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Jan 1, 2007 02:57 PM

I always ruin dried chickpeas - any tips?

By ruin I mean that they never get as soft and tender as canned chickpeas. I bought another bag from arrowhead mills and plan to try again.

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  1. Jackp, who handles the dried chickpeas in our house, says to soak them overnight, no salt in the water, and change the water once before you simmer them for 45 to 60 minutes and they'll be fine.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jillp

      Jackp and I do it the same way. The only modification I would make is that sometimes they do need to be cooked longer than 45-60 minutes. The trick is to test them along the way and let your mouth be the guide to when they're ready. Also, I start them at a boil, and then turn it down to a simmer. But, these are small details.

    2. Canned chickpeas are processed over high heat and under vacuum conditions. You can replicate this in a pressure cooker, or just keep cooking them until they're soft to the point of mushiness.

      1. Jackp is right- soaking any dried beans and chickpeas makes it easier to cook them. Also, make sure you've got plenty of water and you keep them on a steady, but low, simmer. I'm a little scatterbrained when I cook dry chickpeas and beans (some kind of genetic defect, I think- I always, without fail, seem to forget about them), so this way I don't run out of water and end up with dried or burnt chickpeas.

        1. My take on soaking dry beans or peas, is nothing more than playtime, having little cooking effect to the bean itself. Don't get me wrong, it helps wash them, so it isn't a total waste of time.

          Salt and some seasonings will counteract the softening effect, so only fresh water in cooking beans or peas. I season things closer to the last few hours of cooking, right before serving

          Boil or not to boil? Believe it or not, my best results have came from crockpots, on the low setting. It was interesting to find that out in my kitchen when I needed a large batch of beans and my large stock pot was already in use. I had split the beans between 2 crockpots and a small stock pot. I ended up with a 2 hour difference with the boiling stock pot holding up kitchen progress.

          Pressure cooking? Personally I think it is too dangerous for peas or beans at the home setting. It takes too much water and that could result in internal foaming. Foaming leads to air pockets, and air pockets leads to a dry bottom or boil over.

          Cheat and use canned? I have slipped to that direction over the years. My hedge to this lies within getting the right can sizes and at the right price. Fortunately we have decent stores and a wholesale house that I can search for the bargans. Only dislikes I have of canned, is the starched water. I normally rinse the beans before using with the exceptions of some seasoned beans like chili beans. Lets not forget the time and energy saved in using the canned beans.

          (Please note that beans and peas are members of the same food family (legumes) and can be universally mentioned here. Lets not forget the lentils either)

          3 Replies
          1. re: RShea78

            I do not discriminate against those who choose to use canned items, however, I have recently been diagnosed with a problem caused by BPA, which can be found in canned items, as well as other plastic-packaged items.
            So I have done my best to stop using such things, and it's SO hard.
            Thank you for your tips on usind dried chickpeas. When I've used them, I could totally tell the difference between the two, and hopefully these tips will help me in my future endeavors.
            No more crunchy centered chickpeas. :)

            1. re: whiteswife

              We have stopped with the cans completely for BPA reasons as well, with the exception of a few good manufacturers that don't line their cans with the substance. For beans specifically, that would be Eden Organic.

            2. re: RShea78

              Soaking, rinsing, then cooking in new water makes legumes a less, um, windy food... Don't skip this step, if you want to reduce episodes of (as it use to be politely euphemized) 'the vapors,' after consuming them! :-)

              Dried beans are so easy-- I never buy canned, since dry are easy/ cheap/ nonBPA... I soak 'em overnight, rinse, dump them in the crock w/ some new water, and go about my business til they're tender (varies by bean type, but usually coincides nicely with a standard work-day-- 8 hours on low is a good start, then a bit more if you want 'em softer)... The only thing to watch out for is cooking different types of beans together, since (for example) black beans take longer than chickpeas to become tender. Easy, cheap, healthy, & yum!

            3. Rshea is right, but I do soak the beans and then into the crockpot on low overnight and then they are ready the next day around noon. To me its the easiest because if they're on the stove they take more of my time monitoring their progress.

              I don't know if it's my imagination or what, but they always turn out so much better in the crockpot, and there is no chance of scorching the bottom either. I do all beans in the crockpot and they always turn out great. It just takes a little planning is all.

              I'm not a vegetarian and last year I was invited to my vegetarian Indian friends home. Wanting to make an impression and bring something tasty,I made a terrific pureed chickpea soup. I loaded it with lots of garlic and serrano chilies, carrots and celery. When I served it I had cilantro and small dice tomates. Along with homemade baquettes it was a huge hit.

              5 Replies
              1. re: chef chicklet

                Could you elaborate on yor crockpot bean cooking method. I just cooked dried beans for the first time and would like to be able to use the crockpot for this.

                1. re: oaklandfoodie

                  I would also love to hear more about the crockpot bean method. I love the idea that I can make them sodium free (cuz that's my biggest beef with the canned ones). :)


                2. re: chef chicklet

                  Crockpots have different personalities. In mine, I have to cook dried legumes on high. On the low setting, the beans stay hard.

                  For canned, A&W are the best. When they go on sale, I stock up.

                  1. re: Sharuf

                    Sounds like you have a good vintage crockpot. The ones they make today burn the food in half the time!

                  2. re: chef chicklet

                    Absolutely the best way to cook beans is in the crockpot! I do all my beans this way.