I have been making Crispy Herbed Chick Peas for more years than I like to count.
When I served them in my vegetarian guesthouse, guests always wanted the recipe.
Chick peas are dredged in a flour and herb mixture, and then sautéed until crispy. Easy and delicious.
Versatile too, as you can vary the seasoning to make different flavours, using curry or blended chili powder for example, instead of the herbs.
If possible, think ahead and soak your chick peas overnight the day before you want to make them. Quick soaking works too, if you forget, but I find that overnight soaking does a better job at rehydrating the chick peas. FYI, quick soaking entails boiling dried beans for 2 minutes, and then leaving them to soak with a lid on for an hour, before cooking as usual.
You can use canned chick peas too, but as I make a biggish quantity, I prefer to soak my own. The freezer needs feeding too, and Crispy Herbed Chick Peas freeze brilliantly.
This recipe takes about 30 minutes for the final sautéeing phase. I always make sure I have something else to do in the kitchen, maybe make an accompaniment, or clean out the cupboard under the sink – just joshing on that last one, no way I’m going into that hell-hole! – as they need frequent stirring. And by frequent I mean really frequent.
As you know, cooking uses the senses to create a wonderful dish. For Crispy Herbed Chick Peas, we’ll be using the somewhat more unusual sense of hearing to know when these delicious little buggers are done, ie, at just the right level of crispiness. They make a rattle-y kind of noise when you stir them. You’ll notice the difference when it happens. Keep your ears open.
Crispy Herbed Chick Peas
1 lb/500g dried chick peas
1 cup/4oz/110g flour
1 tsp powdered vegetable bouillon – optional
3 tsp dried mixed herbs, ie thyme, sage, oregano, marjoram, savory
high oleic sunflower oil for cooking, or other cooking oil
1. Prepare and cook the chick peas:
Pick over the chick peas to remove any bits of grit or foreign matter. I pour a half cup or so out onto a plate and swish them across it to reveal anything unwanted. Put them in a pot large enough to cover with two volumes of water, and then rinse them several times.
Cover them with lots of cold water, as they will swell up to double their original size. Soak overnight, or quick soak as described above.
Drain the chick peas of their soaking water, return to the pan and cover with plenty of water. Bring to the boil, and boil them vigorously for 10 minutes, then cover the pan, turn down the heat and simmer until the chick peas are tender. Add a teaspoon of salt toward the end of the cooking time.
Cooking time varies enormously. Sometimes they take about an hour, and others about 90 minutes.
Be sure to check the chick peas often and top up with boiling water as necessary. Drain when cooked.
2. Make the chick peas crispy and delicious:
The chick peas need to be damp to hold the flour, so rinse them again if necessary, shake off excess water, and put them in a large bowl.
Add the flour, vegetable bouillon if using, herbs, 1tsp salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper and toss it all together to coat the chick peas .
Heat 2 tablespoons each of cooking oil in two heavy-bottomed frying pans. Divide the chick peas between the two pans, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring them very often to brown them all over.
From time to time I add another squirt of oil, and adjust the seasoning to get them just right. When they are done they’ll be golden brown and crispy on the outside (with perhaps the odd burnt bit if you’re like me), tender on the inside, and you’ll hear that different rattle-y sound when you stir them.
I let them cool them cool down, and double bag the majority of them in freezer bags, and freeze them for future meals. When you want to serve some, tip the desired quantity into a pan and warm through on a gentle heat without adding any oil. This recipe makes a big batch, but they freeze so well, and are very versatile.
How to Serve Crispy Herbed Chick Peas
Gobble by the handful.
They are great with:
- Scalloped potatoes
- Baked potatoes
- Any other kind of potatoes 😉
- Celeriac remoulade – pictured above, see my recipe here
- Greek salad
- Green salad
- All sorts of other stuff!
Use them as croutons sprinkled over salads.
As a pita or baguette sandwich filling.
Filling no. 1: mix some Crispy Herbed Chick Peas with a good dollop of mayo or vegan yoghurt, some diced celery and green onion, and shredded lettuce. See my cashew cream mayonnaise recipe.
Filling no. 2: mix some Crispy Herbed Chick Peas with a good slug of tasty vinaigrette, chopped tomatoes, cucumber, onion and garlic.
Don’t forget to experiment with different flavours, herbs and spices.