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.
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.
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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.