Chickpeas with Garlic and Barbecue Spices

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Yield: About

    3 cups

Appears in

A herring tidbit in cream sauce, a stuffed grape leaf, a piece of sweet egg kichel—Jewish cuisine is rich in tantalizing noshes. Perhaps this is because a little snack calls for just a little brocha, or blessing, not the full ritual benediction required before and after eating a complete meal.

Jews have enjoyed chickpeas since biblical times. Known as arbas or nahit to Ashkenazi Jews and garvansos to Sephardim, they are a popular snack food, eaten like popcorn, especially on Purim when they are served to mimic Queen Esther, who ate legumes and grains instead of the king’s nonkosher food.

In our house, we usually ate them boiled plain, with heaps of coarsely ground black pepper. In this recipe I sprinkle them with a seasoning similar to a more recently beloved nosh—barbecued potato chips.

And the spiciness of this little cocktail nibble encourages one to fulfill that pleasant Purim injunction: “Drink until you can no longer differentiate between the names Mordecai and Haman.”

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  • 1 cup (about ½ pound) dried chickpeas (see Cook’s Note)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½—¾ teaspoon chili powder, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • ½ teaspoon brown sugar
  • teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Pick over the chickpeas and rinse them well in several changes of cold water. Soak them overnight in enough cold water to cover by 2 inches. Or use the quick-soak method: put them in a large saucepan and add about 5 cups of cold water; bring the water to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes; remove pan from heat and let the chickpeas stand, covered, for 1 hour. Drain the peas.
  2. In a large saucepan, bring the chickpeas to a boil with enough fresh cold water to cover by 2 inches. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer until very tender, 1–2 hours, depending on the age of the peas. They should be rather soft, not at all al dente, but don’t overcook to mushiness (you’ll be cooking them further with the spices, and you should be able to pick them up and munch them like popcorn, dissolving in your mouth, not in your hands). Drain well, place in a large, heavy skillet, preferably nonstick, and shake over low heat until very dry.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients—use a generous hand with the salt and pepper—and toss well until the chickpeas are evenly coated. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. These are best served warm.