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Lipsmacking Backpacking

24 25 Pulses, I confess, isnt really a word that gets your mouth watering or your pulse racing, for that matter. Im sure the BlackEyed Peas wouldnt have had half their success if they were called the last subgroup of the staple category. Use them as part of a soup, stew or salad. They all give texture, colour and a boost of protein to your meal. Pulses are also backpacker friendly because they last for ages and are virtually indestructible. An extra bonus is that they are really social you buy them by the bagful at a market and, like rice, youll need to go through them, bean by bean, taking out the stones and any dodgylooking ones. I made some great pals on a very long trip down the river Congo. Sorting our beans kept us occupied for hours. Think white beans, red beans, black beans, giant beans, chick peas, lentils. Most beans you will normally find will be dried so, as always, you need to get some water in them to soften them up and bring out the flavours. Soaking them in unsalted cold water overnight greatly reduces the cooking time and should be done for most big pulses. The next day, rinse them off, pour some unsalted water over the top, bring to the boil and simmer. On average, it will take about an hour to cook, but try one and see, the older the bean, the longer it will take. A good hint is not to add salt to the water as it toughens them up. Putting a peeled potato and a scored tomato in will help to soften the skins of the pulses. Lentils, Garlic or Onions, Salt, Spices Turmeric, Cumin, Coriander, anything, Oil Soak the lentils for a few hours then wash and drain. Boil some slightly salty water and add the lentils. Cook gently for 30 mins then add the spices. In a frying pan, add chopped onions andor garlic to some hot oil. When these have browned pour the oil mixture over the simmering lentils. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes. Great with rice or bread. Chickpeas cooked, Lemon, Oil, Garlic or onionsshallotsspring onions Smash the garlic, get the rind off the lemon, slice it thinly and squeeze out the juice. Smash the cooked chickpeas with a fork and mix in a bit of the lemon and garlic. Keep going until you have enough to eat and you have a flavour that you like. unsplit lentils, chick peas, alfalfa seeds, small beans A great way to make sure you always have fresh salad is to grow your own. Use a simple clear screwtopped jam jar. Throw enough lentils or beans in to cover the bottom, add just enough water to cover them and put the lid on to keep the moisture in. After a few days the beans will start to sprout. Change the water every day and shake the jar to make sure the beans stay moist. Strap your jars to the outside of your backpack so they get enough light. Soon you will have a jar full of extremely tasty and nutritious bean and lentil salad all you need to survive
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