Sunday, January 30, 2011

Roasted Fresh Garbanzo Beans

Every now and then, my wonderful supermarket in Chicago features a new item that I had never even pondered before. Recently, it was fresh garbanzo beans.

What? Huh? You mean they exist in a form other than dehydrated and buff-colored?

Apparently, yes. You can harvest them from the bean stalk and eat them in a form that doesn't require 90 minutes of boiling after an overnight soak.

But, what to do with them? Thirty minutes of online sleuthing showed me that most gringos haven't the faintest idea of what to do with them. Here is what I learned:

  • Fresh garbanzo beans are seasonal and often found in ethnic grocery stores in major metropolitan areas; they may appear for just 1-2 weeks.
  • Fresh garbanzo beans can be cooked and whirred up for a spread, or, left in the pod and eaten like edamame.
  • Fresh garbanzo beans are to be roasted, toasted, or fried, but never boiled. I could not find out why, and didn't have any left to try to ruin on purpose. Do they get gross and stringy like okra? I don't know. I wound up with a version that I found so tasty, that I wound up eating the entire passle I brought home from the grocery. 

I hope you have a chance to try these! Not only were they a tasty appetizer (truth be told, I had them for my entire dinner). But, they were eminently beautiful to photograph!

Toasted Fresh Garbanzo Beans

Fresh garbanzo beans, rinsed, left in their pods
Olive oil
Garam masala
Coriander seed (whole)
Cumin seed (whole)
Sesame seed (I used black)

Heat olive oil in a skillet until hot. Add fresh garbanzo beans, in their pods. Cook for about 30 seconds. Sprinkle garam masala and salt over top.

Cook for about 3 minutes. Add the coriander, cumin and sesame seeds and cook another 3 minutes. Pour into a bowl and eat like edamame -- picking up each pod and squirting the bean into your mouth. Be sure to lick your fingers and the pod to get the full effect of the flavoring!

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