Spicy crunchy chick pea snack


When I'm really into something, whether it's trying to debug some code or work out a design that won't gel, I forget about everything else, including eating. Then, hours later I raise my head out of the mire and I'm starving and ready to eat everything in sight - usually stuff like potato chips and cookies.

That can't be too healthy, so I've really tried to keep around non-distracting yet reasonably healthy things to snack on while working (and a bottle of water too). Fresh, portable fruit like apples and bananas are great of course. So are nuts, but while nuts are quite healthy overall, they are also very high in calories. And a handful of dry-roasted peanuts, which could be about half a cup, is more than 335 calories. So some time ago, I switched to using beans in snacks. Chick peas are perfect for this since they cook relatively fast because of their rather thin skins, and a cupful is around 270 calories. Even with the added olive oil, 3 tablespoons for the whole batch, it's still quite lower in calories, and quite tasty too. (Source for calorie figures: Calorie Count.) A half-cupful is just as filling as the equal amount of nuts.

There are lots of recipes online for crunchy snacky chick peas, including one for Chickpeas with Thai Chiles in the most recent Food section of the New York Times. I tend to vary the flavor of mine depending on my mood, but this spicy version is my current favorite. It has added taste and texture interest because of the addition of whole spices - black cumin seeds, whole cumin seeds, mustard seeds, plus red pepper flakes and ground cardamon. It has a wonderful sort of Middle-Eastern/Indian flavor. You can use any kind of ground or whole spices you like, but I would avoid turmeric since that can stain your fingers, and whatever you wipe your fingers on (like your jeans...)

Incidentally, the German word for chick peas is kichererbsen, which literally means "giggling peas". Whenever I ask the Taste Tester to bring home some chick peas from the store he feels obliged to giggle like a girl. I try to remember to bop him one when he does it, but the tough love approach isn't curing this odd affliction so far.

Spicy crunchy chick peas


Note, I do cook dry chick peas since they are so much cheaper than the canned kind, and as I've noted above they cook relatively fast compared to other beans. If you are in a hurry or can't be bothered, use canned, drained chick peas.

  • 1lb or 500g bag of dry chick peas
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1-2 tsp (or more or less, depending on how spicy you want it) dried red chili pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. black onion seeds (also called nigella seeds)
  • 1 tsp. whole cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cardamon
  • Juice from 1 small lime or 1/2 lemon
  • Sea salt

Sort the chick peas (take out any discolored ones) and soak in water for several hours or overnight. Drain. Place in a pot, add water so that it comes up to about 2 inches / 5 cm above the chickpeas, and bring to boil; lower the heat to a simmer, and cook for about 2 hours, until the peas are tender. (If you use a pressure cooker, you can cook then in about 15 minutes without soaking.) Drain. You'll have about 6 cups of cooked chickpeas.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F.

Peel and chop the garlic cloves rather coarsely.

Toss all the ingredients together thoroughly. Spread evenly over a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring around midway through. Take out and let cool. [Edit: this baking time turns out peas that are a mix of crunchy ones and ones that are still a bit soft - I like this variety. Since all ovens vary, you will need to test the doneness. If you like your peas to be a bit soft, bake them for a shorter time; if you like them very crunchy leave them in longer.]

Store this in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Makes a great beer snack.

You can make it sweet-spicy by sprinkling over some brown or raw sugar to while it's still hot from the oven.

Makes about 6 cups.


You can find onion (nigella) seeds and other spices at an Indian grocery store. Online you can find them on the Amazon Gourmet store.

The seeds can turn a little bitter after roasting. I like that bitterness but if you don't, just leave the seeds behind when serving the chick peas. The flavors will still be there. Or, add them later on in the cooking process, with about 10 minutes to go.

Filed under:  snack legumes vegan

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Sounds good. I'm always on the lookout for tasty, crunchy snacks, and if they're healthy, all the better. I'll have to give this one a try sometime.

Liebe Maki,
danke für die schöne Anregung.

