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Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Spiced Boiled Brown Chickpea Snack | Gram Bouilli - A Mauritian Snack

spiced brown chickpea snack, recette gram bouilli, Mauritian recipe

Previously featured here, the spiced boiled brown chickpea snack is simply irresistible for a year round anytime nibble. Locally we call this snack "gram bouilli", gram for the brown chickpeas and bouilli (pronounced bwee) literally means boiled. The chickpeas are boiled then sauteed and spiced. I remember the days when I used to buy this snack after school. Very often, the sellers would come onto the bus with their basket full of these chickpea snacks, nuts and other nibbles; I would always grab a couple bags of the boiled chickpea ones and munch on the way. They somehow made the bus journeys more pleasant.

I make this snack very often and since I can no longer tolerate onions and garlic very well, I do not usually include them in my recipe. In this version however (which is a slight variation of the previous recipe), I decided to add in the onions since the original recipe calls for them.

spiced brown chickpea snack, recette gram bouilli, Mauritian recipe

If you cannot find brown chickpeas, you can still make this with regular chickpeas. But I do recommend you try the brown version as they have a more roasted, earthy and smoky kind of flavour to them that gives this snack its characteristic taste. You can usually find brown chickpeas in Asian/Indian stores; I haven't really seen it in regular grocery stores neither health stores. And if you are wondering what else you could do with them, I use them in curries or just throw them into a tossed salad for a satisfying bite.

I make this snack regularly to entertain our late movie nights binge-watching one series after another on Netflix. Merlin is the current one our view list. By the way, if you have any recommendations for any shows, drop me a word; I am always curious about what other people are watching.

So here goes the recipe and video. You can totally adjust the spices to your liking and use less oil or skip it altogether and use water instead if you wish.

Ingredients (5-6 servings)
1 cup [200g brown chickpeas (yield 450g boiled)
5-6 green chilies (adjust to taste)
10-12 fresh curry leaves (or 2-3 bay leaves depending on size)
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (or 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds)
1 small onion (about 1/4 cup sliced, adjust to taste)
1-2 tablespoons coconut oil (vegetable oil or any cooking oil is good too)
Salt to taste
Chopped coriander leaves for garnish (optional)

Soak the brown chickpeas overnight or for at least 8 hours. Once soaked, drain the water and rinse. Place chickpeas in a deep pan, cover with fresh water so that water is just covering the chickpeas. Cover the pan and boil until chickpeas are soft (30-40 minutes). You may need to lift the cover and remove the froth from time to time to avoid the liquid from boiling over. Add water if it dries out. Once boiled, drain and save the chickpea liquid for other recipes. Keep chickpeas aside.

In a skillet or fry pan, heat 1-2 tablespoons oil on medium heat. Add the onions and fry for 1-2 minutes. Add the chilies followed by the fenugreek seeds, paprika and curry leaves. Allow to cook for 1 - 2 minutes to release the aroma but do not let it burn. Next add the chickpeas. Stir and cook for 3 - 4 minutes. Add salt to taste. Turn off heat. Serve warm or at room temperature. You may garnish with some coriander leaves (or cilantro) to serve.

spiced brown chickpea snack, recette gram bouilli, Mauritian recipe


  1. I wish someone over here would come on the bus and sell these! They sound like an awesome snack.

    1. Ha, yes it's not very common over here either to have sellers on the bus.

  2. What a great snack idea! Never ever knew there was such a thing as a brown chickpea, I'll have to look for it next time I'm at the Asian supermarket. :-)

    1. Yeah, I noticed that brown chickpeas are not that common in regular grocery stores. Shame because they are really tasty. I hope you find some and try them out.

  3. Those sound right up my street - I love anything with curry leaves in. I don't see brown chick peas often enough, so the next time I do, I'll snap some of them up with this recipe in mind!


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