My Very First Fresh Garbanzo Beans
Please don’t think that I always play cat and mouse with my food before eating it. But when I am teaching myself how to cook something new, I often think of it as playing with food. And that is what I did with my very first fresh garbanzo beans.
I had never seen fresh garbanzo beans before. I found them at the store in a 10-ounce package. They were in a plastic container for $2.99 on the shelf among many vegetables. I purchased them thinking they would provide a good opportunity to learn something new.
In my kitchen, I enjoyed opening up the individual beans to see how they looked on the inside. A beautiful rounded bean was snuggling in the pod. Some pods had one large bean and some had two smaller beans. I pressed some beans between my fingers and found that they were pretty airy—less dense and not creamy like edamame or peas. Another night I dropped a few beans in boiling water while cooking spaghetti; 12 minutes was way too long for the beans. Finally I felt I knew enough to make an educated guess about a better cooking time and method. Yes, I steamed the whole package of beans as-is for 10 minutes. Then I placed them in a bowl and sprinkled on generous amounts of sea salt and ate them like edamame. They turned out just perfect for eating warm or cold.
In Thailand we don’t use garbanzo beans—fresh, dried or canned—in Thai cuisine. But we do use them when cooking Indian or middle eastern dishes. The beans are grown in India, but in Southern Thailand many Indian or Bengal merchants sold a variety of spicy legumes from village to village. When we were kids at a festival or open-air movie, I always loved cracking and eating dried, salted, spicy chickpeas. They were served in a paper bag, just like popcorn, and were good for sharing with friends.
A beautiful bean in a green pod, garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas, belong to the legume family. They are full of protein and fiber. Interestingly, the flavor of garbanzo beans is mild and unassertive and they have a soft (not dense) texture that holds it shape well in gentle cooking, like in a rice soup or a salad. It is healthier to snack on steamed garbanzo beans than anything else. So if you happen to see fresh garbanzo beans, don’t hesitate to take some home to try. It is fun and everyone is kept busy opening the pods while they enjoy the conversation.
- Garden Green Garbanzo beans: straight from the freezer (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Chana Masala (Spicy Chickpea Winter Stew) by Jayesh Rao
- Walla Walla growers try fresh-frozen garbanzos (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Sun Dried Tomato Hummus (blogcritics.org)
- Recipe for Chickpea (Garbanzo Bean) and Edamame Salad with Lemon and Mint (kalynskitchen.com)
- Wheatberry, Bean and Feta Salad (thescenefromme.com)