This spicy sour smashed chickpeas recipe comes with no pedigree. It's a mish-mash of ingredients I threw together one hurried, harried day with leftovers I had in the refrigerator, like three-fourths of a green pepper, half of a cowhorn pepper, half a red onion, a few simple spices, and -- get this -- tomato ketchup. It was so delicious, it now features rather too frequently on our weeknight dinner table. But only if it lasts long enough to get there.
Chickpeas are a legume to love, and not just because they arguably have the best texture among beans: firm, yet creamy. These little rascals have a smooth, nutty taste that lends itself without bias to snacks, sweets, and savory dishes. There's practically nothing you can't do with a chickpea. You can stuff them into a pastry, grind them into a dip, roll 'em into a wrap, pop them into your mouth for a snack, and dunk them in a curry, among many, many other possibilities.
I love this smashed chickpeas recipe because it has an incredible range of flavors, and all of them balanced beautifully. Besides spicy and sour there is some sweetness here, from the ketchup and a hint of maple syrup, and salty, of course, with a hint of umami from the tamari rounding it all off.
I like piling these smashed chickpeas into some pita bread with greens and a drizzle of tahini for a perfect lunch or dinner on the go. But you can snuggle them into a wrap, layer them into a Buddha bowl with brown rice and veggies, or even pile them on some toast. There's really no limit to what you can do with them.
Spicy Sour Smashed Chickpeas
- 4 cups chickpeas (canned or cooked. Strain out all water before using)
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 medium red onion (very thinly sliced)
- 1 jalapeno (or serrano pepper, cut into very thin strips. Deseed if sensitive to heat)
- 1 green bell pepper (cut into thin, ½--long strips)
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp ketchup
- 1 tbsp tamari (or soy sauce)
- 2 tsp paprika (you can add a hot sauce instead like Sriracha)
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 1 tbsp chaat masala (available at Indian stores or online, but if you don't have this, you can use the juice of 1 lemon)
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- Salt to taste
- 2 tbsp cilantro (finely minced, for garnish)
- Heat the oil and add cumin seeds. When they start to change color and turn fragrant, add the onions and garlic and saute for two minutes.
- Add the paprika, turmeric and chaat masala, if using, and mix for a few seconds. Add the tamari, maple syrup, ketchup, and chickpeas and mix well.
- Add the green bell peppers and chili peppers. Stir well, lower the heat, and let everything cook together for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently to ensure nothing sticks to the bottom. If it starts to stick, sprinkle some water.
- Using a potato masher, mash the chickpeas, leaving some whole. If you are using lemon instead of chaat masala, add the juice at this time and mix.
- Check for salt, garnish with cilantro, serve hot.