I was out in Irving last night, sleuthing for ethnic eats, when I saw a grocery chain I recognized. If you haven't explored some of the big ethnic groceries around town, you're missing out. They have consistently competitive prices, a zillion condiments that are otherwise hard to find, and the most interesting produce selection around -- dragon fruit, lychees, fresh tamarind, bananas a million ways, and other exotics, so many that you can get lost in the fruits and veggies before you even get to the pantry items.
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Last night I found these little guys and gently peeled away the thin papery shell of one to reveal an irregular-shaped gem inside.
The legumes have a firm texture and a mild, nut-like flavor. You've seen them in Mediterranean cooking a ton. India uses them in curries and Italy and Spain have used the ingredient in stews. You've certainly seen them a million times, sold dried by the bag or in cans, but happening on them fresh is not that common.
If you find them, and have the patience to shell a couple hundred, you can steam them and serve them simply with salt, just like edamame. They'd also work great in a simple stir fry of onions and curry leaves, or you can use them almost anyway you'd employ fresh peas.
Anyone know what they are? Winning guesser gets his or her choice of some random gift card or non-perishable food item that got sent to City of Ate HQ by some industrious PR type.