I may have inadvertently started a trend. I was doing a radio interview the other day about Modern Mezze ahead of my participation in the Emirates Literary Festival and as I was flicking through my book, I remembered that I had included roasting chickpeas as a way to supplement a home-prepared mezze and I wondered if the roasted chickpeas that I have been seeing on menus in the last couple of years or more did not have their inspiration in the photo and quick recipe below. It sounds presumptuous I know and I am sure there are people who wrote about roasting chickpeas before I did — must check in Rayess’ book, also Ibrahim Mouzannar‘s. Also it may well be that the trend for roasted chickpeas came from somewhere else because they are a heatlhy snack and chefs are more and more concerned about offering healthier choices.
Regardless, the interesting thing is that however well you prepare and roast your chickpeas at home they will never have the same soft crunch of those roasted commercially (in a drum roaster like the one in the picture below which I shot in the back room of a nut seller in the souk in Damascus) which I used to love snacking on as a child and still do today. Still, it is fun to do them at home and of course you can go beyond the salted or spicy flavours that commercial roasters offer. By the way, if you are in Dubai on 9 March, please join Alexander McNabb and I in our questions & answers session “Life as a Modern Mezze”!
And if you want to make your own roasted chickpeas, soak some overnight in plenty of cold water with a little bicarbonate of soda. The next day, rinse them well and cook them making sure not to let them go mushy. Between 30 and 45 minutes boiling time should do the trick — by the way, buy really good dried chickpeas; Spanish or Lebanese ones are great. Drain them and gently spread them on a kitchen towel to dry. Then toss them in a little extra virgin olive oil. Spread them on a baking sheet and sprinkle them with a little salt and Aleppo pepper if you want or any spice or flavouring you feel like using. Roast in the oven which you will have preheated to 180º C for about an hour shaking them every now and then. Let cool and enjoy with a nice glass of Chateau Musar rosé!
Tagged : 2dameh, aleppo pepper, alexander mcnabb, chateau musar rose, Dubai, emirates airline festival of literature, george rayess, healthy snacks, how to roast your own chickpeas, ibrahim mouzannar, modern mezze, nut sellers, roasted chickpeas, souk in damascus, starting a food trend 7