December 12, 2022
The first time I encountered a crisped chickpea was in Maui. We ordered a salad sitting ocean side at Mala Ocean Tavern in Lahaina. I was floored by the crunchy zaps of flavor nuggets in the form of chickpeas that adorned that salad. The waitress told me they were deep fried. When she said that, I simply put them out of my mind. I'm just not one that bothers much with deep frying. Then, I started oven-baking them and offered a recipe in my second book Vegan Indian Cooking. They were great. But now with the Air Fryer? They are exactly the consistency of those deep fried ones at Mala. So good and so easy.
There are a few pointers to keep in mind when you make these. First and foremost, chickpeas cooked from dried will be better. Largely because they are a little dryer than canned. You can use canned, but give it a try with dried and you will absolutely taste the difference and may never go back. I cook my chickpeas by soaking 2 cups dried overnight, draining them, and then throwing them into an Instant Pot or pressure cooker with 2 cups of water for 20 minutes. Once they finish cooking, let the steam release naturally for 10 minutes and then manually release the rest. Drain and dry on a dish towel. Even better if you throw them in the fridge overnight and use them the next day. The key here is to get rid of any extra water or moisture. Cook the chickpeas in small batches and in one layer for the best results. I use 1 cup - you can increase that, but it's important not to over fill the basket. I love, love, love my Indian spices on these chickpeas, but you can use just about any spice blend. Just avoid using sugar, which can burn during the process. If you use a spice blend and want to add sugar, just pull them out and add a teaspoon or two at the end before serving.
If you don't have an air fryer no problem. My oven-baked recipe is on page 100 of my third book Vegan Indian Cooking. Set the oven rack at the highest position and turn the oven to 425 degrees F. Arrange the chickpeas in a single layer on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and cook for a total of 25 minutes. You can pull them out after 15 minutes, stir them, and then put them back in to cook.
Air Fryer Garam Masala Chickpea Poppers
1. In a large, roomy bowl, add all of the ingredients until evenly coated.
2. Pour the coated chickpeas into the basket of your air fryer.
3. Cook at 390 degrees F for 12 minutes. Remove the basket and shake once or twice. Store in a jar in the fridge for up to a week. Use as a snack, in a salad, in soups or as a fun add to any dish.
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