This recipe was given to me by a coworker at my office. She brings these nuts to all office functions and potlucks, and takes care to bring xeroxes of the recipe with her, because the cry goes up forever: “How do I make these?” I made a quadruple batch and brought them to a BVC party in northern California, and the demand was intense. So in the interests of saving paper, I’m putting the recipe here.
I have modified it somewhat, and you should adjust for your own tastes. Increasing the chili powders will make them hotter. Another possible adjustment is the curry powder — I use mild, but you could try hot. Scale it up or down at will, but remember that you’ll need a big wok if you multiply it hugely. Shop around for nuts, the most costly ingredient, in bulk — you can get some good deals on line. And by all means put in only the nuts you like. For this reprint (this recipe originally appeared in the BVC blog in 2017!) I’ve added a new and keen refinement: crisped chickpeas. These are both cheaper and less calorie-laden than nuts, but are just as delicious.
Spiced Nuts or Chickpeas
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon or more Indian chili pepper powder (or just use more cayenne)
1 tablespoon salt (or to taste)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups shelled nuts: whole almonds, pecan halves, filberts OR two 15 or 16 oz. cans chickpeas (prepared see below)
Put all the spices and the oil into a large wok or frying pan and heat slowly for 3 or 4 minutes, stirring. Add the nuts and mix very thoroughly. Pour into a baking sheet (use a spatula to scrape out all the spices and oil) and bake at 325 for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice. Allow to cool on the baking sheet. Store in a tight container to keep them crunchy. This recipe easily multiplies, as long as you have enough baking sheets.
To prep chickpeas to use in this recipe, pour both cans of chickpeas into a strainer and rinse thoroughly. Line two baking sheets with paper towels or dish towels, and divide the chickpeas between them. Spread them out and let them air dry for at least 45 minutes. Help the process along by drying their top sides with more paper towel, or set them on top of your stove and run the exhaust fan to keep the air moving. You want them dry to the touch. Then follow the recipe for nuts, but bake them longer, until the chickpeas are brown and crunchy, about half an hour — eat one to see if it’s dry right through. Turn the heat off and leave them in the oven for another hour or so to be sure.