Nothing could be simpler and more addictive! A few weeks ago, we had dinner at ABC Cocina in New York City, and a small bowl of fried chickpeas was brought to the table along with our drinks. I had never tried fried chickpeas before, and gosh were they GOOD. We couldn’t stop eating them, but they soon ran out and we were too embarrassed to ask for more. I did a mental “post-it” to try my hand at making them back at home. I figured they would at least involve re-hydrating some dried chickpeas, perhaps some special spice mix and a complicated frying process. None of that was true.
In it’s simplest form, just open up a can of chickpeas and drain them in a colander for say 30 minutes. Transfer the drained chickpeas to some paper towels to ensure that there isn’t much surface liquid on them that can ramp up the splattering when you fry them. Next, in a pan with high sides, add say an inch worth of good clean oil (some say olive, I used canola, and of course wondered about pure lard instead) and heat it up and fry the chickpeas in two batches until light golden or roughly 3-4 minutes or so. Pull them out and place onto fresh paper towels and sprinkle them with fine sea salt and pinches of pimenton de la vera or sweet paprika as desired. Utterly habit forming.
If you want to get fancy, you can peel each and every darned chickpea before you fry them. I understand that this peeling trick is also what makes the most glorious of hummus versions — without the whizzed up slightly tougher skins on the chickpeas. But if you don’t mind the kind of flaking off “skin”, and revel in the crisp bits flavored with oil, just do the quick version of the recipe. I resisted eating everything in this batch and kept some 4-5 tablespoons in a plastic container overnight to see if they would remain crisp the day after, but they didn’t. They definitely softened up, particularly in this rainy season humidity we have in Manila. So don’t make them ahead, serve them freshly fried and hot. Terrific with soft and hard drinks alike. I suspect they would be great in a salad in lieu of croutons or as a garnish for some snazzy plating with hummus. Just don’t tell your guests how easy they were to make. :)