Buttery Soft Chickpeas
With so many variations of cooking the humble dried chickpea, I'd like to share how I make them. Generally, my method of the day depends on how much time I have available. Either way, I prefer buttery soft chickpeas that keep their shape but melt in my mouth. It's important to use fresh dried chickpeas, not old stale ones. Yes, dried chickpeas can go stale and will never produce an appetizing texture.
Instant Pot Unsoaked Chickpeas (Use this method if you need cooked chickpeas fast).
Rinse the chickpeas with cold water, discarding any stones or debris. Drain well. Place the beans in the Instant Pot insert and cover with about 4 cups cold water. Secure the lid to seal. Set the Instant Pot to high pressure (manual method) for 25 minutes. Then, after 20 minutes of natural release of steam, turn the venting knob to venting position until all steam pressure is released. Open the lid carefully once the floating valve drops. Add salt to taste and let sit for about 5 minutes. Drain the chickpeas and discard liquid.
Stove Top Soaked Overnight Chickpeas (Use this method if you have time to let them soak overnight and then cook for upto 2 hours).
Add the chickpeas to a large bowl and cover with 10cm of cold water. Soak the chickpeas overnight, adding more water if needed. Before cooking, rinse them and drain well. Add them to a large pot, covering them with 10cm of cold water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer with lid on until they are tender soft, about 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours. Once done, add salt to taste and stir gently. Let sit for about 10 minutes. Drain.
There are many more variations to cooking dried chickpeas. Do you soak overnight or not? Do you use high pressure (like with the Instant Pot), slow cooker, or stovetop? If you are using a stove, do you use a lid to cover or cook uncovered? Do you add aromatics like garlic, onion, bay leaf during the cooking or not? Do you add salt to the soaking water or simmering water or none at all? Do you use salt or baking soda while cooking?
I don't ever remember my mom losing sleep about which method was best. Her beans were always buttery soft and so flavourful! She always soaked them overnight and they cooked for hours on the stove, covered. She added salt once they were fully cooked. Done.