August 20, 2011

Book Review: Stir It Up with Spicy Fried Channa (Chickpeas)

I love food fiction and read lots of them every month. But, there are very few who manage to bring a smile on my face at their very first page. Stir It Up is one such book written by Ramin Ganeshram. The writing is so fresh and evocative. It has recipes yes, but it has recipes for something you wouldn't find anywhere else. It gives you how to make a "Be Who You Are Bread", a recipe for "Ambition" and a recipe for "Redemption". :-)

It is a story of Anjali Krishnan, a 13-year old who lives with her Dad, Mom, Deema and her brother in Queens along with many other Trinidaddians and  Guyanese families. She loves food and aspires to have a show on Food Network one day. The story is all about how she struggles and sacrifices many things in her life to achieve the same.

We all dream. Don't we. and We all have  secret aspirations buried deep within us and we want them to be fulfilled in this lifetime. Anjali has the same determination and just like ours, her ride too to success is not smooth at all. Say for instance, Anjali's father who runs a Roti Shop wishes his children to do something different. Little did he know that Anjali had the same passion like he and Deema had and she would take the same route and carve her own destiny in it.

Ramin did an amazing job in bringing each of her characters to life and she managed to take the reader (me) to tag along Anjali's journey to become a Food Network Star. At the end of each chapter you have a recipe and each recipe will make you hungry. The book says it is teen-fiction, but I say it is for everybody. A fun-read and you would never know when the 176 pages are over.

I bookmarked almost every recipe from the book but chose to make "Spicy Fried Channa (Chickpeas)" as I was craving for something spicy and crunchy to munch on.

Spicy Fried Channa (Chickpeas)

As delectable as it sound & look-like, these fried goodies also very easy to make. If using canned chickpeas, the prep time will be reduced considerably. I used fresh ones while making this recipe. 

Here is what I did for chickpeas: Soak 2 cups dry chickpeas over night in filtered water and then pressure cook them with enough water on HIGH heat for 9-12 minutes. Let the pressure be released naturally and there you have boiled chickpeas ready for use. I normally cook atleast 5-6 cups and freeze them. When required, all you have to do is thaw them a bit.


In a small bowl, whisk together - (1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper + 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper + 3/4 tsp salt + 1/2 tsp onion powder + 1/2 tsp garlic powder). Keep aside.

2. Heat enough oil in a frying pan and carefully add the chickpeas by gently spooning  them into hot oil. Make sure to use a long-handled metal spoon and stay away from it as chickpeas tend to splatter and pop up while frying.

3. Allow them to fry for 3-4 mins or until light golden brown. Remove them on a pan with paper towels to drain excess oil. Transfer them into a deep bowl and sprinkle & toss the spice powder little by little so that chickpeas are evenly coated. I didn't use the entire spice mixture for this. I have saved the rest in an air tigh container to be used for the next batch.

Serves as an awesome snack and I bet, you cannot stop with just a few!

I can't wait to read Ramin's next already. Wishing her all the very best and Congratulations on Stir It Up's success. . Just the fact that this book had managed to sell 140,000 copies before it was even released in August speaks volumes about its immense popularity.

until next time,


  1. Hmm! looks yummy need to buy chickpeas tomorrow.

    Do check out my event and send your recipe here:

  2. I need to read this book now :) sounds interesting

  3. Good review Siri and I love those masala chickpeas. Maybe you can review one of my books if I ever manage to write one.

    Just to be sure, we are stir-frying the Chana in oil and not deep frying, right?

  4. Archana - Will do.

    Deesha - Indeed a lovely read. I hope you will grab one.

    Jaya - Thanks and it would be my pleasure to review your book(s). :-). Chickpeas are deep-fried in this recipe.

  5. Nice review Siri. Will surely read this :)


'Thought is the blossom; language the bud; action the fruit behind it' ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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