They're legumes that are high in protein.
To cook, toss a handful or two in a pot of water and bring to boil. Add a pinch of salt to the water before boiling, much like how you cook pasta. Boil for half an hour to 45 minutes, until the peas are soft and crumbly. Drain and leave to cool. Serve. They taste slightly salty (from the water) and sweet.
We used to eat them piping hot from the chickpea uncle's steamer basket. We would race to see who could get the most chickpeas in the mouth and then munch on the whole lot at once. This is NOT an advisable eating method. We were seven and didn't know any better...
Here I wrapped them up in little brown paper cones and handed them out to the kids. It's such an easy and nutritious snack. You can make these as an appetiser for a kiddies' party, or an afternoon snack.