Something fresh, for fresh chickpeas?
May 5, 2010 10:29 AM   Subscribe

What recipes are best suited for fresh chickpeas? (aka garbanzo beans)

I've been on a bit of a chickpea kick recently (roasted in tacos, fried into fritters, simmered in curry, etc), and was excited to see fresh chickpeas, still in green fuzzy shells at a latin market last night. (The north I-35 Fiesta mart for Austin peeps). I wanted to fill up a bag, but the fear of letting them go to waste while looking for a good recipe stopped me.

So, what is best suited for fresh chickpeas? I think putting them in a batter and frying them would be a waste, when the caned version is already excellent. (and cheap and easy) My mind starts and stops at... a salad.

Do they need to be cooked? What are freshness indicators? Any experiences with these guys is appreciated.

(Don't need to worry about dietary restrictions, we eat meat, spicy, everything. We're pretty adventurous cooks, and fairly decked out kitchen-gadgetry wise, as well, so go for it!)
posted by fontophilic to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

You don't need to cook them, just put them in a blender or mash them with olive oil, pepper, pumpkin or whatever you like.
posted by chrisulonic at 10:39 AM on May 5, 2010

Gaper's Block just posted three recipes for fresh chickpeas. They are sauteed, hummus, and Pasta with Fresh Chickpeas, Olives, Leeks, and Mushrooms
posted by Miss Matheson at 11:02 AM on May 5, 2010

1. Boil them in lightly salted water for 3-5 minutes.
2. Drain, then toss with good extra virgin olive oil (about a tablespoon per 2 cups cooked beans) and herbs to taste. I like a little thyme, rosemary and black pepper, and usually end up adding a little extra salt. Or, I just shake in a bunch of off-the-shelf Green Za'atar.
3. Serve with warm pita bread.
I like the beans slightly toothy, and to be able to really taste the beans, olive oil and herbs separately, so I do a short boil.
A slightly longer boil will soften the beans, allow them to absorb more of the flavors, and give you a texture closer to a dip- still tasty, but kind of defeats the purpose of using fresh beans IMO. For the same reason, I skip the garlic and splash of red wine or balsamic vinegar I would add to canned beans when using fresh, because while tasty, I think it hides the subtle, nutty, fresh flavors.
posted by Anoplura at 11:03 AM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

I like to make a Middle Eastern kind of salad with fresh chickpeas, which basically involves tossing them with olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, cayenne, a clove of raw garlic, salt and pepper, chopped red pepper, and lots of parsley and mint. It's best to let it soak for a night before eating it.
posted by Beardman at 11:08 AM on May 5, 2010

I recently had a meal of sauteed calamari, blood oranges, fresh chickpeas, and thin-sliced red onions that was one of the best things I've ever eaten. I think the chickpeas were cooked a bit, but I have no idea how, and they certainly weren't cooked much. They were tender and delicious, and I've been hoping to get my hands on some ever since.

The restaurant where I ate that has another dish on their menu now that pairs fresh chickpeas with trout and trumpet mushrooms, which also sounds delicious to me.

I don't have recipes for either of these, but perhaps they'll provide inspiration for some experimentation.
posted by dizziest at 11:09 AM on May 5, 2010

check out this article recently published

mmmm i had these once and was ecstatic....can't say that about many foods
posted by saraindc at 11:17 AM on May 5, 2010

Chick Pea Soup, Ginger, and Cilantro Soup!

Also, any chickpeas you may find in humus are not fresh.
posted by k. at 11:30 AM on May 5, 2010

Oops, it's only one soup.
posted by k. at 11:30 AM on May 5, 2010

This chickpea "stew" from Bittman is great, and would be great with fresh garbanzos as well. One can also imagine almost endless variations.
posted by OmieWise at 2:36 PM on May 5, 2010

Thanks, Miss Matheson, for linking to the column I wrote for Gapers about fresh chickpeas. Just about any recipe that uses canned chickpeas can have fresh ones substituted. Fresh their texture tends to be smoother and less grainy. The pods aren't hard to remove, but they're easier if you steam them first for 15-30 minutes, depending on how soft you want the peas to be. They boil and become al dente at about the same time it takes to boil most thicker pasta, so you can add them to the water at the same time as the pasta to cook them. This likely does reduce some of the nutritional value, but it is easier than steaming them separately.

You can also steam the pods and sprinkle them with salt and a little chili pepper if you like spicy food and then eat them like edamame. They puree very well so they make a great addition to smooth soups. And even when they're raw they're edible, although their texture does improve if they're cooked lightly at least. And they'll last for a week in your refrigerator in an open plastic bag. As long as they don't get moldy, due to too much humidity, the worst that will happen is they'll dry out a bit and require a slightly longer cooking time. Enjoy them. They're totally worth the work.
posted by cinnachick at 3:11 PM on May 5, 2010

Holy crap this all sounds so awesome, I am totally going to Fiesta tomorrow. Thanks for the tip, fontophilic!

I think hummus would be great - but pretty standard. If you are into Indian food, you could try making some chana masala, or some other chick pea curries.
posted by theRussian at 9:42 PM on May 5, 2010

Fresh chickpeas make a delicious snack if roasted over an open fire when still in their pods. The traditional way is to take an entire bush and set fire to it, but I usually put the pods in a metal sieve that can take it, and roast them over a gas flame. When they're nice and charred and the pods are thoroughly blackened, peel with your fingers and eat hot. I like them plain, but you can season them with (eg) lime juice, chili powder, salt. Delicious.
posted by tavegyl at 1:41 AM on May 6, 2010

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