Legume grains

Legume grains
i. Types of legume grains
ii. Importance of legume grains
iii. Nutritive value of legume grains
iv. Cooking method for legume grains






TOPIC:  Legume grains

CONTENT: (i) Types of legume grains

  • Importance of legume grains
  • Nutritive value of legume grains
  • Cooking method for legume grains


SUBTOPIC 1: Types of legume grains, Importance of legume grains

          Meaning of legume grains

Legumes are the edible seeds of the leguminous plants belonging to the leguminous family.

A typical legume is composed of

  1. Seed coat (testa or mill)
  2. The cotyledons and
  • The embryo

Each of the above components varies in proportion in different legumes. The outer layer is called the testa which has beneath it the cotyledon.

The embryo of every legume consists of the plumule. The hypocotyls and the radicle.

Legumes constitute the second largest family of seed plant and contain about 600 general with 13 species.

Types of legumes

Legumes used as food are available in two broad classes: pulses and oil seed. Pulses are the dried edible seeds of cultivated legumes.

They comprise all varieties of beans, peas lentils. Oil seeds are those legumes which are relatively high in oil and they are processed primarily for their oil. They include soybeans, groundnuts, melons etc

              Importance of legume grains

Legumes are generally very important nutritionally. They are next to animal and fish in protein quality. They are incorporated into the diet so as to improve the nutritional quality of meals. There are numerous dishes that can be made from legumes and these have made legume very popular. The importance of legumes include

  1. Cowpea (vignaunguiculata) is the commonest edible pulse in Nigeria. It is a major source of protein in most homes in Nigeria. They are high in protein and soluble carbohydrates, low in crude fibre and oil with a little amount of minerals. It is used in preparation of these dishes: moimoi, adalu, gbegiri, bean cake (akara), stewed beans, ekuru etc.
  2. Soybeans are widely cultivated worldwide. It has been an outstanding source of protein due to its high protein content and the relative ease of its absorption. It contains about 40% protein, 20% fat and 21% carbohydrate. Its meal is fairly of high biological value. It is classified as first class protein because it contains all nutritional essential amino acids. Its processing stages have been developed to obtain and modify its protein for special food uses. It is the source of valuable protein to improve the protein quality of traditional weaning foods e.g. maize grain meal.
  • Groundnut: is one of the major crops cultivated in the northern part of Nigeria. It contains about 25% protein and 50% oil. The oil is of high nutritive value. After extracting the oil, the residue contains about 51% protein. Though its protein contains large amount of essential amino acids, its nutritive value is limited due to its low content of lysine and methionine, tryptophan and threonine. Its digestibility coefficient is around 90%.

The B complex vitamins in it are   i. thiamine ii. Riboflavin          iii. Niacin         iv. Pyridoxine, pantothenic acid and trace of tocopherols. The following are not in it – (i) retinol (ii) cholecalciferol (ii) ascorbic acid. The nut contains some mineral elements.   (i) Sulphur (ii) calcium (iii) manganese, copper, magnesium, potassium etc.

Improper harvesting and storage cause it to produce some toxic substances known as aflatoxin. The toxin is produced by a fungus known as Aspergillus flavus. Ground nut is used in various dishes.

  1. Boiled in the shell or roasted and consumed as snack
  2. Groundnut flour to enrich tuber flours e.g cassava four, cake (kulikuli)
  • Make groundnut paste as sustitue for amond paste.
  1. Groundnut cake
  2. Peanut butter
  3. Melon: melon is an annual group belonging to gourd family. It is a water-loving crop and mostly cultivated in the southern part of Nigeria. Its seed is rich in protein and oil, but low in ccarbohydrate. It contains the following minerals: magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus. It has a fair amount of vitamin ‘D’ and carotene. The high caloric value is due to its high oil content. It is used in the preparation of stew and soup e.g. melon soup elegusi (in Yoruba).

Melon can also be fermented to make a condiment called ogiri. The residue obtained after the extraction of oil from melon is also used in making two local snacks called robo and Igbaloinyoruba land.

