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Food

The best fried chickpeas get spiced up for Hanukkah

Chickpeas drizzled with olive oil.
You can simply drizzle the chickpeas with olive oil too.
(Thomas Schauer / Clarkson Potter)

Israeli-born chef Lior Lev Sercarz, who owns the New York specialty spice shop La Boite, has assembled an unexpected and unusual alliance of spices for this chickpea appetizer — pungent amchoor (made from dried mangoes), smoky Spanish paprika, the caraway-adjacent seeds called ajowan — but the end result is simple to understand: irresistible snacking goodness. (Full disclosure: This recipe is pulled from a cookbook called “Mastering Spice” that I co-wrote with Sercarz.)

These fried chickpeas are tasty enough to eat alone but can be served with meat or fish or over yogurt. You can buy the spices online or in an Indian or Middle Eastern market.

Fried Smoky Chickpeas With Garlic and Ginger

1 ½ hours, largely unattended. Makes about 6 ½ cups.

Ingredients
Main Spice Blend

  • 2 ½ teaspoons dried garlic slices
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon, preferably Vietnamese
  • 1 teaspoon pimentón (smoked paprika)
  • ½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper

Chickpeas

  • 1 pound dried chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for frying
  • Kosher salt

Fried Chickpea Spice Blend

  • 2 ¼ teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ajowan seeds
  • 1 tablespoon amchoor powder
  • ½ teaspoon pimentón (smoked paprika)

Instructions

  1. To make the main spice blend: Finely grind the garlic and mix with the ginger, cinnamon, pimentón and Aleppo.
  2. To make the chickpeas: Put the chickpeas in a large airtight container and add enough cold water to cover by 2 inches. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to overnight.
  3. Drain the chickpeas and put in a large pot. Add enough cold water to cover by 2 inches and add the oil. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Uncover, skim off any foam that’s risen to the surface, and reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Stir in half the main spice blend. Reserve the remaining spice blend for serving.
  4. Simmer until the chickpeas are tender all the way through, about 50 minutes. Sample one; it should be very soft (chickpeas will firm up as they cool).
  5. To make the fried spice blend: Finely grind the cumin and ajowan seeds together, then mix in the amchoor and pimentón.
  6. Drain the cooked chickpeas well, then transfer to paper towels and roll around to dry completely. If you have time, refrigerate them overnight on a plate lined with paper towels to dry even more thoroughly.
  7. Coat a large skillet with olive oil to a depth of ¼ inch and add one-third of the fried chickpea spice blend. Turn the heat to medium and cook, stirring, until the spices are sizzling, about 30 seconds. Add a generous 2 cups chickpeas and fry, stirring and turning to coat evenly with the spices, until golden brown and crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Repeat with more oil and the remaining spices and chickpeas.

Make Ahead
The simmered chickpeas can be cooled completely in the cooking liquid and then refrigerated in their cooking liquid for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 3 months.

Excerpted from Mastering Spice.


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