Dalai Mama Dishes

by Catherine Newman

Catherine Newman cooks for the family

Dalai Mama Dishes

Catherine Newman cooks for the family

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Roasted Chickpea Snacks

Posted March 02, 2009
Find more about dalai mama , snacks , chicpeas
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While I was taking this photo, Ben said, "I feel like for the rest of my life I'm going to have to be eating in slow motion! Or at least until you're done writing about food."

Ben is, for all intents and purposes, an adult. Except at night, when he's still looks exactly like a sleeping baby. With enormous clog feet.

Drying the chickpeas on paper towels. A clean dish towel would be more eco-sensible.

This is our favorite supermarket brand of curry powder.

I so successfully instilled in my toddlers a fear of the stove that only recently has Ben stopped darting past it like it's a flame-breathing dragon with a will to burn him. He is still *very* cautious. Here he's coating the chickpeas with the spiced oil.

And here he's pouring them onto the foil-lined pan. "Wow," he said. "Can I make these myself some day?" And when I said, "Honey, you just did," he brightened and said, "Oh, right!"

When the chickpeas are fully roasted, there will be some unappetizingly black flecks of spice on the pan. That's fine.

Get a good look! They won't last long.

Thanks to the main gobbling culprit, who isn't even *me.*

I think you may have misunderstood. Yes, it's true, I'm very I don't like frosting or I don't love chocolate. You beg me to layer apples and sugar in my baked pancake, to coat the bottoms of my buttermilk pancakes with sugar and cinnamon, and these are good ideas, despite how I'm all No thank you. But this is not virtuousness, do you understand that? It's that I have a profound vice, and what that vice is is salt. Not salt itself, which is a fine and good thing, not a vice at all. But salty snacks. Oh, give me enough Cheetos to hang myself with. . .

I'm the person on the play date who can't stop eating the Goldfish crackers you've put out for the kids. During Birdy's little dance class, the other mothers and I gather in the basement of our public library, and everyone's brought snacks for the non-dancing siblings, and I eat them all. I eat the "veggie" chips--those ones that are like puffy Pringles tinted in various reassuring shades of wholesomeness. I eat the Pirate's Booty. I eat the all-natural Triscuit-style crackers and the Japanese rice crackers and the cheese crackers, and if I see a rubberbanded bag sticking out of your purse, I ask about it, and, if it's chips, I eat them too. The other mothers, my beloved and svelte friends, chew mint gum.

The problem is not just that these snacks are unhealthy and fill me with salty-lipped regret. It's that they are generally without protein, and thus make me feel hungry and frantic even as I'm bloatedly full. This is not a good combination.

Are you starting to wonder where the kids fit in here? I know. This is all true for them too--not the part about not loving sweets, but the part about being Cheetos addicts and protein-needers. Polly-o string cheese is an excellent solution for protein, and my own "famous" buttermilk-onion popcorn is an excellent solution for wholesome savoriness. But these, highly seasoned roasted chickpeas, are the best of both worlds: crunchy and salty and packed with sustaining protein. And you likely have all the ingredients for them right now, right in your very own pantry. (I like to write "pantry" as if you have a whole windowed little room lined with shelves of color-coordinated cans and jars, maybe a couple of fresh-baked pies cooling on racks, rather than our cabinets that you open and boxes of macaroni and cheese fall on your head.)

If your children are likely to be skeptical, call them "nuts." Not in a lying way, but in a way where you say "chickpea nuts," only you kind of mumble and swallow the chickpea part and then say "nuts" nice and loud. They are tastily addictive, but also wholesome and incredibly satisfying. If curry isn't your seasoning, try something else: just the garlic powder, maybe, or some smoked paprika and celery salt. I want to make buffalo chickpeas, and coat them in Frank's hot sauce, dip them in blue cheese dressing. But maybe that's just me. The curry is pretty appealing to most kids we know. Birdy, for instance, gobbles them by the handful. "I love these!" she cries. And then, with her mouth full, clarifies: "But I don't love them more than cake!" Well, sure.

Roasted Chickpea Snacks
Total time: about 1 hour, most of it unattended roasting time

1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, drained again, and spread on paper towels to dry
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon curry powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt or half as much table salt (more if there's none in your curry powder)
Heat the oven to 400. Heat the oil in a small pan over low heat, then add the curry and garlic powders, and stir until fragrant. Turn off the heat, pour in the chickpeas, and stir gently with a rubber spatula until they're coated with the oil and spice. Spread them in a foil-lined rimmed baking pan and bake for forty-five minutes to an hour, shaking the pan every ten minutes or so. When they're done, some will be brown and crunchy and some will be golden and still a bit soft in the middle and, ideally, none will be totally black.

Get a printable version of this recipe.

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Roasted Chickpea Snacks

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About Catherine Newman

Catherine Newman is the author of the memoir, Waiting for Birdy: A Year of Frantic Tedium, Neurotic Angst, and the Wild Magic of Growing a Family, available online and in bookstores nationwide.

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