Monday, July 6, 2009

Pressure Cooked Chickpeas for Hummus

Are you afraid of pressure cooking? When I was growing up I remember the antiquated monstrosity on the stove with metal weight giggling on top. My mother was always telling me to get out of the kitchen when the pressure cooker was rattling and hissing in our kitchen. No wonder I avoided pressure cooking for most of my adult life.

If you have seen an episode of “Christina Cooks” you may have noticed that she always seems to use a pressure cooker to make her brown rice. Her pressure cooker didn’t seem threatening like the one I remembered from my childhood. One day I was in Costco and there was sleek looking Fagor pressure cooker that jumped into my basket. Since the cooker seemed so determined to come home with me, what choice did I have but to bring it home? I immediately made dried chickpeas in the pot and was amazed that they cooked in 10 minutes. Yes, I did say 10 minutes. If you have cooked dried beans you know this is almost a minor miracle.

This weekend I was reading “Life Over Cancer” by Keith Block MD and he mentioned pressure cooking. According to the doctor there are a few reasons to use your pressure cooker. First, pressure cooked beans are easier to digest. Second, pressure cookers soften grains better than boiling or steaming, and retain more nutrients. Well those two issues were enough to get me to pull my pressure cooker out of the cabinet. Expect to see more pressure cooker recipes from me in the future as I explore more ways to use my cooker.

Here is my recipe for pressure cooked chickpeas if you are making hummus.

Pressure Cooked Chickpeas for Hummus
Makes 6 cups of cooked beans – serving is 1 cup


2 cups of dried chickpeas, picked through and rinsed
8 cups of cold water - for quick soak
10 cups of cold water - for pressure cooking
5 tablespoons of canola oil


Place rinsed and picked through chickpeas in a pot and cover with 8 cups of water. Bring water to a boil and place a lid on the pot. Turn off the heat and allow dried beans to stand in the water for an hour.

Drain the quick soaked beans in a wire mesh colander and place in your pressure cooker. Cover the soaked beans (which have swollen to 4 cups) with 10 cups of cold water. Add 5 tablespoons of canola oil to keep the beans from foaming and clogging the pressure release valve. Secure the lid on the cooker and bring it to pressure on high (250 degree setting). When the pot begins to release steam, lower the heat and cook the beans for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes remove the pan from the burner and allow the pressure to decrease naturally (this should take 10 – 15 minutes). After the pressure has naturally released taste the beans for tenderness. If they need more time cook with the lid off until they reach your desire level of tenderness.

The exact cooking time on the beans will vary depending on the age of the dried bean. If the beans you purchased are very fresh 10 minutes should be more than enough time to achieve a soft bean for making hummus.

The fat that is included in the method above does not appear to absorb into the beans. I tried to measure the fat that was floating on the surface before I poured the water off the beans. When I had skimmed 4 tablespoons of fat and there was still some on the surface I stopped.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 268.96
Calories From Fat (13%)- 35.55

Total Fat - 4.25g
Saturated Fat - 0.44g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 11.48mg
Potassium - 477.24mg
Total Carbohydrates - 44.97g
Fiber - 12.46g
Sugar - 7.87g
Protein - 14.53g


This is a quick and easy way to cook dried beans. Pressure cookers are fantastic for all dried beans. You need to follow the directions on your particular cooker, but the beans cook so quickly that you can make them fresh everyday. Macrobiotic cooking tells us to cook meals fresh everyday to get the most nutrition from our food. I don’t know if this is true or not, but intuitively there seems to be logic to the theory since the nutrition declines over time with raw food why wouldn’t the same thing happen with cooked food?

If you have been thinking about getting a pressure cooking but wasn’t certain what to use it for I would suggest cooking dried beans, brown rice and wheat berries in it. I have wheat berries soaking now, so expect a recipe on how to pressure cook those later today.

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