Monday, January 31

Kale chips, wasabi peas and other unusual snacks

Last pot-luck Christmas party got me inspired for this post...

Contrary to hundred years ago, snacking today is a part of a regular diet. Those extra calories could be a problem, so knowing some good and healthy snacks is beneficial nowadays.

I met one very creative lady and former catering chef at the Christmas party, who taught me how kale chips can be easily made at home. Kale chips that she brought at the party tasted surprisingly good and were quite addictive.
This prompted my search for more healthy snacks that can also be easily prepared at home. Long time ago, some of my Asian friends got me familiar with wasabi peas, another great snack, but I didn't know how to make it at home. This is a snack for anyone who likes spicy and crunchy and some of that sushi-related wasabi taste. Beside many other Asian snacks, I should mention my kids' favourite and probably the healthiest one, dry seaweed. We have it here in Vancouver available in variety of flavors.

So, inspired by originality and simplicity of these unusual snacks, I searched more, what people are snacking around a world.

I ended up in a Mediterranean with Chickpeas and Lupini beans.
Chickpeas, favourite all over Mediterranean from Macedonia, Palestine, to Morocco as a roasted street food are so popular now everywhere in a version of dips like a hummus or patties-falafel.
And lupini beans, sacred old Italian snack also very popular in Latin America, and one of the greatest food in many food magazines, have a special way of preparation. There are several types of lupini beans. Sweet, yellow etc.. On its own, the most popular - yellow lupini beans, could be poisonus because of a high level of alkaloids, but properly prepared become an amazing and addictive snack. 

Kale chips

You need:

1 bunch of kale leaves, rinsed, dried, cut lengthwise in half, center ribs and stems removed
1-2 tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 250°F (120 C). Toss kale with oil in large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper or any herb or spice you like. I sprinkled some Cajun spice over. Arrange leaves in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake until crisp, about 30 minutes, they should not be burned/dark brown. Transfer leaves to rack to cool.


Wasabi peas


2 cups dried whole peas
2 tablespoons olive oil

Wasabi Coating
4 tsp wasabi powder
tbsp tahini
tbsp rice vinegar
tsp Dijon mustard

Soak the peas in water to cover overnight.
Preheat the oven to 200°F (95 C). Drain the peas, then cook them according to instructions on the package. Mix the olive oil with the cooked peas until well coated.
Oil a baking sheet and spread the peas evenly across it. Place in the oven and bake for 4-5 hours, until the peas appear dry and are crisp when bitten into.
Combine the wasabi powder, tahini, rice vinegar and mustard in a mixing bowl.
Combine the wasabi mixture with the hot peas making sure that all the peas are evenly coated.
Using a rubber spatula, spread the peas on the baking sheet, separating as many as you can. Increase the oven temperature to 250°F (120 C). Bake the peas for 10 to 15 minutes, until the coating is dry.

Roasted chickpeas - (leblebije, leblebi)



250 gr dry chickpeas (canned can be used instead)
2 tbsp olive oil

salt, pepper

juice of 1 lime
chilli peppers powder
salt, pepper

Cook chickpeas until soft in a large bowl of water (If you are using canned, wash them only). Drain. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast them in the owen on 300 F (150 C) for about an hour.
Take them out and sprinkle with olive oil and cayenne (or with lime and chilli) and salt and pepper to taste, until still warm. 


    Green tea pumpkin seeds

    1- 1 1/4 cup whole pumpkin seeds (cleaned, remove pulp and strings,
    wipe with paper towel and let dry)
    1 Tbsp. canola oil
    1/2 Tbsp. salt
    1 tsp. green tea powder or matcha

    Preheat oven to 275 F (135 C).  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Mix the ingredients in a bowl and spread it on the foil lined baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.  Let cool and store in an air-tight container.


    Salted Lupini beans (Tormos)

    1 cup dried lupini
    2 cups water
    1 tsp sea salt per 2 cups of water

    Lupini beans looks like a regular beans but it is bitter and needs to be soaked in salted water for a few days to remove the bitterness and alkaloids.
    Soak the beans in salted water overnight. The next day, drain the water, rinse the beans and make a new salted water solution. Add beans, and bring it to a boil. Let it simmer for 7-10 minutes. Drain water and soak again in salted water. Change water twice a day and do this for at least five days. Taste a bean. If you taste any bitterness, soak again for another day, changing water twice a day. Process can last for up to two weeks, until there is no bitterness anymore.
    To serve as a snack, drain desired quantity of beans, drizzle with olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper.

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