As a hummus spread, in falafel balls, in salads or as a snack, Israelis love their chickpeas - the queen of pulses.
Hummus is one of the most popular foods in Israel. If you have the opportunity, take a look at the lines queuing for Abu Hassan in Jaffa, or look at the "The Hummus Blog" www.humus101.com/EN/
In addition to being so delicious and satisfying, chickpeas are also wonderfully nutritious.
There are two varieties of chickpeas – pale and dark. The peas are arranged in threesomes and hide in legumes on the plant. In Israel there are sixty thousand square kilometres of the pale variety of chickpeas.
Guidelines for buying:
Chickpeas must be dry, smooth, bright and as fresh as possible. Store them in a sealed jar in a dry, dark place.
Soaking and cooking:
Yes, it does take a long time but it’s worth it! The hard and stubborn chickpeas must be soaked in water overnight and even for two days. Change the water every few hours. Cook them in boiling water until they have completely softened. Add salt just at the end. If you want to quicken things up, you can add bicarbonate of soda or cook the chickpeas in a pressure pot. It is highly recommended to cook a large amount, use part and freeze the rest for future use.
Chickpeas contain protein, fibres, essential amino acids, folic acid, B group vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc and potassium. They assist in lowering cholesterol and preventing high blood pressure, and are filling and comparatively low in calories.
Beside hummus, chickpeas can be used in stews, soups and salads and, believe it or not, they can also be used in cakes.
Visit Sugat's website for some great chickpea recipes:
Pasta in tomato sauce and chickpeas
Spicy chickpea stew
Winter chickpea soup
Home made falafel balls
Chickpea orange scented cake