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Chickpea Salad Like at Chinese Buffets and Delis?

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I'm wondering if anyone know how to make chickpea salad like the one you find at most chinese buffets and delis. It looks rather simple with a clear sauce (not creamy), very small carrots and some herbs.. I have been trying to reproduce it for a few years now, I have probably made it over 50 times but can never figure out the best way to make it.

I basically drain and rinse a can of chickpeas in a colander, then in a plastic bowl I mix olive oil, red wine vinegar, add some salt, black pepper, dried parsley, grated carrot. I have tried many combinations but it's either bland tasting, or too vinegary.

I'm not interested in fancy salad recipes with nuts or complicated ingredients, just the chinese buffet one will suffice. Thanks!

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  1. I have never seen chickpea salad using olive oil and red wine vinegar in any Chinese buffets. And dried parsley? It is an herb rarely if ever used in Chinese cooking.

    1. i have never seen chickpeas in a chinese restaurant, nor do i think of red wine vinegar or olive oil as chinese condiments. you also won't get much flavor from dried parsley. have you tried sesame oil? rice vinegar? fresh herbs?

      if you buy it a deli, have you ever asked the owner what's in it?

      1. Good Seasonings Italian salad dressing mix, make with half fresh squeezed lemon juice and half vinegar that they call for on the packet. Pour it on the chickpeas & grated carrot.

        5 Replies
          1. re: hotoynoodle

            I think the OP is thinking of a Chinese or Korean deli buffet... like in NYC... they pretty much serve everything

            1. re: cheesecake17

              @cheesecak17: thank you!

              Yes, I have lived all over and most places have chinese buffets that have like 100+ items and a salad bar. Just wondering if people know how to make chickpea salad similar to the ones found there.

              I have looked online and most of them are way to wild for my taste. I'm a relatively simple kind of guy and grew up loving that particular style found at these chinese buffets.

              It is most definitely NOT a chinese dish in its own right, but rather a mass-produced, cheap to make - yet tasty, perhaps Chinese view on what Americans/Canadians like.

              1. re: classacts

                glad I could help! Next time I pop into the Korean deli for a cup of coffee, I'll take a look at the chickpea salad and see if I can come up with something.

          2. re: weezycom

            Thanks, I will try to find that seasoning. Do you mean white, balsamic, black or wine vinegar? Most recipes I've seen call for wine or balsamic but whenever I made it, it never tasted the same as what I remember. Also, no oil?

            Thanks!