Noodles made from rice starch or mung bean are popular in Asian countries and known as vermicelli or glass noodles. This type of noodle is made by blending starch with up to 50% water to make a dough, extruding the dough with a cylinder-type extruder directly into boiling water followed by cooling and air-drying (Wang et al. 2012). Gelatinization and retrogradation of starch are critical to setting the structure of the noodle. Through the processing, its transparent color and glossiness determine the quality of the noodle, which is the factor affected by the properties of starch. Such starch characteristics include high amylose content, restricted granule swelling, high gel stability and high setback during cooking.

Mung bean has been known to have the starch characteristic most suitable for the noodle. Red bean starch and pigeon pea starch produced starch noodles with higher solid loss and lower translucency compared to noodles form pulse starches. In contrast, pea and lentil starch produced noodles with quality similar to noodles made with mung bean starch in terms of processing and sensory characteristics.

The cost of pea starch as a raw material was comparable to many bean starches. Swelling power of pea starch was desirable as it showed relatively restricted swelling at temperature higher than 90 °C. Restricted swelling stabilizes starch against shearing action during cooking and the property varies depending on amylose content, structure of amylose and amylopectin, and the presence of non-carbohydrate composition, especially lipid as it inhibits the swelling (Yadav et al. 2011).

Alternative processing using extruders may provide technological advantage in order to enhance the quality of vermicelli noodles with pulse ingredients. Wang et al. (2012) established an optimum processing parameters with a twin screw extruder for pea starch noodle production. The optimum conditions found during the experiment was the barrel temperature at 95 °C, the screw speed at 150 rpm, and the dough moisture content at 35%. The processing method utilizing high temperature extrusion enabled to eliminate pre-gelatinized starch and boiling step prior to drying.

Coating

Starch from corn and wheat are traditionally utilized for coating application such as batter and breading systems. Starches in coating systems should exhibit a good batter pickup, crispy texture and golden brown color. The Food Development Center (Manitoba, Canada) replaced corn and wheat starch/flour with pea flour, pea starch and pea fibers in chicken and fish nugget batter and breading. Pea starch replaced corn starch in batter on a 1:1 ratio performed similar to control in terms of color, moisture, and overall quality while increasing batter viscosity and overall crispiness.

Starch obtained by dry and wet fractionation had different functionality. The dry fractionated pea starch was preferred due to higher viscosity, which increased batter pick-up, and crispiness possibly due to higher protein content. Fractionation method affects the quality parameters since dry fractionated starch tends to have a higher beany flavor than the wet processed starch.

Sauces

As food fortification grows in popularity and market share, commercial food producers are focusing more on “putting in” than “taking out” when it comes to their sauces. For many companies this has meant incorporating pulses into contemporary recipes in an effort to attract health-conscious consumers.

As with other pulse-fortified products, the benefits of such a move include greater servings of protein and fiber, no gluten, essential amino acids, and other important nutrients. This might take the form of an “authentic” Italian or Mediterranean recipe that now incorporates legumes, such as Sicilian lentil pasta sauce enhanced with a blend of “al dente-cooked” (i.e. “to the tooth” in Italian) lentil varieties and classic Italian herbs and spices. Such a dish would qualify as high protein (6 g), high fiber (6 g), and fat-free (<0.5 g) based on a ½ cup serving size.