Healthy and nourishing food was the only alpha and omega of rural economy. —Mahatma Gandhi
There are several varieties of chickpeas (also called gram, Bengal gram, garbanzo or as they are called in Hindi, chana dal). The photo above shows two types: the larger, beige-coloured kabuli chickpeas and the smaller desi chickpeas, as they are whole, as well as, split and skinned. When it comes to roasting chickpeas, many of us think of the kabuli type, but did you know that split desi chickpeas also work well?In fact, in rural Gujarat, where my parents (and the great Gandhi) grew up, a mix of dry roasted desi chickpeas and peanuts was one of the most popular snacks. My parents would recall trading in a few paise for a fistful or two of this nutritious snack, freshly roasted and packaged up in newsprint before their eyes, at any of the local street vendors on their way to or from school. Present day, in our household, roasted chickpeas, also make for a great school snack. My method for roasting desi chickpeas is the same as for kabuli chickpeas shown here in an earlier post. I start off with the dried legume, soak them overnight, cook them the next day in the microwave, and then finally roast them in the oven. For flavouring, I often just use salt, but your taste buds’ desire is your only limitation here.
Roasted Split Desi Chickpeas
(yields 345 g or about 2.5 cups)
- 400 g (about 2 cups) dried split desi chickpeas
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- Wash and soak chickpeas overnight or at least 6-8 hours. Be sure to use a large bowl and at least 4 cups of water for soaking.
- Once the chickpeas have soaked, rinse and strain them. Put them in a glass bowl and microwave on high for 5 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon (cause we don’t want any of the water that may have accumulated) divide chickpeas onto two large plates lined with a clean tea towel or paper towels.
- Let the chickpeas sit for awhile. We want the towels to absorb as much water as possible and for the chickpeas to be as dry as possible. (You can pat them dry as well). When you are ready to roast, preheat the oven to 375°F. I use the convection roast setting of my oven.
- Transfer chickpeas to a large bowl and toss with oil. Divide the chickpeas onto two cookie sheets and spread them into a single layer (as much as possible).
- Roast for 20 minutes, alternating the position of the two sheets halfway. After these first 20 minutes, continue to roast for 1-2 minute intervals, stirring the chickpeas and alternating the position of the sheets to ensure uniform cooking. (I need about another 5-6 minutes.) Chickpeas are done when golden brown and crisp. See tip below for extra crispiness.
- Remove from oven and place in a clean, dry bowl, toss with 1 tsp salt. Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container. If they have been well roasted and stored in a dry location (no moisture remaining), they can keep for months.
You can replace the 1 tsp of salt for other flavours. Here as some ideas:
- 1 tbsp maple syrup (or muscovado or honey) and 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp chili powder and lime (add lime to only the portion you plan to eat as it may not store for long with added moisture)
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder and 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder, 3/4 tsp salt and 1/4 sugar
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- or whatever your taste buds desire!
In each case, add the flavouring after the chickpeas are roasted but while they are piping hot straight out of the oven to ensure that the spices blend but do not burn.
For extra crispy chickpeas, you can place them back in the turned off but hot oven for a few more minutes.
Split desi chickpeas look very similar to yellow split peas, as well as, to toor dal so do take care when buying.