When dried they can be stored easily for a long time. Pulses should be an important part of the household diet.

Pulses are often cooked whole and added to stews. Cooking times can be greatly reduced by soaking pulses in clean water overnight. Rinse and add fresh water before cooking.

Dried pulses can be ground finely either with a pestle and mortar or in a flour mill, to make a very nutritious flour. This can be mixed with flour from your usual staple. A recommended mix is 6–8 cups of flour made from the staple to 1 cup of flour made from pulses. Cooking bread, chapattis or porridge with this flour will improve nutrition.

Some pulses such as groundnuts and soya beans can also be used to produce cooking oil and animal feed.

Discussion

  • How do people in our area use pulses in cooking? What are the most popular meals made from pulses?
  • Discuss all the different ways in which pulses could be used to improve our diets.
  • How could we encourage people in our area to grow more pulses for household use? Are there new or improved varieties available which could be tried out?
  • Pulses can be mixed with any kind of food. For example, cooked pulses could be pounded and added to relishes (an example is given below). How could we add cooked pulses to our meals?

GREEN RELISH RECIPE
  • 1 onion
  • 1 cup of flour made from pulses
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 1 bunch of dark green leaves 

Clean and chop up leaves. 

Cut up onion and tomatoes. 

Cook the leaves, onion and tomatoes in a small amount of water until they are soft. 

Add one cup of water and one cup of flour and cook for ten minutes until only a small amount of liquid is left.