This study aimed to test the nutritional quality of white haricot bean-maize porridge, a potential complementary food made using household food processing. Focus group discussions were conducted with mothers and revealed that traditional processing practices were soaking, germination and roasting. Although few used pulses in complementary foods (only maize), they expressed preference for white haricot bean to incorporate as a pulse in food for infants and young children. Germination (for 48 or 72 h) and roasting methods of household processing and preparation methods were used during preparation of white haricot bean flour, and soaking and roasting were selected in preparation of maize flour. Proximate nutrient analysis was done on processed and unprocessed flours using standard methods. There were no significant differences in iron (p=0.114), and zinc (p= 0.326) between 48 and 72 h germinated white haricot bean. However, processed products showed significant reduction of phytate (p= 0.001). Community acceptability test was undertaken with 36 mother-child pairs. There were no significant mean differences among porridge samples for sensory attributes. This study shows that processing such as germination of pulse is necessary for improved bioavailability of iron and zinc, and that pulse-cereal porridge is suitable as a complementary food.
Key words: Phytate, iron, zinc, porridge, maize flour, haricot bean flour, germination, roasting, soaking.
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