In Memory Of Karen Nicole Smith, 1972 - 2016

Fry Channa Done A Bit Healthier.


Fry channa is one of those spicy snacks that’s sold by street vendors in either a cone shaped paper package or in reused bottles (like rum) all over the country. However my connection to fry channa is going to my moms cousin’s home for Divali and she would have a huge bowl  for us to snack on while the many vegetarian culinary delights were making it’s way to the table. Though Ivy is no longer with us, I have fond memories of her and the way she always had time for a chat and her talents in the kitchen were unsurpassed.

By controlling the amount of pepper you add, this can be a treat enjoyed by everyone… but if its for you and your friends while enjoying some ‘beverages” don’t hold back on the heat. Let’s see how much heat they can handle!

Channa (Indian influence) is just another word for chickpeas or garbanzo beans.

The traditional way of making this is to fry in a couple cups of vegetable oil, then season. But in trying to give you a healthier option, we’ll roast these in the oven and you won’t be able to taste the difference, except they’ll be a bit healthier for you.

You’ll Need…

2 cups dried chick peas (channa)
4 cups water
1.5 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 habanero pepper (no seeds to control the heat)
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoon chopped shado beni
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Notes: You can certainly use any sort of hot pepper you like and add as much as you can tolerate. If you don’t have fresh hot peppers you can certainly use pepper sauce or cayenne powder, which would also give it a lovely kick. If you can’t source shado beni you can use cilantro or parsley. If using parsley, I would only use 1 tablespoon of it (it has that sort of bitter after-taste) When I did this recipe I used 3 tablespoon of olive oil (see the video), but I learned that I would have achieved the same results by cutting that by half.

The night before measure out the chickpeas into a large bowl and cover with 4 cups of water. Allow this to soak overnight. Remeber to use a large bowl as it will double in size as it soaks.

The next day you’ll notice a few things…. 1. Most of the water was absorbed by the chickpeas. 2. They’ve doubled in size. and 3. The color changed to a lighter shade. Drain whatever water was left back, rinse and place in a colander to drain off. We’re trying to get this as dry as possible for seasoning.

While this air-dries, lets prepare the seasoning. Chop as fine as you can, the garlic, shando beni (remember you can also use cilantro or parsley as well) and habanero pepper. Then in a small bowl, pour the olive oil (one and a half teaspoon) and add all pepper, garlic, shado beni and black pepper.

Pour the pre-soaked chickpeas into a large bowl and using a paper towel or kitchen towel, dry to get as much moisture as you can off the chickpeas. Now give the seasoned oil a good stir, then add it to the bowl with the chickpeas. Sprinkle the salt and give the entire batch a good stir. The idea is to pick up all the seasoning and have it coat each chickpea.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and get ready to roast. I learned my lesson from the jerk chicken wings recipe and this time I lined my baking tray with aluminum foil to make clean-up a breeze after. The cookie sheet should be big enough so there’s one layer of seasoned chickpeas, to allow for even roasting. My tray was a bit small, so midway through roasting I had to give them a toss to make sure they all get roasted perfectly.

With the oven at 350 degrees, I placed them on the middle rack and allowed them to roast for 50 minutes (which should have been perfect), but since they were not single layered on the sheet they didn’t have the ‘crunch’ I desired. So back in the oven for another 15 minutes and they were not only perfectly golden in colour, they had that wonderful crunch good fry channa  is supposed to have.

These can be enjoyed warm out of the oven or days and weeks after. However it’s important that you store them in an airtight container (thus the bottles mentioned above) to keep it’s freshness. Though this is not the traditional way of making this, I find that by roasting with the seasoning… the wonderful taste of the garlic, shado beni and pepper, combined with the olive oil is just spectacular.

You can always dust with salt when they come out of the oven for that unique salted texture that fry channa usually have (but then depends on how much salt you like, as they should already be seasoned perfectly).

Before you go I invite you to leave me your comments below.. even if it just to say hello. It’s always appreciated. And don’t forget to join us on facebook and do check out the cooking videos.

In memory of Aunty Veeya!

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  1. Cindy
    October 22, 2017 / 12:48 am

    Excellent recipe, Chris! It makes life in a bit more bearable when I can have the taste of Trini snacks.

  2. Lydia Tauwnaar
    October 23, 2016 / 5:37 am

    Hallo Chris,
    I love chickpeas. I lived in a district in Suriname where Indians the majority of the population. One of their lovely dishes was channa (gugri) with hot pepper. Your variety on the recipe looks great and really tasty. The peas are going now into a bowl to soak for your recipe tomorrow. Thank you!

  3. Jeshni
    April 8, 2016 / 4:25 am

    Hi, thanks for the recipe. I tried it and it turned out very good. Actually i hate to fry things so this was so good for me, thanks again.

  4. Fallon
    March 25, 2016 / 6:31 pm

    Hi Chris,
    Looks like a great recipe. I’d like to try but can I used canned Channa instead of dried?

  5. Michelle C
    March 15, 2016 / 7:06 am

    I will surely try this. Thanks.

  6. March 6, 2015 / 7:30 am

    Hello Chris

    I had completely forgotten about “Chana”.Whenever I get back to Trinidad , it is one of the snacks that I enjoy in between those beastly cold Carib’s and being able to get a reminder from “Caribbean Pot” is just great.Thank you for being around.


  7. February 1, 2015 / 3:50 pm

    Hi Chris,
    Sharon here!!! I can’t wait to try this one.question what would happen if i use the one in the can,Would i have the same result.keep up the good job.i tell so much people about your website i lost count.Sharon

  8. Sally
    November 19, 2014 / 12:43 pm

    that is an interesting twist, and will try it.

  9. Rene
    October 14, 2014 / 5:36 pm

    For this recipe, does the channa have to be crunchy right out of the oven? ie if the channa is still slightly soft at 50 minutes, should I put it back in the oven until it’s crunchy? I tried the recipe and seems like the channa got a bit harder after it cooled so was just wondering.

  10. mani
    April 11, 2014 / 9:32 am

    taking something from so far away in memories and making it real again.
    i know i could find it in stores here but who knows how long they sitting on that shelf. i prefer fresh and home-made..and i have nuff bottles for storage 😛 thanks for ur recipes.. huge fan!
    – chaguanas in toronto

  11. shahin
    March 30, 2014 / 4:03 pm

    I have tried fried trinidad channa and love and for sure will try this recipe since it is not fried and roasted.looks good.

  12. A-J
    January 13, 2014 / 9:25 am


    I come from Antigua and live in the UK now. I remember eating channa there as a child and sometimes find it sold prepackaged in my local ethnic food shop. Unfortunately it does not taste so good, too dry! I will give your recipe a go as it sounds lovely but may go with parsley as cilantro (corriander here) and I don’t get along!


  13. SC
    January 7, 2014 / 8:29 am

    I am a Trini living in Barbados, and a bottle of fried channa is nuff nuff $. Have been looking for a recipe for a while (didn’t pay attention when my mother was doing this umpteen years ago) and this sounds very doable.
    Thank you for the easy-to-follow instructions!
    Do you have one for fried split-peas as well?

  14. mala deonarine
    October 14, 2013 / 3:25 pm

    Hi Chris i really enjoyed your recipes, and i love the good comments i get after my friends and family taste ,whatever i makes for them.Thank you very much.

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