Subtopic 2: Nutritive value of legume grains

Legumes are the main source of plant proteins. They are incomplete proteins because they lack one or more essential amino acid. The essential amino acid that are absent in legumes are methionine and cysteine. They are also rich in B complex vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, nicotinic acid and vitamin C. However, dried pulses are poor sources of vitamin C but contain a appreciable amount of carbohydrate.

The major sugar in legumes is sucrose. They also contain some oligosaccharide that are not easily digestible in human intestine e.g. raffinose, trisaccharide and starchyose a tetra saccharide. This results to accumulation of too much gas in the colon. The fermentation of the indigested oligosaccharides result in the distention of the stomach, thus causing discomfort and flatulence – passing of flatus (incessant elimination of gas via the anus).

The presence of roughage and sulphur in pegumes causes its indigestibility. Thorough cooking of legumes soften the cellulose thereby removing the action of sulphur. The toxic substance reduce their effective utilization in the body. These toxic components include: trypsin inhibitor,saponin, cyanogens, haemagglutinins and urease.

They are destroyed by heat when legumes are cooked, hence they must be thoroughly cooked to remove these components.


Anti nutritional factor Method of removal
Trypsin inhibitors Inactivated by heat
Haemaglutinin Inactivated by heat
Urease Inactivated by heat
Saponins Inactivated by heat


To maintain the nutritional value of legumes, consider the following:

  1. Free from weevil
  2. Fresh and wholesome
  • Very dry to prevent growth

Suitable cooking methods

There are numerous methods of cooking like boiling, frying, steaming, stewing, baking and roasting

Fishes from legumes include the following:

  • From cowpea: bean stew, gbegiri, beans and rice, akara or fired beans cake, beans pudding or moi-moi, adalu or beans with corn.
  • Form groundnut: groundnut stew, groundnut cake, groundnut ball or kongu, groundnut paste (oseogi) etc
  • From melon: egusi or melon stew, vegetable melon stew or ofeeleegusi
  • From pigeon pea: maize/pigeon pea dish (agaharaoka).
  • From bambara nut: bambara nut pudding (okpa).

Subtopic 3: Practical

  1. Cooking of Bambaranut pudding (okpa) (steaming method)

Recipe (ingredients and their measurement)

  1. 10 cups of bambara nut
  2. 4 large pepper (ground)
  3. 2 cups of palm oil
  4. Salt to taste
  5. Water to mix
  6. Uziza seed ground

Method (procedure)

  1. Pick the nuts, mill and sieve with a fine sieve
  2. Make a hole and add palm oil and 1 cup of water
  3. Mix and gradually add water to avoid lumping
  4. Add the ground uziza, salt and pepper
  5. Add water gradually until it has attained a water consistency
  6. Check the seasoning
  7. Pour into fresh banana/plantain leaf or aluminium cup or cellophane bag (depending on the quantity required).
  8. Steam in a pot for about 1hr 30minutes
  9. Serve with agigi or pap
  10. B. cooking of maize/pigeon peas dish (agharaghaoka)


Recipe (ingredient with their measurement)

  1. 3 cups of maize
  2. 2 cups of pigeon pea (fiofio)
  3. 1 ½ cup palm oil
  4. 4 fresh pepper chopped
  5. 2 large branches of vegetables (chopped)
  6. 1 large onions (ground)
  7. 1 large onions chopped
  8. Fermented oil beans (ukpaka)



Method (procedure)

  1. Parboiled maize 4 dried and grind in a manual hand grinder
  2. Pick the pigeon pea and look with a low heat until tender
  3. Reduce the water to the level of the pigeon pea.
  4. Rub in ½ cup of palm oil into the ground maize
  5. Add the chopped vegetable on top of the pea and make a bed.
  6. Pour the oiled ground maize on top of the vegetables;
  7. Add the chopped onion top and cover the pot.
  8. Cook for about 30minutes on a moderate temperature stirring only the maize after every 10 minutes.
  9. Add the remaining palm oil, ½ cup of water, ground onion, ground pepper and salt into a small pot and cook for about 10minutes. Pour it into the maize and stir together.
  10. Dish and serve with a drink

