The avid movie goer is used to wearing jeans that get greasy around the thighs. Grease and movies have complemented each other for as long as one can remember. That artificial buttery stuff that coats every kernel of corn before it pops somehow completes a movie experience on the big or small screen. The T-rex in Jurassic Park would seem less horrifying when the popcorn crunches between the teeth. The humor in 3 Idiots would seem more enjoyable when Lays potato chips are bitten into with a snap, the salty dust coating mouths that laugh and chew, sticking to fingers that slap the thighs in a fit of hysteria. One can go through a couple of bags of greasy snacks when one is at the movies, or on the couch watching an engrossing Red Box rental.
For the conscious movie-grease nut, however, there are options that provide the same crunchy satisfaction, minus the grease. Chickpea Pops are one of them. Rich in protein and fiber, chickpeas can be eaten in many forms, but when roasted, they take on a crisp, crackling form and provide everything that popcorn does, minus the trans fat. They’re easy to make and easy to sneak into the movies in a hidden pouch in your satchel. Or, if you’re home with friends for a movie night, they can go straight from the oven to the coffee table in minutes. What’s more, they taste better too, coated with that familiar Tadka rap-a-tap.
Here’s what you need to make your next movie experience a healthy one:
Wash 1 cup of chickpeas and soak overnight (or 12 hours at a stretch). Drain, rinse and pat dry with paper towels in the morning. Take 1 tablespoon light olive oil in a bowl, add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon of red chilli powder. Toss the chickpeas in the spiced oil and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Bake for about 1 hour in a 400 degree oven, stirring every 15 minutes or so until brown and well roasted. After baking for about 45 minutes, sprinkle about 1/2 a teaspoon of chaat masala, 1/4 teaspoon each of black pepper powder, cinnamon powder, cumin powder and coriander powder. Let cool and crunch away. But be prepared to dry clean those jeans as they’re bound to get a generous coating of flavorful spice bleeds.