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chickpeas-raosted 4 copy

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.

modern mezze-roasted chickpeas 1 copy

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”!

damascus-nut roaster copy

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!

There is 7 comments on this post

  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    In my quite young age in Palestine, sellers equipped with a trolley made the tour of the popular districts to sell stalks of fresh roasted chickpeas. The whole stalk (plant) with its young chickpeas was burned…. They called it “HAMLEH” and they were used to shout in the street ” HAMLEH YA MALAN ” to attract the young buyers whom we were…
    It was very good!

    The plant looked like that:

    This link gives more details about “HAMLEH”:

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    It’s me again…

    A selection among “Twelve ways to eat Chickpeas” …

    Hamleh Malan : Green chickpeas
    kdameh Mlabbas: Saturated and grilled chickpeas, topped with coloured sugar
    kdameh Safra: Saturated chickpeas and then roasted
    kdameh Hamra: Saturated chickpeas with spices and then roasted
    kdameh Beida: Saturated chickpeas with salted water and then roasted
    Balilah: Boiled chickpeas topped with salt and cumin
    Etc. Etc….

    I found that in the link below (If you want to see some photos of that, please go to pages 60 and 61:

  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    i did fresh or green chickpeas a couple of years back and i meant to mention m’labbas but forgot; and i said that you could have the choice between salted or spicy. as for boiled, it doesn’t actually belong to this post really cos it’s all about roasted chickpeas. thx for the link. will check it later 🙂

  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    Marhaba Anissa..please do give us ur recipe for roasted chickpeas at home! speaking of cook books.. also saw u listed you as guest chef in The Lebanese Kitchen by Hage from Phaedon…kindly tell what do you think of her recipes and book.. ive never heard of many of them and not sure if its a truly authentic tome…

  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    you know, i haven’t yet had a chance to look at it properly. i will this weekend. and i will add the method to the post now so that you know how to do them 🙂

  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    Hi Anissa,

    Did you try the munchies mix at Cafe Tahmis in Gaziantep? I think we exchanged emails about this last year or maybe the year before. It had roasted chickpeas, lentils, roasted menengiç (terebinth), hemp seeds (kendir tuhum in Turkish, but my Afghan waiter called it bangdana) and a few peanuts to boot. It was most delicious!!!

    (Come to think of it, it must have been last year, bec I sent a pic of a bowl of these munchies along with all those pictures from Chios of mastic-bearing trees, which, like terebinth trees are also Pistacia sp)

    Just got back eating my way through every corner of Georgia. What a fabulous eating (and drinking!) country. Will send you a hundred food pics :0) when I get the chance. I did some intensive market forays in several regions (specially my beloved Kakheti) and found many unusual seasonal ingredients (such as the sublime wild leek called ghanzili) which I found talented home cooks to prepare for me.

    But a couple of quick notes related to past posts on your blog:

    First: Georgian sheep are not fat-tailed, but fat-rumped. It’s a different breed. The tail is tiny tiny tiny almost non-existent, but the a– is immense. :>0 The beloved painter Pirosmani has a wonderful painting of a Georgian fat-rumped sheep.

    Secondly, on my last morning before flight out of Istanbul, I had kelle paca at a streetside stall in Aksaray neighborhood where I was staying. It’s made from the head and was just like chowing down early in the morning on a steaming bowl of cabeza de res at one of Chicago’s great Mexican cabeza specialists. They served with a plate of marvellous bitter rocket and a few lemon slices on the side-and, get this!-pickles that I recognized at once as green almond pickles (cagla tursu). OMG!!! They were so delicous. And the owner kindly bought out more when I expressed excitement over them. Unfortunately, most pickle-makers/pickle shops (tursucu) have already exhausted their annual supply and I couldn’t find any before my flight to bring home :0( Gonna make my own green almond pickles when they start showing up here at the Lebanese markets in Chicago in a month or so.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    i am so jealous richard. i am dying to go to georgia. can’t wait to see the pictures. and the results of your pickling green almonds. i had them for the first time in gaziantep a few years back. i think i posted a pic on facebook but not on the blog. and thx for letting me know abt the georgian lambs. and the kelle paca. is it always head or can it also be tripe & trotters. i must double check the recipe in my street food book. waiting for the georgia pics 🙂

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