Clean beans, lentils, chickpeas or other pulses by removing debris and discolored seeds, rinse with water. In a large pot, add 3 cups cold water per 1 cup of pulses. Soak (at room temperature or in the refrigerator) for 8 hours or overnight. Drain the water and rinse. Note: soaking is not necessary and can be skipped, but if used, it will shorten the cooking time.
Add soaked pulses to a large pot, cover with water, bring to a boil and then simmer until fully cooked. This can take anywhere from 20 minutes to 4 hours (or more if the seeds are old, you are cooking with hard water or you are at high altitudes).
Pulses are fully cooked when they are soft and can be easily crushed with your fingers.