Chickpeas   -   Kabul type
Chickpeas [Garbanzo (Spanish - from Basque), Kabuli Chana (India), Ceci (Italy), Chiche (France) Cicer arietinum]

These are the large light colored chickpea so familiar in the Mediterranean region, the Middle East and North America. They were not introduced into India until the 18th century and came there through Afghanistan, thus named for the Afghan capital of Kabul. Kabuli is the preferred type for growing in more temperate climates. The photo shows dried peas on the left, fresh pods top right and freshly shelled peas lower right. The dried peas were about 3/8 inch in diameter and weighed about 50 to an ounce.

These peas are entirely essential to the cuisines of the Middle East and North Africa. They appear made into a paste and mixed with sesame paste and sometime flavorings in the very popular paste/dip Humus and in recipes of all kinds.

These beans proved 100% fatal to French monks in the monasteries in Sicily because they could not properly pronounce the name in Italian. Anyone who could not pronounce the name properly was immediately slaughtered, along with every other French man, woman and child on Sicily. This event is historically known as "The Sicilian Vespers", since the slaughter began at the Vespers bell (coincidence, not a signal).

More on Beans, Peas & Lentils.

Fresh:   In regions where chickpeas are grown, fresh pods are simply broken open and the peas eaten raw as a snack. They can also be cooked and have a fresher flavor than dried. Once impossible to get in the U.S., fresh chickpeas are becoming fairly common, at least in Southern California.

Canned:   Canned Chickpeas are a convenient substitute for soaking your own dried peas. Actually they were previously previously dried, then soaked and cooked in the canning process. Soaking your own is considered superior but requires planning ahead. A 15oz can yields about 9-1/2 oz after draining, equivalent to a little more than 1/2 cup of dried beans before soaking.

Dried:   A cup (6-1/2 ounces) of dried chickpeas should be soaked for about 8 hours in 3 cups of water with 2 t salt per cup of beans (see Soaking / Brining Beans). One cup (7 ounces) will yield a little over 2-1/4 cups (14 ounces) of drained beans. 1 pound of dry beans will yield 2 pounds soaked. Weights of properly soaked beans will not change with cooking.

Cooking:   Soaked chick peas should be simmered for about 3/4 hour to cook. Unsoaked dried beans will take up to 2-1/2 hours of simmering.

Some recipes, particularly from Armenia, want the chickpeas skinned before cooking. This is done by soaking them for a couple days, changing the water twice a day, then rubbing them between your hands under water. the peas will sink and the skins will float allowing easy removal.

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