Sticky, spicy, sweet and crunchy roasted chickpeas. You might need a beer for these. And you might need to double the recipe.
There are so many recipes for roasted chickpeas on the internet, I'm virtually falling over them. I've tried many and have mostly been disappointed. I've never been completely satisfied with either the texture or flavour results. Recently, I decided to take a new approach. The slow roasting of the chickpeas in this recipe was inspired by Thomas Keller's approach to making spiced nuts in his book, Ad Hoc at Home. I know, I know. Two hours is a crazy amount of time but the thing is... it's the key to the sweet-spicy infusion of the chickpeas. Try it the next time your oven is already hard at work.
1 can of chickpeas
2 tablespoons of sweet chili sauce. I use my homemade version. I haven't used store-bought for this. I do expect results will vary according to the sauce you use.
¼ teaspoon of fine grain sea salt
Heat the oven to 250°F/130°C. Drain the chickpeas and pat dry with paper towels. Spread them on a baking pan and cook for 5 minutes.Warm the sweet chili sauce slightly. Do this in a pot over a low heat or give it a few seconds in the microwave. It just needs to be warm rather than hot. Keller's theory was that warming the nuts and honey before mixing prevented the honey from crystallizing. I tested two batches of sweet chilli-bathed chickpeas with interesting results. The chickpeas with the warmed sauce were able to withstand the heat of the oven much better. They remained plump, resisted burning, the flavour was more intense and my baking pan was strangely cleaner. However... the chickpeas with the cold sauce were crunchier so if that's your priority, you may want to go for cold sauce. You will need to stir them a bit more often if you do.
Anyway... next you need to remove the sweet chili sauce from the heat, stir in the chickpeas, mixing well to coat. Spread the chickpeas on the baking pan again, sprinkle with the salt and roast for 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours. Give the pan a good shake every thirty minutes or so. Allow the chickpeas to cool before serving.
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