Roasted Chickpeas: A Global Snack

Chickpeas at an Indian MarketRoasted chickpeas are a much loved street food and snack in many parts of the world. In Turkey, large Kabuli chickpeas are shelled, salted, spiced with cloves, and sometimes even candied into a snack called “Leblebi.” The origins of Leblebi, according to Wikipedia, date back to 1300 AD, apparently a popular snack amongst the Ottoman Turks. From Turkey, the Leblebi trend spread out to North Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and even some Asian countries. In Iran, roasted chickpeas are eaten with raisins as a sort of Middle Eastern trail mix.

South Asia, especially India, would doubtless claim ownership of roasted chickpea snacks too. Street snacking is a thriving pastime in modern Indian cities. Amidst the roasted corn sellers and fritter vendors, you are guaranteed to find a roasted chickpea vendor or two. These turbaned and mustachioed men have a simple setup – a glass case to display their roasted wares, and a coal-fired brazier where the chickpeas are roasted in ancient little woks. These chickpeas are usually served up in paper cones, the shell still intact, with a squeeze of lime and some cilantro.

India’s love of roasted chickpeas runs the gamut of flavors and forms. Roasted chickpeas are often made into a brittle, called “chikki,” bound together with local palm sugar syrup and sometimes sesame seeds.

Spain and Mexico love their garbanzos (the other name for chickpeas!). However, they are most often served fried, as a street snack in Mexico or a tapa in Spain. Mexican garbanzos are boldly spiced with lime and chili, while the Spanish ones are fried in olive oil and then sprinkled with sea salt and smoked Paprika. Do you see where we got the inspiration for our Smoky Chili & Lime flavor?!