Der Name stammt übrigens vom lateinischen Cicer (= Erbse) beziehungsweise vom norddeutschen Kicher, was ebenfalls Erbse heißt. Im Französischen heißt die Kichererbse "pois chiche". Quelle: Wikipedia

Vielen Dank Gabriele für diesen interessanten Hinweis. Wir hätten es daher mit "Erbsen-Erbsen" zu tun :P

Have you used canned chick peas for this?

I just don't like these but my husband loves them. He often mixes them with a vinegarette and eats it as a salad. It is good for joggers the day before a long run-so he says.

Michael, you can use canned chick peas (just scale down the amount of spices according to how much you have, remembering I started out with about 6 cups of cooked chick peas). I would rinse them briefly since the liquid that canned chick peas come in tends to be goopy.

Yep, I tried it this afternoon, and it worked great. I couldn't find nigella seeds anywhere here in Singapore, but everything else was fresh spice.

I like to go heavy with cumin, it's such a great taste.

When I served the dish (still warm) I squeezed the other half of the lemon over the chick peas and it gave them a nice tang.

The only mistake I made was measuring the chilli flakes in the palm of my hand. My palm has burned all day long, like a chilli stigmata.

This is such a beautiful dish to have with a Kirin. I'm going to prepare some more preps of this to keep in reserve next time I want a thirty-minute snack.

Your next programming challenge: make it so the recipe portion of your posts can be easily printed, on one sheet.

To whom it may concern,
i am a student studying an ICT GCSE at King Ecgbert's school and i am writing for you permission to use the image of the bowl of chick peas. the image will only be used in my school project and will not be published commercially.

Chris, you are welcome to use the image as long as you attribute it to me (just put somewhere that the image is from justhungry.com). Good luck with your project!

I've made this a handful of times since it was first posted (I was coming back today because I wanted to be sure on the temp and time). It's always great. I've tried a variety of seasoning options; one of my favorites is sea salt, dill, olive oil, and a bit of lemon juice. Thanks again for posting this, these are great.

I'm soaking some chickpeas for this right now. After they are soaked and you put them back in water for 2 hours, I assume you're supposed to be boiling them, right? Can't wait to try them!

these are great to eat! i've made the chickpeas using garlic powder, ground coriander powder, dried parsley and chilli powder - tastes awesome! i'll try your recipe next time :)

Hey, these look great but I was wondering, do you think they could bet turned into a sweet snack? I'll prolly try it myself soon but just wanted your input =)

Do you think there are any other beans we could use with this idea? Just the thin skinned ones? I've seen green peas, and another kind of bean fried as a snack.

Just made these from canned chick peas, seasoned with: 1 garlic clove, mustard powder, paprika, ground coriander, celery salt, sea salt, lemon juice, and some olive oil. Absolutely delicious, thanks for sharing!!!

So, after you soak them for hours, when you put them in water again for 2 hours, are you simmering them? Or are you just letting them soak again for 2 hours?

I wrote this recipe way back in 2006, when I was not as conscientious about explicit instructions. Now that I read it I guess it doesn't sound like you're supposed to cook them! I've corrected it now, hope it's clearer now. ^_^;

omg delicious. nomnomnom

Thanks for the recipe...I have one point to add... Nigella Sativa is actually the --Black Cumin-Kalonji in Hindi/Urdu

These are amazing! As a vegetarian, it can be tricky to get enough protein, but regular beans can get a bit boring. Thanks for opening my eyes to a great snack option! I plan to try this with some other types of legumes soon (wasabi peas, for one). Do you have any suggestions on what else might work well (and what may not)?

Do you know how many calories are in a serving? They're pretty filling, but I still ate ~1.5 cups (of cooked beans, before drying them) in a day and a half. Thankfully they don't seem to cause digestive issues as much as regularly cooked beans!

Hey, I'm going out of country next mo and am looking for snacks to pack. I've never made roster chick peas but they're drying on the counter now!! My question is (I've been trying to find online for this answer) how long could these keep in container non refridgerated? I'm on a kick to make plenty of nutritious snacks to pack!