These are dried chickpeas of the Kabuli variety. As with most pulses before they can be used they first need to be soaked overnight, uncovered, in a large quantity of cold water. The next day the water is discarded and the chickpeas boiled until tender - the length of time needed does depend on the age of the bean.
When it came to thinking of a dish to make with these chickpeas I really couldn't go past Hummus. The recipe is based on one by George Calombaris from his book The Press Club - the major change from the original is that I've replaced pinenuts for almonds.
I'm well aware that nuts of any type aren't in "traditional hummus" but I do think it's good to try something different - you never know you might just like it!
40 grams blanched almonds, roughly chopped
¼ cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, sliced finely
250 grams cooked chickpeas
1 cup water (you can use chicken stock)
Tahini, to taste
Lemon juice, to taste
salt, to taste
Over a low heat, pour the olive oil into a saucepan and add the almonds. Cook slowly until golden.
Add the sliced garlic, stir well and cook until the garlic has softened but not coloured.
Add the chickpeas, stir them through and then pour in the water. Increase the heat and allow the mixture to simmer until the liquid has reduced by half.
Drain, reserving the liquid and place the chickpea mixture into a food processor. Process, adding enough of the reserved liquid to create a smooth paste.
Using the pulse button, add the tahini, lemon juice and salt to taste.
Spoon out the hummus into a serving bowl and if you are not serving it straight away, make sure you cover the dish with plastic wrap to help prevent oxidation.
I've eaten the pinenut hummus at the restaurant so I know it is delicious and this almond version works just as well - it lifts the flavour and gives you another element to enjoy.