using dried chickpeas

summary: how to get dried chickpeas to soften; chickpeas that haven’t been soaked overnight; (click on image to see larger view)

chickpeas This morning, we decided we neeeeeeded to have naan, palak paneer and chole (chickpea curry) for dinner tonight.

But we hadn’t soaked the chickpeas overnight. There they were, still in their jar….

No problem!! We’ve had this happen before (see Using Dried Beans). It just means that we have to cook the chickpeas longer.

So we washed them well, covered them with cold water and brought them to a boil. With no salt, of course! :-)

And after a couple of hours of simmering, tasted them.

Oh dear.

They were still hard as rocks! So we cooked them some more. And tasted them again… no change.

Oh oh.

Not willing to give up and race to the grocery store to buy canned chickpeas, we cooked them some more. And tasted them yet again…. Crunchy as ever.

And then my brilliant husband thought of the solution. He realized that the chickpeas had probably released a lot of minerals causing the water to be hard. He drained the chickpeas, put them in fresh cold water, brought them to a boil and Voila!!!.

Dinner impossible? I think not.

What made us suddenly neeeeeeeed to have chole? The Bread Baking Babes made naan. (Take a look at Tanna’s (My Kitchen in Half Cups) opening photo in her BBB naan post “Falling in LOVE … (was at“.)

naan Ha!!! I’ve made naan before! This is my chance to become a Bread Baking Babe at last! Stay tuned for my attempt.

(Our chole recipe? It’s basically rogan josh made with chickpeas instead of meat….)

edit February 2010: If you have old dried chickpeas that refuse to soften, no matter how much cooking, add a bit of baking soda to the soaking water:

[A]fter washing the chickpeas well, we threw a bit of baking soda into their soaking water and left them to see what they would do overnight. [The next] morning, we drained and rinsed away all the soaking water, added new water and cooked the chickpeas. For only 30 minutes. And they were ready. […] Yes, indeed. If your chickpeas WON’T get soft no matter how many hours they are cooked, use a little baking soda in the soaking water!!

-ejm, chickpea soup with harissa and croutons (MLLA #19)


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4 responses to “using dried chickpeas

  1. baking soda

    I was going to say: bake some naan with it! But you already did, hah, good girl! What’s with the dried beans that never go soft? I thought it was me! (That or old beans) I’ve wasted entire bags of beans soaking and cooking and never go soft, sigh.

  2. Phydeaux

    We were trying to figure that one out too! We ended up feeding them little by little into our blender to make the hummus. We went back to canned after that, but I will have to give the water switching a try, we still have half of the bag left. :-)

  3. ejm Post author

    Alas, switching the water didn’t work completely, after all. The chole tasted pretty good but each of the chickpeas was decidedly al dente.

    For the next time, we’re thinking of trying the method of presoaking the chickpeas with a dash of baking soda as suggested by Anissa Helou in “Mediterranean Street Food”. Even though Sally and Martin Stone says NOT to do that in their book “The Brilliant Bean”. The Stone’s reason? They say that soaking beans with baking soda will make the beans mushy.

    Ha!! That’s what we want! Mushy chickpeas! At least a little bit mushy. ;-)

    edit: T just yelled from his office, “Switching the water helps!! There’s no question. I just didn’t cook the chickpeas long enough. I added the salt too soon.” (Salt in the cooking water stops the beans from getting softer…). -Elizabeth

  4. Jeanne

    Very interesting – never thought that the mineral content of the water would have such an effect… Does this mean that rice takes longer to cook in hard water areas? And let me assure you, I have the limescale to prove that tap water does not come much harder than here in london!!


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