Chickpeas are a small legume popular in Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Indian cookery. They are usually sold pre-cooked in cans, or dried; the latter must be soaked before cooking. Chickpea, besan or ‘gram’ flour, made from dried ground chickpeas, is widely used in Indian and Bangladeshi cuisine.
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If buying dried chickpeas, look for firm examples with a uniform beige colour. Choose canned chickpeas stored in water, rather than brine.
Dried chickpeas can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to one year without deterioration. Cooked chickpeas can be frozen.