Move over, regular chickpea. You’ve had your day. With the hummus obsession that used to exist only in the Middle East having gone global, the chickpea has enjoyed a lot of fame and popularity. But, its underrated sibling, the green chickpea, is now finally getting the recognition it deserves.
This little green superfood has always been popular as a street snack in the Indian subcontinent & some parts of the Middle East. In countries where its found abundantly, it is generally roasted in its pod with some blackened salt, and eaten as an evening snack.
But in the West, where the fresh chickpea remains a seasonal novelty, there is a growing trend of replacing the traditional garbanzo with its fresh counterpart. Be it salads, or even the traditional hummus, green chickpeas are slowly coming out of their more popular sibling’s shadow. And we’re not the only ones who are obsessed with this sweet, earthy legume. This is what the Associated Press had to say about it, “Fresh garbanzos – the moist, raw version of a legume usually dried, canned, or turned into hummus – may be the new “new” thing. Available only a few weeks a year, fresh chickpeas are prized among in-the-know foodies and sophisticated chefs for their novelty and their young, slightly vegetal taste.”
So when we bought our first haul of green chickpeas, we decided we would try serving them up in its classic roasted version (pictured above) first. The family couldn’t stop having them. Mind you, it takes some effort to eat these beans. as each pod needs to be indivually opened. and usually contains 2-3 small chickpeas. But it was definitely worth the effort!
Also, with some type of Arabic food being demanded almost every other day by the family, we decided to change things up a little & swapped the regular hummus with a green version. Now, we usually promote easy, lazy cooking, but peeling enough of these fresh chickpeas for a bowl of hummus was not an easy task. Eventually, we had to hold an impromptu full-family peeling contest. Luckily, everyone loved the hummus so much that they soon forgot about the sore fingers. And once those pods are peeled, the hummus itself takes very minimal effort to make (recipe here).
Now, in case you’re wondering where to find these little pods of goodness, we suggest you try one of the ethnic Indian or Pakistani supermarkets here (there are quite a few in Karama & in some areas of Sharjah that we know of). They’re available throughout the winter so we expect them to be in stores for another month. And if you do try it out, we look forward to hearing your experience and how YOU made use of them!