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Garbanzo dip

May 5, 2013


In my experience, garbanzos (chickpeas) as an ingredient used in Mexican cooking has never been mentioned.  It’s never been brought up among my co-workers  from Mexico.  I’ve only very recently come across  a few authentic recipes in books.   Zarela Martinez’s “The Food and Life of Oaxaca”  includes  3 soups using chickpeas.  There is a “Beef Soup with Vegetables”(“Molito de Res), “Cabbage Soup” (“Cocina de Coles”), and a “Toasted Chickpea Soup” (“Molito de Garbanzo”)”  In the latter soup,  chickpeas are baked and ground to add flavor and thickening.  She also includes  recipes for sweet or savory chickpea fritters (“Bocadillos de Garbanzo”).  It immediately reminded me of falafels.  In Marilyn Tausand’s book “La Cocina Mexicana”,  there is a recipe for “Cream of Garbanzo Soup”(“Crema de Garbanzo”) and “Gorditas de Garbanzo Dulce”( “Sweet Garbanzo Gorditas”) also a fritter.  Diana Kennedy  in “From My Mexican Kitchen” mentions that  chickpeas when very young are sold as a street snack, still in their husk and accompanied with a very picante sauce.  She also includes a couple of molitos in her most recent book,  “Oaxaca al Gusto-An Infinite Gastronomy”. Chickpeas seem to be more prevalent in Oaxaca. I wonder how that came to be.  I’ve always thought chickpeas stood by well with Mexican flavors.  Hummus often includes cumin, chile pepper, and garlic in the ingredients. My recipe goes all out with typical “Tex-Mex” flavors. I use canned garbanzos for its convenience  and to encourage readers to try this easy recipe.  For an update, I’ll have to include a version where the raw garbanzos are soaked overnight and then boiled to soften. I think the garbanzo flavor would come out more when using the fresh product.

A few notes:  Store bought chile powder can be substituted for the home-ground guajiillo pepper but the amount may differ according to your own taste.  Freshly toasted and ground whole cumin is also an option.

The 1 pound 13 ounce can was the standard weight for all three brands I found, “Goya”, “Mid-East”, and “Eden”.  There is also a smaller size available.


For about 2 1/2 cups of dip-

One can garbanzos (chickpeas),  1 pound  13 ounce size

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons ground dried guajillo pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 large garlic clove chopped fine

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Salt to taste (about a generous 1/4 teaspoon)

1/2 teaspoon Serrano pepper minced (optional)

Water to thin out dip , several tablespoons

1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro


If you using guajillo peppers and not substituting with chile powder:  Heat a heavy skillet to medium. Slit open 2 large dried guajillo peppers and remove the seeds. With tongs or a metal spatula, press one against the hot skillet. Toast for a few seconds, being careful not to burn. Turn over to toast the other side. Repeat with the second pepper.  Finely grind them in a spice grinder. Measure out for the recipe. Use the rest to garnish or use in another preparation.

Drain the can of garbanzo beans of the liquid.  You may save the liquid and use some to thin out the dip. I prefer to use water.  Put the garbanzos in a food processer along with the rest of the ingredients except the salt and begin to puree.  Add water as needed to reach a smooth consistency. You want it soft enough to allow to dip with tortilla chips, but not too soft or mushy. Test as you go. Add the salt to taste. Remove the dip to a serving bowl and mix in the cilantro.  Serve with tortilla chips or crudité.


This is an easy and flavorful alternative to bean dip or hummus.  Yes, go ahead and call it a Tex-Mex variation of hummus.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Marcella Rousseau permalink
    July 20, 2014 6:42 pm

    I remember my mom using chick peas in soups. I like them roasted with various spices and olive oil as a snack. I’ve bought prepared hummus and enjoyed it, but I am planning to make my own. I bought tahini just for that purpose since the recipes I’ve seen call for tahini. I found frozen chick peas, bought them, but haven’t cooked them yet. I’m curious to see if there is any difference in taste or texture. Your recipe sounds good using lime instead of the usual lemon juice! I will have to try it!

    • July 26, 2014 2:30 pm

      We never ate them growing up, but I’m always looking for different ways to try them. India’s cuisine seems to use them in many ways. I really enjoy them a lot in soups especially when mixed in with beans or peas. Right now though I’m craving falafel. Never have seen the frozen variety of chickpeas, I wonder how they fare.

      • Marcella Rousseau permalink
        July 26, 2014 6:33 pm

        I used them in a hummus recipe. There was no difference from the canned variety. When I buy the packaged kind and have to soak them, they are always still a little hard or not soft enough for me. Either they are old or I need to soak or cook them longer than the directions say. Frankly, I like them best in Progresso’s canned vegetable soup!

  2. July 28, 2014 12:46 am

    I made a batch of hummus today to use as a sandwich spread. If I find frozen chickpeas and they are cheaper, I’ll try them out.
    Once I tried cooking black beans that I didn’t know were old. I finally gave up and realized they were past their prime. I had never encountered that problem before so it was a bit of a surprise.

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