ITEM: Dried Chickpeas/ Garbanzo Beans
WHERE TO FIND: Most Grocery Stores in the Grain and Legume Section
ABOUT: Chickpeas are an ancient legume that have been eaten for thousands of years. They make up a important part of Middle Eastern and Indian Cuisine where they are used in many forms. From whole cooked Chickpeas to flour they create a strong and healthy backbone of a balanced vegetarian diet. They are a very versatile food that is incredibly healthy, packed with protein and a variety of anti-oxidants and other healthy goodness (check out a full profile here)
WHY I KEEP IT AROUND: I keep them around mostly to make hummus. I love homemade hummus as it is so much better than store bought and a lot cheaper too a bag costs about $3 something and makes about 5 or so batches of hummus (I use a modified version of the recipe from Jerusalem: A Cookbook, which also has a great falafel recipe). Chickpeas are also an integral part of making Falafel which are like one of my favorite things ever (nothing like stopping for a $3 falafel sandwich at my favorite place in Brooklyn after a night out). Falafel are not only amazing the day of they are also great to add to salads during the work week to add some depth and excitement to your lunch. They really are not too hard to make either. Once you have some cooked chickpeas they great tossed with a little bit of Olive Oil and spices and added to a lettuce based salad, a grain based salad, or on top of scrambled eggs like I had the other day in the Moroccan Scramble from Five Leaves here in Brooklyn. Chickpeas are endlessly useful and store for a long time. While you can get them precooked and canned I prefer not as I feel they are a bit tinny in taste.
HOW TO PREPARE: Soak in water until they double in size (I usually leave them overnight). Pour out into a pot and cover with about 3″ of water bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. It takes around 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours for the chickpeas to cook until they are soft. (If the water boils off when cooking add more as needed). Once the Chickpeas are soft drain and use in your desired preparation.
Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison: “The Legume Family: Chickpeas” pg 376
Jerusalem: A Cookbook: Falafel pg 98, Basic Hummus pg 114