James Wong's - Homegrown Revolution


Posted on: September 6th, 2012 by James Wong 19 Comments

Love those deliciously nutty pods of edamame beans you get in Japanese restaurants, but frustrated you can’t grow them in the UK? Well I think I have gone one better with super easy-to-grow chickpea ‘edamame’!



Chickpeas might be a common sight in the UK in cans & blitzed into hummus, but the fresh pods of the young green ones have yet to make it to the shelves of even the fanciest supermarkets. So all the more reason to grow your own!

The mini pods, each containing just one or two ‘peas’ are far more sweet and nutty than regular edamame, which is now sold frozen in huge packs for just a couple of quid.



The plants make a excellent ground cover crop of ferny silver leaves and pretty white flowers & the best thing is they are virtually foolproof to grow. Ridiculously drought resistant, free from pests and can even be sown from a supermarket packet of dried (not canned!) chickpeas. So what on earth is stopping you?


Pods are ready to harvest when they are slightly hard to the touch, but still a bright, fresh green. Brown papery pods with contain starchy dried up seeds. You should even be able to judge the size of them by holding them up to the light.


Just one plant will provide a pretty decent starter for two people. With three plants offering up a gluttonous treat. To prepare and cook them simply snip off the pods and cook them just like regular edamame – more on this later.



You can also shell them first, boil for 1 minute or so and toss into salads, cous cous or rice dishes. You can even mash a cup of the cooked peas with an avocado and stir in 1 tbsp olive oil, a clove of chopped garlic & 1/2 tsp of chopped mint to create a mean dip somewhere between guacamole and a fresh green hummus!



For lazy sods like me though the simplest way to to dunk them in a pan of briskly boiling water for just a minute or two and serve them drizzles with sesame oil & a sprinkling of sea salt.



The same mix can be given a Spanish twist by charring the whole pods in a dry pan just until the begin to blacken on the outside. Douse with olive oil, smoked paprika and sea salt and scoff with a cold beer. Finally a beer snack you don’t have to feel guilty about!

For full instructions on how to grow, cook and eat Chickpea ‘Edamame’ check out pg 96 of my new book Homegrown Revolution!


19 Responses

  1. Chrissy says:

    I grew these this summer on my allotment after reading about them somewhere else. Unfortunately rabbits took off the top growth ( so not pest free) and although I netted them, they didn’t catch up in time to grow peas. I’ll try again next year.

  2. Carolyn says:

    I grew chickpeas from a supermarket packet at the allotment and they grew well but this year not many pods have developed peas in them (better last year). I wonder if they flowered during the cold period in late spring and the pollinators weren’t around.

    • James Wong says:

      Why not give the variety ‘Principe’ a try in that case? It’s an Italian variety sold by Franchi Seeds (and the one pictured in this post) that is likely to be better adapted to the British climate that the standard supermarket types.

  3. Victoria says:

    Hi James,

    Completly unrelated question to Chickpeas (sorry!):

    I don’t suppose you’ve tried growing Chinese Dates in any of your trials?
    I was having a can’t-wait-till-I-can-grow-yummy-stuff moment whilst reading through the Agroforestry catalogue and they sounded kind of cool.



  4. […] Chickpea 'edamame' Hi guys, I'm not a winter gardener by any stretch of the imagination and due to health reasons am stuck not able to do much at the moment so am spending my time dreaming about next years crops. I adore edamame but is it possible to grow in this country? I found a link for chickpea 'edamame' which says it is easy to grow. Has anyone grow this? I have so far only grown quite traditional, easy to grow fruit and veg in my garden and really want to branch out into the more unusual next year so any tips/suggestions will be very welcome. How to grow chickpeas – Create delicious chickpea 'edamame' […]

  5. Tracey says:

    These look fantastic. I have just found your blog and I am looking for alternatives to sprouts, etc, but I have the Outer Hebridean climate to contend with. Thanks for the new ideas, and helping me think out of the(veg) box. I will be try some in the garden, not least chickpeas. Tracey

  6. Mary says:

    Hi James, growing up in Malta, my most favourite memory is waiting with a penny in hand for the man that sold the chickpea bunches; then spend many minutes searching for then eating raw the tasty nutty peas. I grew them on my allotment last year but not with any great succes although I did get to eat quite a few before they turned brown. I intend to try again this year but planting them a lot earlier and see what happens.

  7. Mary says:

    PS, forgot to say – I was given your “Homegrown Revolution” for Christmas and have already purchased many packets of your seed range from Suttons. I can’t wait for the spring so that I can experiment with loads of wonderful sounding fruit and veg and move away from the boring English staples.

  8. Susan Garrison says:

    I thought that edamame was soya bean? Grew some a few years ago with not much success. So where can I get the edamame bean that you recommend and is it a chickpea?

    • James Wong says:

      Edamame do come from soy beans, but as they can’t be grown in the UK (at least by me) I would opt for fresh green chickpeas as a far easier to grow (and tastier!) substitute.

  9. Anna says:

    Hi, so how do you go about growing from the dried seeds? Plant indoors to germinate and then harden off as usual? Or something more elaborate?? Can’t wait to try these! thanks!

    • James Wong says:

      Either way! Starting ’em indoors will give ’em a head start (and provide you with earlier crops) but you can grow them just like main crop peas too, sowing them direct from mid April to mid June.

  10. John says:

    I would love to try growing some of the items from “homegrown Revolution” but I am having great difficulty sourcing plants and seeds, even from those Suppliers that James lists in the book.
    Are supermarket packets the only sources of ‘Cicer arietinum”?
    What about ‘Tetragonia tetragonioides’? I’ve so far drawn a complete blank!

  11. lakesclaire says:

    Years ago I spent 1 month cycling in Turkey. Up in the mountains I was met by a village girl who came running up to me with a bunch of fresh chickpeas like these – they were wonderful and I have considered growing them ever since – never done so, but might give it a try now; have Polytunnel as well as garden in the Lake District.

  12. Jim says:

    Edamame is amazing and it is relatively easy to grow. I grow edamame every year in my vegetable garden. Alongside with beans and tomatoes.

  13. Richard Lord says:

    I can’t find a supplier of chickpea seeds. Franchi, Suttons, T&M do not seem to list them. Help please!

  14. These are wonderful! I think the chickpea is a wonder fruit/veggie with the soybean coming in second!

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