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Chickpeas: Dried vs Canned

Posted Jul 01 2009 6:38pm

Cooked (dried) chickpeas

I love the versatility of chickpeas (garbanzo beans). So versatile that they're always available at the supermarket. You can use them in any dish in almost every cuisine. Dried chickpeas are hard to find here unless you visit a health food store. But once I got a hand of them, I prefer soaking and cooking chickpeas than buying a can from the supermarket except if I don’t have any other options. With canned chickpeas, all you have to do is grab your indispensable can opener and open the can and voila, chickpeas are ready to use. But cooking dried chickpeas allows the flavor to burst that doesn’t come from canned chickpeas which has been sitting in salted liquid for ages.

Dried chickpeas

I know not everyone has the time to soak chickpeas. Actually, you do have the time to do other things while the chickpeas are soaking in water. Because all you need to do is to add enough water to soak the chickpeas and leave it. I leave it overnight, about 8-10 hours. One cup of dried chickpeas allowed to soak in water will fill up a 4-cup measuring liquid container. Drain and rinse the chickpeas after soaking. Place them onto a large pot and filled with room temperature water halfway plus about a third more liquid. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to simmer. Skim off the foam floating to the top. Cover the pot partially and cook until the chickpeas are tender. Then season with salt when they are almost tender. Cooking time would vary. Some cookbooks would suggest cooking them for 3-4 hours, while others would require 2 hours. I cooked mine within an hour. I also save the cooking liquid in making soups.

Soaked (dried) chickpeas

If you’re planning to use chickpeas to make hummus or a puree of chickpea soup or even used in salads, I would suggest to cook your own as you want the clean and fresh taste of the chickpea. Canned chickpeas may be best used in hearty soups or stews where there are other ingredients present.

Canned Chickpeas

The cooked dried chickpeas have indeed a pure and wholesome taste. They have a hint of sweetness if you chew them well. They are bigger in size and darker in color. The canned chickpeas have been tainted with other compounds coming from the tin itself and the way it was cooked so the taste is somewhat ruined. They are smaller in size and lighter in color. When it comes to texture, cooked dried chickpeas are softer while the canned chickpeas are harder. But then again, chickpeas vary in size and color. But we're also talking about between dried and canned.

Both dried and canned are welcome in the kitchen. Sometimes you can't control your circumstances and you are only left with canned chickpeas. But as of now, I would take advantage of the availability of dried chickpeas and cooking them my own and hopefully, they are available all the time.

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