20090214-KalynsChickpeasTit 

Those of you who have read my first column for Food24 will know that Valentine's Day is probably not my most hotly anticipated holiday of the year.

OK, it probably does have something to do with the fact that 20 years ago I was unceremoniously dumped by my boyfriend on V-Day…  We had been having some arguments but had arrranged to go out to dinner on V-Day to start afresh.  But when I got to the apartment, ready for romance, he wasn't dressed to go out and promptly told me that it was all over between us.  Astonishingly, I didn't kill him there and then – I calmly had a drink with his flatmates while he sulked in his room and then set off to a university party on my own.  There, I made a beeline for his group of friends from res and stuck with them all night, meaning that by the time he arrived, I was firmly ensconced with them and he was left skulking around with no friends.  Hah!  The evil cunning of a teenage woman scorned :)

But even without this sort of relationship meltdown, you do have to admit that the day is a little… umm… fraught!  If you're single, the potential for dateless depression looms large; and if you're involved, chances are that your partner will either forget to book a table anywhere and take you to Burger King in desperation, or do something misguided like buy you vacuum cleaner as a love gift.  So this year, I decided to head V-Day disasters off at the pass and take matters into my own hands:  I invited our friends round for an anti-Valentine's dinner.  No hearts, no pink food, no roses – just good food, good wine and good friends, in abundance.  Suddenly, I like Valentine's Day a whole lot better!

With drinks before dinner, I needed a snack but I also needed time and space in the kitchen to get the meal ready, not faff about with nibbles.  These roasted chickpeas had caught my eye on Kalyn's site a while back and I figured they were perfect as I could roast them in the afternoon and they'd need no further preparation once the guests arrived. 

The key to these little beauties is the Moroccan spice mix that Kalyn makes (I followed her recipe to the letter except for adding sugar to my mix – I like that sweet/spicy contrast).  The recipe below makes a lot more than you need for the chickpeas, but once mixed it stores well in an airtight container.  Use it on roasted vegetables, potatoes, meat, chicken… the list is endless and the flavour is truly delicious.  The only let-down about these was the fact that it's hard to tell when they are done.  And as it turned out, mine weren't all properly done and crisp – probably 60-70 per cent had the consistency of roasted chestnuts rather than the crispiness that I had envisaged.  Still, that didn't stop me from polishing off at least half the tin by myself!  Next time, I'll leave them to roast longer.  But even if you don't want to take your chances with the chickpeas, please please do make the spice mix.  You won't regret it!

For the first time in ages I have managed to remember the deadline for my lovely friend Stephanie's Blog Party event – hurrah! The theme this month is Spice it Up! and the dishes all have to be bite-sized snacks – like my little friends the chickpeas!  Hostess Stephanie also requires a drink to accompany the snack, and seeing as the spice mix is Moroccan, the most correct accompaniment would have to be mint tea (jokingly referred to in alcohol-free Morocco as "Berber whisky").  But if it's something more alcoholic that you're after, stick with a minty theme and try a mint julep cocktail instead :)

ROASTED CHICKPEAS WITH MOROCCAN SPICESIMG_5578---editedWeb

Ingredients:

1 400g tin of chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1 Tbst olive oil
1/2 tsp. Moroccan Spice Mix
salt to taste (I used about 1/2 tsp koshering salt)

FOR THE MOROCCAN SPICE MIX:
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp chile powder (I used Osman's chilli powder that a friend brought from South Africa)
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (I omitted this as I had none)
a pinch ground cloves
1/2 tsp sugar

Method:

Preheat oven to 180C.  
Drain the chickpeas into a colander and rinse well with cold water until no more foam appears. Let beans drain for 5-10 minutes, then pat dry with a cloth or paper towel if they still look wet.
 
While the chickpeas drain, make the spice mix. (The recipe makes far more than you need, but you can store it in an airtight container for other uses.)
 
When the chickpeas are well-drained and dry, toss them together with the olive oil, spice mix, and salt. Arrange in single layer on baking sheet. Roast 40-50 minutes, or until they are slightly browned and make a rattling sound when you shake the baking sheet. (I roasted these for 45 minutes, but next time I would leave them a little longer.) Serve warm or cool with drinks.

