Mexico Connect
Forums  > Specific Focus > Mexican Kitchen


Carol Schmidt


Feb 19, 2005, 10:07 AM

Post #1 of 16 (3715 views)

Shortcut

What are those little green almond-like things sold on the street?

Can't Post | Private Reply
They are a bright green color, like a lime green, and they are the size and shape of almonds. They look like of moist, as if they'd been freshly taken from inside a fruit or something, and I've never dared buy any to try, but they look delicious. Are they safe for a tender-tummied gringa to eat on the street? What do they taste like? Can they be microdyned without losing their flavor?

Carol Schmidt



jennifer rose

Feb 19, 2005, 10:15 AM

Post #2 of 16 (3710 views)

Shortcut

Re: [Carol Schmidt] What are those little green almond-like things sold on the street?

Can't Post |
Are you talking about garbanzos, boiled fresh garbanzo beans still in the pod? Sometimes with char-marks from the grill?

If so, they're safe. Simply peel away the pod, or insert the entire pod in your mouth, using your tongue to extract the bean, savoring the juices, and daintily remove the pod from your mouth. Even though they're messy to eat, fresh garbanzos are a culinary delight. Microdyning them would be akin to microdyning potato chips before consumption. The flavor and consumption process is not unlike edamame.


(This post was edited by jennifer rose on Feb 19, 2005, 10:17 AM)


esperanza

Feb 19, 2005, 11:07 AM

Post #3 of 16 (3704 views)

Shortcut

Re: [jennifer rose] What are those little green almond-like things sold on the street?

Can't Post | Private Reply
They're so good. In Spanish, they're called guasanas. gwah-SAH-nahs. The 'g' is almost-but-not-quite silent.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









Bubba

Feb 19, 2005, 3:32 PM

Post #4 of 16 (3694 views)

Shortcut

Re: [esperanza] What are those little green almond-like things sold on the street?

Can't Post | Private Reply
I believe Esperanza to be right that they are called guasanas. Garbanzos are round. We do not agree that guasanas are tasty but I love garbanzos. Get that name guasana right when ordering these things as the word gusano means "worm".

I am intrigued by the notion of fresh garbanzo beans, known as chickpeas in English. Garbanzos in dried or canned form are a most important ingredient in Arabic cooking. I have some tagine and couscous recipes that absolutely require garbanzo beans in the mix. I love Arabic and Persian cooking but retiring there just for the food did not seem a reasonable alternative.

I believe I have seen these garbanzos charbroiled in the pod around Jalisco on a seasonal basis. I must try them the next time I run across them.


(This post was edited by Bubba on Feb 19, 2005, 3:40 PM)


esperanza

Feb 19, 2005, 4:43 PM

Post #5 of 16 (3690 views)

Shortcut

Re: [Bubba] What are those little green almond-like things sold on the street?

Can't Post | Private Reply
Wait, Bubba--the guasana IS the green garbanzo bean! I was just telling Carol what the name is in Spanish. The pod is oval and usually contains two of the wee round guasanas. You do see them in the braseros around Ajijic--they're steamed in salt water till done and sold in small plastic bags. Ask the ladies--they'll let you try one or two before you buy.

This time of year, you also see trucks full of them still on the bushes. They're sold by the kilo (including the bush). I've also seen them at the various weekly tianguis, sold by the kilo but not with the bush.

They're grown all over this part of the country. Because they're a legume, they put nutrients not only into you and me, but also put nitrogen back into the soil.

Hurray for the lowly guasana, and her cousin the gusano.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









(This post was edited by esperanza on Feb 19, 2005, 4:47 PM)


jennifer rose

Feb 19, 2005, 4:52 PM

Post #6 of 16 (3687 views)

Shortcut

Re: [Bubba] What are those little green almond-like things sold on the street?

Can't Post |
The taste is greener, fresher and not as starchy as the canned or cooked, dried form. While the bean inside is round, the pod is sort of almond-shaped.

You have them only seasonally? In Morelia, they're available practically year-round, usually sold out of a bucket on the corner at a tianguis.


esperanza

Feb 19, 2005, 5:01 PM

Post #7 of 16 (3686 views)

Shortcut

Re: [jennifer rose] What are those little green almond-like things sold on the street?

Can't Post | Private Reply
Yep, seasonal in this part of the world. The season is from early November till sometime around March. The season seems to get longer and longer, though, so maybe we are heading for year-round availability.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









Bubba

Feb 19, 2005, 7:57 PM

Post #8 of 16 (3670 views)

Shortcut

Re: [esperanza] What are those little green almond-like things sold on the street?

Can't Post | Private Reply
I should known better than to take on Jennifer and Esperanza. Bubba has to try these green garbanzos again when he observes them in the street markets. Of course, garbanzos are not particularly flavorful in the Arab cuisine I briefly described. I would say they add texture more that flavor but that texture is quite important in the final product but only with the refinement of additional ingredients more assertively flavorful. For example, garbanzos are an essential ingredient in a decent hummus but the garbazos provide the texture while garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and sesame paste provide the flavor.

Frankly, I am at a loss to remember how garbanzos in any state of preparation are used to enhance Mexican cuisine as they are in Middle Eastern cuisine. Enlighten me folks.


esperanza

Feb 19, 2005, 8:29 PM

Post #9 of 16 (3664 views)

Shortcut

Re: [Bubba] What are those little green almond-like things sold on the street?

