How to Cook Chickpeas

chickpeas make a great curry

What are Chickpeas?

Chickpeas are a creamy-coloured, buttery and nutty-flavoured pulse, and may also be known as garbanzo beans. They are one of the world’s oldest cultivated legumes. They originate from the Middle East and grow best in a tropical climate. Read on to discover how to cook chickpeas.

The Romans added chickpeas to broth and ate them roasted as a snack, while in ancient Greece they were used in desserts. In the modern-day Philippines, chickpeas are also used in desserts like halo-halo, meaning ‘mix-mix’, with candied fruit, shaved ice and evaporated milk. Chickpeas are a staple food in India, used in curries and dahl. They are the main ingredient of Middle Eastern hummus and falafel.

Chickpeas look quite different when they are growing.

Chickpeas are low in fat, high in protein and very satisfying. They are high in fibre too, which helps to lower cholesterol and regulate blood sugar levels. They provide a source of the minerals folate, for a healthy heart and healing, immune-boosting zinc, plus a range of antioxidants.

Store dried chickpeas in an airtight container and keep in a cool, dry place away from sunlight.

How to Cook Chickpeas?

For best results, you want to soak the dried chickpeas for at least a few hours but ideally overnight. The addition of bicarbonate of soda to the water will speed up the process and will also help to reduce the oligosaccharides (the sugars in beans). This aids digestion and shortens the cooking time. Use around a tablespoon of bicarb per litre of water.

Another approach is to bring the chickpeas to the boil, then turn off the heat and leave them uncovered in the water for one to two hours. However, this is more likely to break the chickpeas than the overnight soaking method.

Cooking and Soaking Guidelines for Dried Chickpeas
Cooking guidelines for dried chickpeas

Once soaked, rinse them under running water and add to a pan with one-part chickpeas to three-parts fresh, unsalted water (salt will increase the cooking time). Bring to the boil in a partially-covered pan. Simmer for an hour or until tender, skimming off any foam that appears on the surface.

Chickpeas make a very tasty curry dish called ‘Chola Masala’ or ‘Chana Masala’.

Hopefully, you have found this short post giving you a little information about the history of chickpeas and also how to cook chickpeas interesting as well as helpful. We hope you will enjoy adding chickpeas to your menu regularly!

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