The smell that filled the house was unbelievably wonderful. When they were done, I stood at the slow cooker eating the warm chickpeas by the spoonful. This is what chickpeas should taste like, I realized, not the bland ones from a can. I've been cooking them ever since. Many people on Twitter have asked me about it, so here's a basic recipe for how to cook chickpeas.
Why you should cook your own chickpeas:
- Taste is simply fabulous, infinitely better than canned.
- You can cook them to the texture you want. The canned ones are too firm for me. I cook mine to be very soft.
- You'll save money. Chickpeas are very inexpensive at Indian food marts. It costs about $4 for a huge bag that can last for months, even if you make them every weekend.
- It's easy! It takes less than five minutes to dump everything into the slow cooker, and in three hours on high, they're done. (Note that I've been unsuccessful at cooking beans in a pot on the stove. You have to keep the water to a very gentle simmer, which I find hard to do. Mine would boil and then just break apart. But if you're willing to watch the pot, chickpeas can be cooked in about a half hour.)
- The chickpea cooking water is really good. I save it to use in hummus, soups and sometimes in recipes that call for vegetable broth.
How to cook chickpeas:
- Rinse 1 cup of chickpeas well. They can be dirty. I don't soak mine before I cook them, but you can.
- Put 1 cup of chickpeas in the slow cooker stoneware and add 3 cups of cold water. You can also add whatever seasonings you want. I always add 1 chopped onion and 1 minced garlic garlic clove.
- Cook on high for about 3 hours (start checking at 2 hours) or on low for longer. When they're soft enough for you, they're done.
- I drain the cooking water into another pot and either refrigerate or freeze it to use in place of vegetable broth.
Happy chickpea cooking!