Oh, chickpeas. They are super delicious, don’t you think? After a couple years making my own hummus (sans tahini, because really, why?) with canned garbanzo beans, I finally took the plunge into dried beans. And oh my goodness, are these little guys amazing when soaked overnight and cooked on the stove with a simple blend of “aromatics.” Snack worthy all on their own, I say! And today, I’m going to give you the simplest “how-to” I could muster on cooking chickpeas. All of my knowledge comes from this wonderful cookbook: “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone” by Deborah Madison. The steps for taking your dried chickpeas to the stage you would find them at in a can are listed in my own words below. If you want the full scoop, with loads more information, I highly suggest you check out Deborah’s book.
SOAK: Did you know that beans absorb 3 to 4 times their volume in water AND swell to 2 or 3 times their size? It’s true! This means they need loads of water to absorb as well as space and time to do it. Fill your large pot with nearly 4 times the volume of your beans (I always use the entire package). Soak “overnight” for the beans to absorb as much water as they can. This can mean as little as four hours, or quite literally overnight, which is what I usually do for convenience sake.
DRAIN & PARBOIL: Now that your beans have soaked, replace the soaking water with enough fresh water to cover them. Bring the beans to a rolling boil for 5 to 10 minutes. Scum typically forms on the surface during parboiling which you can skim off with a spoon. No worries if you forget to de-scum, it’s not a vital step!
COOKING (STOVE): According to Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, “a perfectly cooked bean is soft and creamy inside, never hard, its skin intact, not broken.” While there are various ways to cook beans (pressure cooker, oven, slow cooker), as of now I only have experience cooking them on the stove.“Aromatics” 1 or 2 quartered onions a couple sprigs of parsley or sage 4 garlic cloves 1 or 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 teaspoons sea salt 1: Once the beans have parboiled, add in the “aromatics” and olive oil. 2: Simmer partially covered until the beans are slightly tender, about 45 minutes. 3: Add in salt and continue to cook until the beans are completely tender, but not mushy. 4: Put a bowl in your sink with a strainer on top, and pour out the contents of the pot. 5: You’ll want to save that “bean broth” to use for the hummus recipe I’ll sharing next week, as well as a stock for soups!
I love to snack on chickpeas as is, but if you’re looking for a recipe to make them a bit more flavorful, check out the recipe in volume two of Off Switch Mag! And trust me, there IS a huge difference between canned and dried beans. I’m a convert and I hope you will be too!