Sweet chickpea powder (Na3oomeh)

May 17, 2013  •  Category: ,


Beirut is a city that is fast becoming unrecognizable to those of us who grew up here; Ottoman-style homes with inner courtyards, street cart vendors and baskets lowered from balconies are nearly all gone; this is why when I went searching for this candy called na3oomeh I came home empty-handed. One man I asked told me I needed to go to Sidon and look for it in the old souks. Luckily, Asma, my trusted friend, chef, and go-to person for all things traditional and culinary, knew exactly where to find some and promptly got me a bag.

This candy will be remembered by some as the one that cart vendors would hawk yelling in the streets “na3oomeh, na3oomeh”. My friend Hoda tells me she never tasted it because her mother forbade  her from touching  anything that was sold in the streets. The cart vendor would quickly wrap it in a paper cone and hand it out to kids after school. 

It is simply roasted chickpeas and sugar. As fine as flour. Delicious. 

It could be made at home with a good coffee grinder. These colored candied chickpeas are still sold nowadays and I found them at the Dallas Middle-Eastern grocery store. I would try to grind them as fine as possible; however, I bet it would not come out as fine as this one which is made in a commercial flour mill. 

chickpea powder


23 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Rosa says:

    That is interesting! Here, we are not used to eating candies made with legumes…



  2. Belinda @zomppa says:

    What an amazing treat! Simple and (sort of healthy?)

    • Joumana says:

      @Belinda: well, it is roasted chickpeas with a little sugar; when my daughter was testing it she said it would need a lot more sugar to get popular in the US.

  3. Vanita says:

    Hi Joumana,

    I was in Dallas last week and went to Ali Baba twice in 5 days and when i came back i saw you had written about this on your blog.
    I loved the food there and was excited to have Toom as i have made it a couple of times but i got to try it there.I also loved the Mousaka and searched for it on your blog.
    I made it last night and it came out good.I have also made the Ashtalieh this morning.Have also tried the Muhammara and came out good.
    Love your recipes.
    Keep going to look out for Lebanese/Turkish ingredients and have manged to get most of them.

  4. Wizzy says:

    how very interesting. Here in the Caribbean we have a version of this but use parched corn instead of the chickpeas. Its not made as much anymore but I go crazy whenever I see it on sale. It just takes me back to my childhood days.

  5. leaf says:

    This is a really interesting confection! Especially intriguing is how it comes in powder form.

  6. samir says:

    great post..in a rush to modernize and westernize, in the name of progress ,so much beauty and rich culture has been lost sadly..Beirut and so many cities throughout the Levant ie Amman long ago were mesmerizing ,, intricate ornate architecture,tile work,doorways. ottoman villas etc.those lovely tranquil inner courtyards or liwans are fading memories in homes..beyond me why present day architects dont at least incorpate the liwan concept in newer homes in the sham ,, why does everything have to be so homogenized and bland..??

    • Joumana says:

      @Samir: This is a worldwide phenomenon, except in a few places where there is a strong popular attachment to history and traditions. Also, money talks, everywhere.

  7. Gabi says:

    Interesting. My local shop has them, too. I’ld never have imagined they should be ground. Maybe I give it a try some time.

  8. Gabi says:

    Oh, and thanks for sharing ♡

  9. Lisa the Gourmet Wog says:

    wow, this concept is completely new to me! I’d going to clean out the coffee in my grinder and give this a go!

  10. Alicia (foodycat) says:

    How interesting! I imagine it tastes sort of like halva?

    • Joumana says:

      @Alicia: no, it tastes like chickpea powder with sugar, these are a candy that is roasted chickpea coated in powdered sugar; it is a lot drier than halvah, but no leass delicious.

  11. Susan says:

    Wonderful memories of the vendors. How sad that some of those lifestyles have changed there.

  12. Nuts about food says:

    It is sad to think the old Beirut is slowly disappearing… like so many beautiful places. That is why it is so important that people like you remind and/or teach us these old traditions.

  13. sweffling says:

    Old Beirut sounds wonderful: I wonder why such character is being destroyed, surely it represents a long cultural tradition and would be good for the tourist industry? The candied chickpeas look so pretty and sound gorgeous.

    • Joumana says:

      @Sweffling: Money talks; building a 15-story building snd selling each floor brings in millions. A historic home requires expenditures for renovations.

  14. Jamie says:

    This is utterly intriguing. I agree how sad it is when old traditional foods disappear and give way to industrial treats. This is very cool but I’m trying to understand the connection between the sweet chickpea powder and the pretty little balls. Thanks! And thanks for always sharing these traditional foods, dishes and ingredients. We all need a go-to expert 🙂

  15. Robyn Kalajian says:

    This reminds me of a recipe we serve at christenings – Hassa- which combines roasted, ground chickpeas with powdered sugar, spices, and specific candied items: http://www.thearmeniankitchen.com/2013/04/hassa-our-familys-recipe-for.html

  16. Viviane@Taste-Buds says:

    My dad used to make those by pounding “2dameh” and sugar. When I was a kid, I used to love the chickpeas with colored sugar shells that you show in your picture, I dunno how I feel about them now, it has been a long time since I had them!

  17. Mary says:

    How interesting. We have the same thing in Iran, and it is so delish. Another variety is powdered annis/ fennel and powdered sugar.

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