A while back I did a more traditional recipe of this “fried” channa (chickpeas), except it was not fried but done in the oven for a more healthy twist. And I know many of you who are familiar with this crunchy snack will certainly find it strange that I’m topping it with grated Parmesan, but I assure you that the addition of the cheese compliments the overall flavor of it. During my primary school days this was sold by street vendors outside the school compound in paper cone shaped parcels and one of the ‘choice’ snacks for me at recess and lunch.
1-2 cups dried channa (chickpeas)
1/4 teaspoon salt (add more if necessary)
3 tablespoon grated Parmesan
2 tablespoon chopped cilantro (shado beni is better)
1 scotch bonnet pepper
2 cloves garlic
2-3 cups veg oil for frying
* water to soak the peas
In a large bowl, place the dried channa and top it with water. Go about 2-3 inches above the channa.. as it soaks it will absorb the water and double in size. I like going through the channa before soaking them, to make sure there’s no debris in the package (you’ll be surprised at what you find sometimes).
Soak the chickpeas overnight, then drain well and get ready to fry. Do try to get them as dry as possible so you don’t get flare-ups when you add them to the heated oil.
Now heat your vegetable oil in a deep/wide pan on medium heat and fry the chickpea for 12-15 minutes. They will float and go golden brown. Quickly place them on paper towels to get rid of the excess oil, then immediately transfer to mixing bowl (we need them still hot/warm).
As they fry you can prep the other ingredients. Chop the scotch bonnet pepper very fine (don’t include any seeds, unless you want it very spicy).. do the same for the garlic and cilantro. If you have access to shado beni (Chadon beni / culantro), that’s a better option than the cilantro. Grate your cheese and get ready to mix it all together.
Basically all you have to do now is add all the other ingredients and toss well.
If you’re serving them warm, you can top it with a little more of that grated Parmesan. You can store this spicy fried channa snack in an airtight container for about a week or so. Please adjust the salt and level of heat to your own liking. The traditional way is to not use the Parmesan cheese, but I assure you, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by it’s inclusion.