Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Spicy Fried Chickpeas

I couldn't resist trying this recipe in The World Kitchen by Rick Rodgers. It just sounded so simple and so delicious. And indeed it was!

My simple supplies- chickpeas, garlic cloves, cayenne pepper, and sea salt (I forgot sage leaves for the picture!):

I cooked the whole garlic cloves (keep the peels on!) in olive oil for a few minutes:

Then I added the chickpeas and the sage:

And a few brief minutes later, after patting off the oil and adding some freshly ground sea salt and cayenne pepper- voila:

They were crunchy, spicy, addictive, and delicious!

The original recipe:

1 can (15oz) chickpeas
Olive or canola oil for frying
3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
6 fresh sage leaves
Cayenne pepper

Drain the chickpeas in a colander, rinse well with cold water, and then transfer to paper towels and dry thoroughly.

Pour oil to a depth of one inch in a deep heavy frying pan and heat to 375 degrees on a deep-frying thermometer. Line a rimmed baking sheet with paper towels and set it next to the stove.

When the oil is ready, add the garlic cloves and fry until they begin to turn golden, about 1 minute. Add the chickpeas and sage and fry until crisp and browned, 4-5 minutes. Take care when adding the chickpeas as they might spit and sputter due to moisture. Cook them in batches if necessary, allowing the oil to return to 375 degrees before adding the next batch. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chipeas, garlic, and sage to the towel-lined baking sheet to drain.

Sprinkle the cickpeas with salt and cayenne pepper to taste, transfer to a serving bowl, and serve at once.

Our thoughts and notes:

We used olive oil, but I think vegetable oil would be perfectly fine. And cost less.

We don't have a thermometer, and I didn't know how to tell when the oil was "ready," but Spencer showed me a trick- put a little water in your hands and flick a few drops onto the oil, and if it sputters and spits, the oil is ready. This is also kind of dangerous, and could end in being splattered with hot oil if you're not careful. So don't blame me for your hospital trip due to second degree burns. Buuuut it works. I also just read that if you stick the end of a wooden spoon into the oil and it bubbles around the spoon, it's hot enough. Cool trick. I think that would be safer.

I didn't time the frying, but I don't think it was as long as 4 minutes, so just watch them, it's pretty quick. If you want a bit of "softness" left on the inside of the chickpeas, you would probably be fine with 3 minutes.

Cayenne pepper is a tricky and deceptive bugger. You sprinkle a little on and try it, and it doesn't seem spicy. So you add a bit more, and a bit more. But the thing is, the heat builds and grows as you eat more and more. We like spice. And boy were they spicy! But it snuck up on us unexpectedly, so if you're more sensitive to spice, be gentle on the cayenne.

They are indeed best when hot. We had a few leftover (I mean, we're talking maybe 5-10 chickpeas out of a whole can that only two of us ate with dinner, because they're so addictive- oops!) and I tried them an hour later, and they were decidedly less delectable. But still quite delectable.

Let me know what you think if you give them a try!

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