Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, are a legume traditionally used in Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Indian cooking. But these days they’re popular in many more places around the globe and for good reason. Chickpeas contain loads of minerals, vitamins and fibres. They’re also a good source of protein, which is why they’re very popular with vegetarians and vegans. Personally, I’m not a fan of having a purely vegetable diet. However that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate chickpeas as a tasty and versatile addition to my culinary repertoire.
Also, they’re very affordable. An important thing for a Dutchie like me.
When buying chickpeas, you can buy them either in a can or dried. Many people go for the canned, pre-boiled option. It’s easy to see why they’re such a popular option. They have a very long shelf-life and are ready to use straight out of the can. The downside of canned chickpeas is of course that, like all canned vegetables, they contain more sodium and have some loss of nutrients. But don’t we all want a easy and convenient option now and again?
However, personally, I think it’s worth it to buy your chickpeas dried and boil them yourself. Even if it does take more time.
Now, some people don’t like chickpeas. Mainly because they’re kind of notorious for being a bit… gas producing. This is unfortunately true, because most pulses are difficult for humans to digest. But by boiling your chickpeas yourself, you can take some measures to give your gut a helping hand. Firstly, you need to soak your dried chickpeas overnight. This will not only soften them before boiling, it will also start the process of breaking down many of the gas-inducing sugars they contain. Secondly, to further help the break down process, you can add baking soda during boiling. However, don’t be to heavy-handed with this, since using too much baking soda can leave behind an unpleasant soapy flavour.
As for convenience, it’s perfectly possible to freeze the chickpeas in batches after you’ve boiled them. This way you get the same long shelf-life and ease of use as the canned variety, but hopefully with a bit less methane.