Crispy (Fried) Chickpeas

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If you find yourself without a Dutch oven, it’s time to get one. It is absolutely one of my favorite tools in the kitchen because it is so useful. It’s essential for simmering a big pot of beans and it’s my secret for frying without fear.

Flying hot oil has landed on my arms more than once, but none of those kitchen scars are recent. With the proper equipment, I no longer cower behind a splatter guard as a shield. The high walls of a Dutch oven catch oil that would potentially spray everywhere, and the wide surface area allows enough room for food to crisp and brown. In this big pot, frying chickpeas is a cinch.

That’s right. Fried chickpeas. You’re gonna love them.

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I’ve seen recipes everywhere for roasted chickpeas, but frying them is much faster and more sensible in July. The crispy beans can take on all kinds of flavors, so play around with them. Smoky paprika is a go-to spice with chickpeas, but I also love a batch infused with lemon zest and thyme. The recipe below gives you a bit of both to try. And then play! Let me know what flavor combinations you try out.

The chickpeas are at their best served just after frying, and it’s the only way I’d serve them to friends. But I have saved the leftovers in a jar and eaten them the next day. They’re still delicious, just not as crispy.

Serve the crispy chickpeas in small bowls and you have an updated afternoon snack that’s also at home during happy hour. Move over, popcorn.

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crispy chickpeas

Get ready to eat these like popcorn. In minutes, chickpeas turn golden brown and crisp. Season them however you like, but I’ve included two favorites in this recipe. Half is smoky with paprika, and the other half is bright with lemon and thyme. Fry them in a Dutch oven and it’s easy. The tall sides will hinder any splattering of hot oil. Just know they won’t stay crispy forever. These are best served immediately.

olive oil
2 cups chickpeas
sea salt
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
zest of 1 lemon
a few big sprigs of thyme

Heat about ½ inch olive oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or large wide skillet.

Meanwhile, dry drained chickpeas with paper towels.

When the oil is hot, use a strainer to carefully place half of the chickpeas in the oil. Fry until crispy and golden, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Use a strainer or slotted spoon to transfer the hot chickpeas to a plate lined with paper towels. Transfer to a bowl and season with ¼ teaspoon salt and paprika. Fry the rest of the chickpeas with the sprigs of thyme, stirring frequently, and drain them on paper towels. Toss this batch in a small bowl with ¼ teaspoon salt and lemon zest. Serve immediately.

Serves 2 to 3.

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