In Peru there exists an Andean legume called “Chocho” or “Tarwi.” Known as lupini beans in English, this legume is very rich in vegetable protein but requires a long cooking process. It's commonly found already packaged, since it's easier to prepare it that way, but if you buy the dry grains you'll need to soak them for a period of time, almost like chickpeas.
The only drawback to this legume is that it's extremely bitter and requires soaking for a long period of time in order to be edible. Its bitterness is a natural result of the plant's defenses, as it protects the lupini from predators, and even the water used to soak the grain is used as an insecticide both at home and in the field. Its scientific name, lupinus, is due to the bitterness of the fruit of the plant, and when it's consumed without removing this acrid taste it can cause nausea.
In Europe there’s a a legume that’s almost identical, known as lupinus albus, or “altramuz” in Spain and lupini in other countries. Its origin has been traced to ancient Egypt, but that’s just one of the 300 varieties of lupines that exist.
Once it’s cooked, it's used in soups and stews, salads, ceviches and many other dishes.
This is a recipe for a vegetarian ceviche using the lupini beans.
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