Semian is a spicy fried noodle, traditionally made from a paste of chickpea flour, spices, salt and orange food coloring. Afghans serve this savory snack to guests at weddings or special parties. I love semian but I'm not a fan of food coloring or frying
Recently I discovered a healthy, delicious alternative to the traditional semian with the same crunch and spicy zing of the real stuff. I'm calling my concoction faux-semian.
Trader Joe's Crunchy Curls snack, faux-semian's main ingredient, is made with chickpeas, lentils and potatoes, It has a light simple taste that appeals to my daughter Sofia but lacks the seasoning I expect for a satisfying snack.
In my effort to add flavor to the curls, I experimented with yogurt dip, lemon juice, and various hot sauces. It came as a surprise to discover that a dash of Tabasco sauce transforms the Crunchy Curls into the spicy, flavorful snack of my childhood, semian . The main difference being that the Crunchy Curls are much thicker than the traditional semian.
I was hesitant about sharing my finding fearing backlash from foodies who turn up their noses to recipes that come from a bag. But, my UFF (uber-foodie friend), Katie, gave her stamp of approval once I explained my joy with making a traditional Afghan snack from two American ingredients.
I apologize to readers who don't have a Trader Jose's store nearby, perhaps it's time to move. You can add this snack to your super bowl party menu or serve as an appetizers at a casual dinner party.
Afghan Spicy, Crunchy, Chickpea Snack
Heat oven to 350 degrees
Bag of Trader Jose's Crunchy Curls
1 tablespoon tabasco sauce, adjust heat to your taste.
Empty the Crunchy Curls in a large mixing bowl. The mixing of the Tabasco sauce is a two person job. One person drizzles the Tabasco and the other tosses the Curls quickly so the sauce is evenly distributed. Pour contents of the bowl onto a cookie sheet, bake for 10 minutes. Let it cool and serve.