As the daughter of a gastroenterologist and fibre enthusiast, I have long been a fan of the bean, pea, chickpea and lentil. My BFF and I schemed up and wrote a book about them, in fact. (That I may or may not have ever mentioned won a Taste Canada award for best single-subject cookbook that year.) So I’m very excited that the World Health Organization has officially declared it the International Year of the Pulse – which is kind of a big deal. And a great thing for our Alberta pulse growers – did you know they grow in the prairies? In fact, Saskatchewan is the world’s #1 exporter of lentils. It’s true! (I love this Resolution of the General Assembly, with its very sincere and official-sounding words leading into each reason the world should love legumes: Noting, Desiring, Recognizing, Believing.)
Which is why I just got back from a couple days in Toronto – I went to help celebrate the launch yesterday, and catch up with some friends, and visit the Canadian Living Test Kitchen (squee!) and eat plenty of pulses.
The day before I left I coincidentally roasted some chickpeas with miso – I roast chickpeas a lot, but had never done it with miso, a fermented paste made generally out of soybeans that adds an interesting tangy-salty flavour to the crunchy chickpeas. Usually I roast them with oil, chili powder, cumin and salt, or just salt – they’re simple enough to make, but I often hear about people having trouble with theirs, and it’s so disappointing when they wind up with the texture of wet paper towel.
The trick, of course, is oil, and remembering that moisture is the enemy of making anything crispy – that’s why I always pat a chicken dry before oiling and roasting it – so make sure you rinse and drain your chickpeas very well, and pat them with a paper towel if you want extra insurance. Also, if you have a nice dark roasting pan, use it – the dark colour holds on to and conducts heat more efficiently than pale aluminum pans, and are perfect for things like roasted vegetables and oven fries that you want to get nice and dark and crispy.
You really don’t need a recipe to roast chickpeas – add some oil and seasonings and salt and roast them at 425F for about 20 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally, until they’re deep and dark and crisp. But I’ll include one anyway, just so that it finds its way into the proper search boxes.