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

nina February 18, 2009 at 3:35 am

Mmmmm, I like this a lot!!!! Love Moroccan flavors!

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NAOmni February 18, 2009 at 3:52 am

Between hummus and recipes like this, I think I need to own a chickpea farm of some sort. If those exist.

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Dragon February 18, 2009 at 4:41 am

Congratulation on being name in the top 50 food blogs in the UK times! I’m so proud of you!
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/food_and_drink/real_food/article5561425.ece

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Jan February 18, 2009 at 8:00 am

Oooh wow! JUST the thing I’m looking for for Saturday when we have Paul’s mum and dad coming for dinner (I hope that doesn’t sound like that’s all they’re getting) LOL
LOVE the look of those and easy too!

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Rosemary February 18, 2009 at 9:51 am

This spice mix looks so good, I’m thinking of bmaking a batch to take on the hike to spice up our food. Can’t take the chickpeas, but the spice will work. Do you think this would work with whole corn – like those packets you get in the shop of roasted corn with a spicy mix?

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Rethabile February 18, 2009 at 11:04 am

Bravo, you! That’s just marvellous. I’m going to FB you right now.

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herschelian February 18, 2009 at 12:01 pm

I brought several spice mixes back from Morocco and one of them is just like the one you give a recipe for, so I’m making some of these toot sweet.
Its great that you’ve been selected as one of The Times top food bloggers – you deserve it; can I have your autograph now?

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Sophie February 18, 2009 at 1:17 pm

Those spiced chickpeas look so appetizing!MMMMM….
Can I have some ?

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elra February 18, 2009 at 5:03 pm

What a delicious snack, Jeanne. I love all those spices here.
Cheers,
Elra

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grace February 18, 2009 at 5:29 pm

what a fun valentine’s day experience!! (that’s me, being sarcastic.) some guys get exactly what they deserve. :)
meanwhile, i love roasted chickpeas, and yours look perfect!

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Manggy February 18, 2009 at 5:58 pm

I do love that sweet-spicy mix too! Add in salty of course :) They do look quite crispy (if only superficially– but I’m glad they were still good), and I think I would have polished off the whole tin!

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Kalyn February 19, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Glad you liked them! I have heard from other people that their chickpeas took longer to get crisp too. Not sure why that is, but maybe different brands of chickpeas hold water more.
Congratulations on being listed on the Times of London list too!

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courtney February 19, 2009 at 2:15 pm

Those look really tasty. I love the spice blend you used. I could finish of a tin myself.

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WendyT February 19, 2009 at 2:28 pm

Love all those spices! You get such yummy chickpeas in the markets here. our local one always does just plain with cumin and a drizzle of olive oil but am definitely going to try these! :)

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Laura February 20, 2009 at 3:20 am

Congrats on your top 50 mention.
I made these today and thought they were very good. We wanted more spice (I might double next time) ad because of your comments I let mine cook a looong time. They are very crispy/crunchy–perfect!

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Kevin February 20, 2009 at 3:27 am

Those look good! I had bookmarked these to try as well. And I just made some of the Moroccan spice blend for use on some roasted squash on the weekend as well.

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Elizabeth February 20, 2009 at 7:24 pm

Cool idea. Next time we soak chickpeas for making falafel, we’ll have to set some aside to try this. But I think we’ll leave the sugar out – the sweet spices may be enough to give it that sweet and savoury flavour. (Remind me not to show my husband your version of the recipe; he’ll want to add the sugar. :->)

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June February 21, 2009 at 1:43 am

Aside from the coriander which I have a HUGE aversion to, it sounds great! I’m going to try it and leave out the coriander.

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Po February 21, 2009 at 10:15 am

Hmm, I could really do with a new vacuum cleaner :)

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Dani February 24, 2009 at 9:41 pm

Great blend of spices. These snackers didn’t come out very well though, a strange consistency.

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Nikki April 7, 2009 at 5:23 pm

This spice mix is fabulous and the possibilities are endless! That probably explains why this recipe has made it’s way through so many foodie blogs. I recently borrowed it as well and made something similar that I posted on my blog. I would be delighted if you would check it out: http://www.foodsnobdiary.blogspot.com/. It’s the post for April 6 called MOROCCAN-SPICED CHICKPEAS WITH ONIONS AND TOMATOES.” I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed yours.

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