These are like little bar snacks – perfect to eat alongside a glass of dry sherry such as fino at whichever time of the day you prefer. My friend Stevie made these tasty little treats for me in the kitchen at Petersham a couple of years ago and I must say I was dubious of the very idea of them – but I was very pleasantly surprised at how delicious I found them to be. I have added the chilli, though I don't think he would be displeased – the important thing is that they are seasoned well with salt and eaten while still warm.
250g/8oz cooked chickpeas
A generous tsp of salt
1 diced red chilli
When deep-frying, I use corn oil – I find it the most neutral-tasting of all the cooking oils – though do not use it more than once, as it needs to be scrupulously fresh.
Pour enough oil into the base of a heavy and solid pan to cover by an inch or so. Place over a medium heat and allow the oil to heat. The perfect temperature for deep-frying is 160C/325F/Gas3. To test if the oil is hot enough, drop a chickpea into the pan – the oil should immediately sizzle and the chickpea remain on the surface.
Once the temperature is right, add all the chickpeas and cook for two to three minutes; their colour should slightly darken and the outside become crunchy. Remove using a slotted spoon and drain thoroughly on kitchen paper, then season generously with salt and scatter over the chilli. Eat while still deliciously warm.Reuse content