Fried Chickpeas

Nei kadalai is one of my favorite snacks and it brings me back fond memories associated with this delicious savory during my childhood days. I still cherish those happy days with my father who used to bring nei kadalai and Tirunelveli halwa whenever he visited me. Our family get-together is incomplete without savory nei kadalai and sweet halwa. These goodies are popular in Tirunelveli, Madurai and other surrounding places.


Cooking time: 20 min

Yields: 1½ cup


  1. Split chickpeas (split Bengal gram or kadalai paruppu) – 1 cup (200 g)
  2. Garlic – 10 pods (or 1 bulb)
  3. Curry leaves – 2 sprigs
  4. Red chilli powder – 1/8 tsp
  5. Salt – 1/4 tsp
  6. Groundnut oil, I used about 400 ml for deep frying


  • Wash & soak chickpeas for 2 hours; soaked lentils get doubled in quantity (ie. 2 cups).
  • Drain water completely and spread on a towel till water is completely absorbed (about 30-45 min).
  • Wash curry leaves and keep aside on a towel to absorb water.
  • Heat a deep frying pan with oil in high flame.
  • When oil reaches the temperature of 200 deg C (just before its boiling point), reduce the flame to medium.
  • Ideally you can deep fry these lentils between 160 & 190 deg C.
  • Place 1/3 cup of lentils onto a wire skimmer and immerse into hot oil.
  • Leave it until sizzling sound begins to settle.
  • Remove skimmer from oil when lentils are in yellow color (even before turning golden).
  • Place fried chickpeas on a tissue towel to absorb excess oil.
  • Repeat the same for next batch of chickpeas (totally 6 batches- 6 times 1/3 cup gives 2 cups).
  • It took 2 to 3 minutes for frying, depending upon the temperature.

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  • Add red chilli powder and salt to the hot lentils.
  • Finally you can fry curry leaves & crushed garlic (as shown in the picture) for garnishing.
  • Store fried chickpeas in an air-tight container when they reach room temperature.
  • Serve delicious nei kadalai along with hot tea or coffee in the evening.

Please Note:

  • I used cold-pressed groundnut oil; alternatively you can use coconut oil or any neutral oil.
  • Frying chickpeas inside wired skimmer helps to fry them uniformly and also helps to gather them easily.
  • It is important to remove chickpeas from oil before they turn golden as they get cooked even after removing from oil;  otherwise they become hard to bite.
  • I have added garlic generously, if you want you can reduce or leave garlic.
  • I have crushed garlic pods along with their skin to enhance its flavor.
  • You can also fry minced ginger along with crushed garlic.
  • You may add pepper powder instead of red chilli powder.
  • You can add 1/4 tsp of hot ghee (clarified butter) and mix well before serving to enhance the flavor & taste.

72 Comments Add yours

  1. Wow!! Great recipe, I will try.

    1. Megala says:


  2. elsie says:

    Mouth watering..Looks yummy

    1. Megala says:

      Yes, sure they are! Thanks!

  3. My Real Dish says:

    Great snack full of protein! Do you ever put them in salads? I bet that would be yummy!

    1. Megala says:

      Anything & everything with chickpeas is really delicious!

  4. I love chickpeas! I wanted to try something different with them so I seasoned them and put them in the oven. They were going to be a crunchy snack…epic fail! I have never heard of frying them so thats next on my list! Thanks for sharing

    1. Megala says:

      Oh! Nice to know that! Thanks a lot!

  5. The Life Excerpts says:

    Omy we never miss the chance of buying it whenever we spot the wanderer 😃.

    1. Megala says:

      Yes, they are so tempting that we can not miss a chance of buying them!

  6. kittysverses says:

    Thanks for sharing this Megala. I was wondering whether you could please share the recipe of vadacurry. I so like it, but unsure as to prepare it.

    1. Megala says:

      Sure, will do! Thanks for stopping by!

      1. kittysverses says:

        Thank you very much Megala 🙂

  7. foodzesty says:

    Great recipe, sounds so interesting. You only soak the chickpeas for 2 hours? I leave them in a bowl with water all night long 🙂

    1. Megala says:

      Yes, I used split chickpeas, so do not require over night soaking and 2 hours of soaking is just enough.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  8. LisaDay says:

    I have had roasted chickpeas, but not fried. Too spicy for me, although I might try it without the heat!

    1. Megala says:

      Yes, you can very well try with just salt, no need to add pepper or chilli powder. Btw,thank you for stopping by!

  9. chefkreso says:

    This is something my friend borught with her when we went hiking, it is so refreshing and tasty!

    1. Megala says:

      Thank you! Glad that you got an opportunity to taste it!

  10. priyanjali says:

    This looks so yummy! My favorite 😋

    1. Megala says:

      Thank you!

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