Like all bean species, the mats bean belongs to the butterflies and is therefore one of the legumes. The undemanding plant is native to the Indian subcontinent and thrives particularly well in dry-warm regions. Like the closely related common bean, the protein-rich bean is used in many traditional Indian dishes.

You should know that about the bean

Like all legumes, the bean is rich in high-quality vegetable protein. However, the proportion of fat and carbohydrates is very low, so it is a relatively low-calorie food.

Matt beans are among the most common types of beans in Indian and East Asian cuisine. Already more than 2000 years ago, the bean was cultivated on the Indian subcontinent for the first time. Since it is particularly well adapted to a semi-dry to dry warm climate and flourishes well on nutrient-poor soils, the mat bean has already spread to Pakistan, Thailand and China in historical times.

Today, the bean is also increasingly grown in the USA, Australia and some African countries. The one-year-old plant needs little care. After sowing, a tap root forms quickly, which makes it possible to use existing moisture in deeper soil layers.

Above the surface of the earth grow creeping, hairy tendrils of up to one meter in length, which spread out in a circle and are densely covered with three-part leaves. From small yellowish flowers in the axils form 2.5 to 5 cm long brown, also hairy pods containing up to nine elongated seeds. These are with a maximum of 5 mm in length and 3 mm thickness, even for the indigenous beans in India quite small.

Depending on the breeding line, the seeds, which are known as the whole plant mats beans, rectangular or kidney-shaped, and there are also all shades of light beige over green to brown possible.

All variants only reach a low stature height, so that they must be laboriously harvested by hand. In addition to the seeds, however, the pods, stems and leaves of the mats bean are also edible. These taste tart and fresh, while the seeds are very mild and only slightly nutty in flavor. As a result, they are versatile. As the plant can not be grown in temperate climates, only the dried bean kernels are available in Europe. Mattresses are usually not found in regular supermarkets, but some Asian stores have them in their assortment. The easiest way to buy mat beans is via online retailers. In addition to the name Mattenbohne, moth bean and mosquito bean are also common in commerce.

Importance for the health

Like all legumes, the bean is rich in high-quality vegetable protein. However, the proportion of fat and carbohydrates is very low, so it is a relatively low-calorie food. Due to the fiber contained in mats beans, they are still very filling.

This makes the mat bean ideal for reduction diets and a low carbohydrate diet. Diabetics can also benefit from mat beans because their nutrient combination ensures that blood sugar levels rise slowly after a meal. Due to the high content of various vitamins and minerals, the enjoyment of cotton beans supports cell renewal. Matt beans also strengthen the nervous system and stimulate the metabolism. Also, cholesterol levels and blood pressure can be regulated with the help of a diet that is rich in legumes such as the bean mat.

Especially recommended are mats beans in vegetarian and vegan diet, as they are not only high in protein, but also contain relatively high levels of iron. Negative health effects, which can occur with related bean types, are not to be expected with the bean. Only when eating large quantities of cotton beans can digestive complaints occur, as they are typical for all legumes. The protease inhibitors and pectins contained in them can lead to bloating and upset stomach, in very rare cases even damage to the intestinal walls.

However, since these substances are neutralized by the action of heat, the consumption of mat beans is completely harmless if properly prepared. In general, mats are even very digestible. Meal-bean foods are recommended in Indian folk medicine for feverish illnesses.

Ingredients & Nutrition Facts

nutritional informationQuantity per 100 grams
Calories 343Fat content 1.6 g
Cholesterol 0 mgSodium 30 mg
Potassium 1, 191 mgCarbohydrates 62 g
Fiber 23 gMagnesium 381 mg

Raw mat beans contain only about 340 kcal per 100 g. Since they consist of about 30 percent protein, it makes not only a high-quality, but also a comparatively low-calorie protein source.

Fat hardly contains the bean, and the carbohydrates contained are largely in the form of dietary fiber. Matt beans are rich in magnesium, calcium and especially iron. A wide range of vitamins is also found in mats, especially vitamin C and vitamin B6. An even higher content of vitamins is achieved when the mat beans germinate and are then consumed as bean sprouts.

Incompatibilities & allergies

The mats bean is usually very digestible. Allergies and intolerances directly related to mats beans are not known. However, as with other bean types, mild to moderate digestive problems may occur if the gastrointestinal tract is sensitive to legumes.

Thorough cooking and the addition of spices, which counteract flatulence, can be used to avoid these symptoms. Even with a Sojaunverträglichkeit it can come to digestion problems due to the relationship of the two bean types. In this case, the treating physician should be informed. Since mat beans, like other legumes, also have a comparatively high content of purines, they can influence the uric acid level. If you suffer from gout, you should avoid it if possible.

Shopping & Kitchen Tips

While cotton beans are widespread in their country of origin, India, they are still largely unknown in Europe. However, they are readily available in special Asia markets or through online retailers, if only dried. However, this makes mat beans a product that can be stored excellently and is therefore ideal for domestic stockpiling.

Because of their small size, matte beans are suitable for quick meals, as unlike other dried legumes they do not necessarily have to be soaked before preparation. Anyone who is prone to discomfort after eating legumes should still soak matte beans and then throw away the soaking water, as they are so wholesome. Since mat beans germinate very easily, they can also be used to draw savory-nutty-tasting bean sprouts. These can easily be stored in the refrigerator for three to four days.

preparation tips

Thanks to their mild taste, mat beans can be used not only for classic Indian curry dishes, but also for Mediterranean or Central European spicy stews. Cooked in salt water, mat beans can also be prepared as a salad after draining and cooling along with other legumes and vegetables. Just as varied sprouts can be used from Mattenbohnenkernen. They can be roasted in the pan as well as cooked together with other ingredients in the pot. Raw they are a fresh and vitamin-rich supplement for salads. Tags: 

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