Can't Post | Private Reply
Let's see, Sr. Bubba: how about Puchero de tres carnes, a big soup made with beef, chicken, and pork meats as well as a variety of vegetables, plátanos machos, various seasonings including saffron, and (drumroll) a cup or so of dried, soaked garbanzos. How about tlayacos, a street food antojito like a long thin sope that can be filled with garbanzos before they're cooked--they're sometimes known as dobladitos de garbanzo. Then there's a soup called Caldo de Indianillo, made with chicken, rice, carrots, parsley, and garbanzos. And Caldo Tlalpeño, which is often served with some cooked garbanzos in the bowl.

The Arabic influence on Mexican food came over with the 16th Century Spaniards, who brought, among hundreds of other things, the garbanzo. What the Spanish brought also included rice, citrus fruits, sesame seeds, saffron, almonds, pistachios, cherries, apricots, and melons, as well as a variety of lettuces, cabbage, radishes, parsley, turnips, carrots, eggplant, fava beans, lentils, onions, Swiss chard, spinach--the list goes on forever. Mangos, cinnamon, ginger, coffee, and even sugar cane came from Spain via the Moors.

Later, Mexican cuisine was influenced again by the late-19th Century immigration of Lebanese from the Middle East to Mexico. When original ingredients weren't available, substitutions were made: pork for lamb, for example.

Yoghurt! Black olives!

Oops--I appear to have strayed from the guasana. Next time you and the Bubbette come to visit, we should try one of the numerous Lebanese restaurants in Guadalajara. There are several mere blocks from my house.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









Bubba

Feb 20, 2005, 11:20 AM

Post #10 of 16 (3651 views)

Shortcut

Re: [esperanza] What are those little green almond-like things sold on the street?

Can't Post | Private Reply
Esperanza:

As we are quite fond of Lebanese food, you have a date. I now know why Spanish food is so bad. They brought all the good stuff over with them.

Incidentally, for those of you planning trips to Merida, there is a very large Lebanese colony there and, thus, a large number of Lebanese restaurants. The food in Merida, whether of Lebanese or local origin, is quite good. That's a fun town if a bit on the hot and humid side.


Carol Schmidt


Feb 20, 2005, 3:00 PM

Post #11 of 16 (3638 views)

Shortcut

Re: [Bubba] What are those little green almond-like things sold on the street?

Can't Post | Private Reply
San Miguel has two Lebanese restaurants, too. One is an older hole in the wall, El Harem, at Murillo 7, corner of Correo. We've been there a few times and the climb up a very narrow stairwell to the dining room is tricky. Hummus, taboule, dolmas, all sorts of good stuff at cheap prices.

Recently a fancier place opened up, El Bacha de San Miguel, which says it's the only Lebanese restaurant in the city but it's not. It's at Piedras Chinas 21 on the corner of the Salida a Queretaro, next to the Mirador, and it offers an 18-dish buffet Wed-Sunday that comes highly recommended. It's going to be a splurge restaurant for some event, but that hasn't happened yet. Harry's is just so much closer and we know the menu and have so many favorites on it.

I do love garbanzos in hummus and soups and Italian dishes but had no idea those green pods held garbanzos. They must not be very big ones since the pods are much smaller than I imagine could hold a couple of regular-sized garbanzos. I've made my own hummus a few times since moving here, and Costco sells it as well.

I'll have to break down and buy a small bagful soon. Thanks for all the info, everybody.

Carol Schmidt


Caarina12

Feb 22, 2005, 12:36 PM

Post #12 of 16 (3598 views)

Shortcut

Re: [Carol Schmidt] What are those little green almond-like things sold on the street?

Can't Post | Private Reply
I have seen these fresh garbanzos on the street in Guanajuato during the Cervantino, so they must be available in Mid-October as well. YUM!

Caarina


Bubba

Feb 23, 2005, 4:50 PM

Post #13 of 16 (3556 views)

Shortcut

Re: [Caarina12] What are those little green almond-like things sold on the street?

Can't Post | Private Reply
Sorry to contradict everyone but we grow and use garbanzo beans in the south of France extensively. The plant does not grow higher than 3 feet, it is not a tree. The latin name is Cicer Arietinum L. I It would be interesting to find out what the latin name for the Guasana is. The peas are not shaped like almonds. In Corsica the local make flour from it and in the Basque country we use the beans in soups and stews. Now that our population has more than 10 % North Africans we also use the peas in humus, couscous etc...
Brigitte


esperanza

Feb 24, 2005, 4:24 PM

Post #14 of 16 (3525 views)

Shortcut

Re: [Bubba] What are those little green almond-like things sold on the street?

Can't Post | Private Reply
Brigitte, the guasana does not grow on trees, it grows on a low, small-leafed, bush-like plant. It's your pal Cicer Arietinum. The 'peas' are not oval, but the husk is--sorta. Each small ovoid pod usually contains two immature garbanzos. Here's a photo. You can just about tell which are the small leaves and which are the pods.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









(This post was edited by esperanza on Feb 24, 2005, 4:25 PM)
Attachments: guasana.jpg (58.9 KB)


Caarina12

Feb 25, 2005, 2:47 PM

Post #15 of 16 (3495 views)

Shortcut

Re: [esperanza] What are those little green almond-like things sold on the street?

Can't Post | Private Reply
I guess my post was unclear. I meant that I saw street vendors selling them in Guanajuato around the time of the Cervantino.

Sorry if I confused anyone...

Caarina


Bubba

Mar 18, 2005, 12:28 PM

Post #16 of 16 (3432 views)

Shortcut

Re: [esperanza] What are those little green almond-like things sold on the street?

Can't Post | Private Reply
Thank you Esperanza for the picture. It is worth a thousand words. You are correct and I am wrong the guasana is the green garbanzo. I am glad this came up as I learned the wrong word for the Guaje. In my mind you were speaking of the guaje and the whole thing did not make any sense.
 
 
Search for (advanced search) Powered by Gossamer Forum v.1.2.4