It’s only at weekends that the idea of eating more than one or two dishes crosses my mind. Even then, the starter is often replaced by something that can be cooked and eaten simply: a dip, a handful of something salted or toast dressed up with a pesto or salsa.
I want something that can be given to my guests with their first drink and prepped in advance because a) they’re hungry and, more than likely, b) I don’t want to be faffing with a nibble when I’d rather be chatting. These chickpeas, from Meera Sodha’s brilliant Made in India tick all of those boxes as well as being simple (yes, you can use tinned), cheap (about 80p for this amount), gluten-free and, despite the spice, happily eaten by children as well as adults.
Two tins of chickpeas will serve 3-4, but you can easily double the quantities and store any remainder for a day or two. The recipe specifies rapeseed oil but I have happily made these, all summer, with both sunflower and olive oil so it’s fine to use an alternative if you don’t have any. And now that I have discovered the joys of the baked version, I plan to try the fried ones in the Morito cookbook next…
Makes enough for 3-4
Cupboard (or things you may already have)
rapeseed oil (or sunflower/olive oil), 4 tbsp
salt, 1½ tsp
chilli powder, 1 tsp
ground cumin, 2 tsp
800g tinned chickpeas
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan-assisted/gas 6.
2. Rinse and drain the chickpeas very thoroughly in a sieve or colander then shake to dry them a little (or, if you have time, you could leave them to dry out completely; I never have).
3. Mix the oil, salt and spices in a bowl, add the chickpeas and mix until they are all coated.
4. Spread the chickpeas in a single layer on a flat baking sheet, then bake until crisp, about 20-30 minutes, checking on them and turning them every 10 minutes if, like mine, your oven is a bit uneven.