What’s Up With These Black Chickpeas?

May 9, 2012 | By | COMMENTS

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At Cookbook, the delightful store in Echo Park where I bought my first bag of Rancho Gordo beans, I came upon a bag of black chickpeas. “What’s up with these black chickpeas?” I asked the nice people there.

“They’re just like regular chickpeas,” said Robert, one of those nice people. “Except…well…they’re black.” With a sales pitch like that, how could I not buy a bag? So I bought one and brought it home.

On Saturday, before whipping up 60 Second Aioli, I dropped the whole bag into a pot of cold water with half an onion, a chile de arbol and a garlic clove (just because I had those things around).

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Up went the heat, the water came to a boil, I lowered to the lowest simmer, covered and let the chickpeas cook for almost 2 hours. Here they are on Instagram mid-cooking:

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At the end, when the chickpeas were tender (you have to taste them to know) I added what was probably a big fistful of salt to the pot, took the chickpeas off the heat and allowed the salt to work their way inside. Then I drained the chickpeas in the sink:

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They look kind of cool, right?

As far as taste, they were a bit nuttier than typical chickpeas but not notably so. They were basically really good chickpeas.

I mixed some of them up with the aioli, a chopped red onion, chopped parsley, and lemon juice:

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And served it up on toast with a lemon wedge:

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A scrumptious snack!

But the fun didn’t end there. Then I put the remaining chickpeas in a food processor with some tahini, two cloves of garlic, lemon juice, a glug of olive oil and a pinch of salt:

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I whirred that up and behold: black chickpea hummus.

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I’ve long heard that making hummus with freshly cooked chickpeas is way better than making it with canned; and this hummus, though highly unusual, proved that point. It had a consistency and flavor far more pleasurable than typical canned chickpea (or store-bought) hummus. I served it up on toast (my new obsession: see my next post) drizzled with good olive oil with some smoked salmon on top:

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Another delightful afternoon snack from a mysterious bag of black chickpeas. So the next time you’re working at a store that sells black chickpeas and someone asks you, “What’s up with these black chickpeas?”; pause for a moment, give them a meaningful look and say: “A lot, my friend. A whole lot.”

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Categories: Recipes, Vegetarian

  • http://www.maketempeh.org/ Tempster

    Found those and they were called Black Chana – made a delicious tempeh with them; they are firm and have a more earthy flavor and the looks are super.
    See: http://www.makethebesttempeh.org/experiments/

  • Sara

    Where can I buy black chickpeas?