This past summer, my band the Grasshoppers played an awesome gig at an underground, Orthodox Jewish supper club in Brooklyn called The Hester. The audience that night was dining on all kinds of amazing, kosher food and booze, but these roasted chickpea snacks that graced every table in the place were a total band fave. If you’re ever in the NYC area, I highly recommend hitting up thehester.com for info on when they’ll be serving up eats and beats next. But thanks to this recipe from The Hester’s chef and mastermind Itta Werdiger Roth, you can whip up a taste from her 21st-century speakeasy any time.
Spicy Crunchy Chickpeas
Take 2 cups of dried chickpeas and soak in 4 cups of water for at least 8 hours. Rinse well and drain. Put chickpeas in a pot, cover well with water, and add a good pinch of salt and 1 bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and let simmer until soft, about 25 minutes. (If you want to skip this step, you can also use 28 ounces of canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed.)
While the chickpeas are simmering, preheat oven to 420 degrees and line one large baking tray with parchment paper.
Once the chickpeas are soft, put them in a mixing bowl and add the following in any order:
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 fresh or dried curry leaves (optional)
1/4 –1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tsp smokey paprika
1/2 tsp dried turmeric or a few gratings of fresh
1/4 cup oil (I use grapeseed and olive. Olive for the flavor and grapeseed because it has a really high smoking point. You can also use butter. Mmm…)
2 cloves of freshly smashed up garlic
3 grinds of fresh black pepper
1/4 (or even less) minced red onion (optional)
A few sprigs of parsley or cilantro, chopped (optional)
Lay the chickpeas out evenly in one layer on the tray. If you pile them up, they will steam rather than crisp. Bake for 15 minutes, stirring once. You can take them out earlier if you want them chewier or later if you want them drier.
Tip 1: Definitely use the onion and fresh herbs if you’re going to serve the chickpeas with couscous, rice, or bread. If you want to eat them as finger food, don’t bother with the onion. You can also add dried cumin seeds, coriander seeds, freshly grated ginger, or chili peppers. Too much powder will make them dry, but seeds and fresh stuff give the chickpeas flavor without caking them with spice powder.
Tip 2: These chickpeas are begging to be eaten alongside a nice dark or amber beer.
By Emily Rems