I wanted these to be just like the smoked-salmon blini that people love, only all plant based. If you can, it is best to make the 'caviar' a few days in advance so the charcoal dissolves completely. If the pearls get too stuck together, pour over a little boiling water and separate with a fork.
NOTE This recipe will give you leftover chickpeas and smoked carrot. These are great additions to soups or fritters. I like to make a smoked carrot and chickpea chowder by frying up finely chopped onions, leek and celery, then adding the chopped smoked carrot and drained chickpeas along with some diced potato, sprigs of thyme, a tin of chopped tomatoes and some vegetable stock and simmer until the potatoes are cooked. Season with salt, pepper and some hot chilli sauce if liked.