Updated: Apr 16, 2020
Canned or cooked chickpeas are common in many dishes but few know that you can roast fresh green chickpeas and end up with the ultimate delicious and healthy snack. In different Middle Eastern countries, and towards the beginning of Spring, the charred young chickpeas (called hamleh in Jordan, which loosely means abundance) are hawked by street vendors at busy intersections and streets across the country. Mounds of bright green chickpeas are piled high on carts and are sold roasted and ready in paper bags, or fresh and green, to be cooked at home. Similar to edamame and roasted corn, hamleh embodies the best and most basic of street food that is: tasty, seasonal, healthy and affordable. Eat Your World’s post covers the most common street food in Jordan. When I first moved to the U.S. I immediately started researching Middle Eastern stores that carry the food and produce that I love and was happy to find, Sara’s Market and Bakery in Richardson, TX, and even happier when I found fresh chickpeas. I also discovered that roasted green chickpeas are a popular snack in India so most Indian marketplaces across the States also sell them. There are several ways to enjoy and prepare the green chickpeas like Bon Appetit’s spiced chickpea recipe, but I prefer to taste the sweetness of the chickpeas and do very little to it. The best thing about this snack is the level of simplicity to prepare. Wash and drain the chickpeas and place on a baking sheet (I like to roast them on parchment paper so that I don’t’ have to worry about the clean up) and roast them at a high temperature (around 380-400 F) in the oven for probably 15 minutes. When the green pods turn golden brown and lightly charred they’re ready. You may have to mix them around for a bit. Sprinkle them liberally with salt while they’re still hot, pop open the pods with you hands or mouth and enjoy!