How to Cook Dried Chickpeas (or garbanzo beans)
Chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) have endless beneficial properties for our organism, such as digestive and diuretic properties. At the same time, their high protein and unsaturated fatty acid content allows you to control cholesterol levels. However, as do all pulses, they also have a great deal of calories, which is why it's recommended not to have them too often. To create a dish with them, first of all you need to cook them. But do you know how to cook them properly? Keep on reading this oneHOWTO article and find out how to cook dried chickpeas.
Before you start to cook dried chickpeas or garbanzo beans, we need to soak them for at least 12 hours in a cool place with no humidity at all. If we leave them to soak in tepid water, they will probably be ready to cook within 10 hours. If you prefer leaving them in the fridge, we must wait for 24 hours. The chickpeas mus be completely covered in water.
If the water we use to soak the dried chickpeas in is hard and has great quantities of limescale, we have the option of adding a teaspoonful of bicarbonate sodium. You should be careful with the amount of bicarbonate you add and the time you leave the chickpeas soaking, as this product could alter its taste if we leave it in for longer than estimated. If we add bicarbonate, they're usually ready in 8 hours.
If you want, you can add some hard salt while they're soaking, but the most adequate is to do it during the last minutes of cooking. Regarding the right amount of chickpeas per person, it varies according to the dish you want to prepare. If you're going to serve it as a main dish, 100g (3.5oz) per person approximately. As they are soaking, the garbanzo beans will grow in size.
When you're done soaking them and the garbanzo beans are ready, drain them with a sieve and wash them well. This step is very important, so don't forget to wash them. To cook the chickpeas you must get a good sized pot and add 1 litre of water (35 fl oz). If you want to, you can add a laurel leaf. It's recommended that water has as less calcium and magnesium as possible. To to so, use bottled water. Heat the water on high heat.
When the water boils, add the chickpeas. The water must completely cover them at least three centimeters (one inch). If you use a pressure cooker to cook them, you should close it as soon as you put the garbanzo beans in, lower the heat when it whistles and keep the steam output to the minimum. If you use a normal pot, you can cover it (leaving a small gap to let the steam out) to accelerate cooking.
For traditional pots, you should cook the garbanzo beans for 10 minutes at high heat. Then, once they have stopped cooking, sieve them, add new water and let them cook on low heat. This process can last two hours. You should add salt when you change the water. In the case of pressure cookers, add some salt as soon as you add your chickpeas and a bit more when you lower the heat. With this kind of cookers chickpeas are cooked in 45 minutes, approximately.
When they're properly cooked, take them off the heat and sieve them. As you can see, cooking garbanzo beans is a slow process which requires dedication, as cooking time depends on the kind of chickpea and the intensity of the heat. At the same time, if you'd like to add a salty ingredient, you should pay attention to the amount of salt you use.
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