When cooking chickpeas I always use dried rather than the ones in cans because I think the canning process alters the flavor. Since soaking and boiling are so easy and can be done at the same time as many other tasks around the house I don’t mind the few extra hours that it takes to get them ready for use. However, there is a way to get even more flavor from chickpeas when buying fresh ones.
Last week I found a huge box of fresh chickpeas at my local Indian grocery store that I couldn’t resist so I bought a huge bag of them to bring home. There are so many uses for them that I knew they wouldn’t go to waste. Fresh ones are popular in north India as a snack when they are in season.
Green chickpeas are the same thing as the dried, brown ones but have been harvested while the pea and the pod are green, before they have matured on the vine and turned brown. They are more delicate in texture and sweeter than their dried counterparts. To use them, I simply pop the pods, yes they do make a popping sound, and remove the peas. Most of the peas are healthy and fully formed but a few are withered; those I discard. Shelling these chickpeas is best done with other people as it takes a while to work through an entire bag of chickpeas with one, and occasionally two, peas in each pod. At the end of the shelling process my fingers had turned black from the sap that stuck to me while crushing the pods. Don’t worry, it washes off very easily.
They are usually blanched in boiling water for about 3 or 4 minutes, dunked in ice water to stop the cooking process and are then ready to eat either by themselves or popping them into soups or salads. They can be used as substitutes for edamame. Add them to any rice recipe like Vegetable Pulau or any other vegetable dish.
Here is my recipe for a healthy snack of roasted chickpeas:
Simple Roasted Chickpea Recipe
1/2 tsp oil
1/8 tsp garam masala
1/8 tsp red chile powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup fresh green chickpeas
- Mix the garam masala, cumin and salt together in a small bowl.
- Heat a skillet over medium-high heat then add the oil to the pan.
- Add the chickpeas to the skillet and dry roast them until they turn brown in spots. Take care to shake the skillet often so the chickpeas roast evenly and don’t burn.
- As soon as the chickpeas are done, remove from the skillet and toss in the spice mix to coat. Add more salt if needed. Serve while hot.
– Shelling your chickpeas in advance is optional and based on your preferences.
– These Roasted Chickpeas are a perfect accompaniment to beer.