i saw the post below, but i wanted to start a new thread so the op would see this. if you soak or cook your chickpeas in hard water (such as NYC tap water) they will never get soft. the minerals in the water prevent it. soak and cook your chickpeas in bottled water with a low mineral content (such as volvic, or i think i used deer park, and you could probably use any distilled water) and they will soften up. i also don't salt until they are fully cooked.