C          Stewing method

Recipe (ingredients and their quantity)

  1. 2 cups of beans
  2. Dried fish (medium)
  3. 4 small pepper ground
  4. 150ml of palm oil or vegetable oil
  5. 1 large onion
  6. 2 large tomatoes
  7. Salt to taste

Method (preparation)

  1. Pick the beans to remove stones and unwanted materials
  2. Wash and boil beans until tender
  3. Prepare fish, dice a slicks of onion, grind the other half with the pepper
  4. Add diced onion to the tender beans and allow to simmer, until some of the water has evaporated.
  5. Fry fish and the ground ingredients in the red palm oil or vegetable oil. Season to taste.
  6. Add the fried ingredients to the tender beans, add some more salt if need be, stir and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes
  7. Serve hot with rice, boiled yam, fried plantain and potatoes.

D         Frying method

Recipe (ingredients and their measurement)

  1. 1 cup of beans
  2. Large pepper (chopped)
  3. 1 medium sized onion (diced
  4. Groundnut oil
  5. Cray fish
  6. Water to mix
  7. Salt to taste

Method (preparation)

  1. Soak beans and remove husk
  2. Grind until smooth
  3. Beat very well in a bowl with a spatula or an electric mixer
  4. Add water gradually and beat until mixture is light and drop when shaken from the spoon.
  5. Add crayfish, onion, pepper, and salt to taste
  6. Mix thoroughly
  7. Put oil on fire until hot
  8. Fry until golden brown, turning the balls at interval to prevent burning
  9. Drain in a colander
  10. Serve with bread or agidi or pap.


  1. List two essential amino acids absent in legumes
  2. State four B complex vitamins in legumes
  3. Give one reason for indigestibility of legume
  4. State with examples, the different methods of cooking legumes
  5. (a) List three dishes that can be made from legumes

(b)  State the recipe and procedure for preparation and cooking of one of the dishes above.

  1. (a) State the composition of a tropical legume.
  • Illustrate (a) above with a diagram
  1. State the classes of legumes and give two examples of each of the classes
  2. State the importance of soya bean a typical legume
  3. State briefly the nutritional value of legume to humans


Objective Test

  1. _______ are the dried edible seeds of cultivated legumes. (a) oil seeds (b) groundnut (c) groundnut (d) pulse.
  2. The seed coat of legumes is also referred to as ________. (a) cotyledon (b) embryo (c) plumule (d) testa
  3. Which of the following is process mainly because of its oil content? (a) beans (b) peas (c) melon (d) lentils
  4. Which of these are the major nutrients in legume? (a) carbohydrate (b) water (c) protein (d) oils
  5. _______ are responsible for the indigestibility of legumes. (a) vitamins and minerals (b) roughage and sulphur element (c) cellulose and protein (d) accumulation of gas
  6. __________ are next to animal and fish in protein. (a)roots (b) steams (c) grains (cereals_ (d) legume grains
  7. _________ is found to be rich in all essential amino acids. (a) cowpea (b) melon (c) groundnut (d) soya beans
  8. The nutritive value of groundnut protein is limits due to its low content of _____ and _____. (a) vitamins and fat (b) carbohydrate and mineral salt (c) lysine and methioine (d) iron and iodine
  9. Which of the following is processed mainly because of its oil content? (a) lentil (b) melon (c) peas (d) beans
  10. One of the following is us to remove unease in legume. (a) water flow (b) heat (c) cold (e) pressure

   Pre-reading Assignment

Read about the types of fruits, nutritive value and difference between fruits and vegetables.

 Weekend activity

  1. Write five nutrients that are contained in fruits
  2. Apart from nutrients, of what other use are fruit to humans?

Reference Text

  • Evans food and nutrition for senior secondary school book 2 by F. A. Bakare et al; Evans Brothers Nigeria Limited.
  • Food and nutrition for senior secondary school 1-3 (page 58 – 60).