|Chickpea or Kabuli Chana|
The thing that I both love and hate about experimenting with food is that I end up demystifying it to some people. My favourite example is when one of my friends while having a plate of Hummus, was absolutely saddened to find out that it is nothing more than a paste of Chickpeas or White Chana as we call it here in India. Until then having a plate of ‘Hummus with pita bread’ was a novel experience but the minute you find out it is a just a mashed up version of Cholay it does not hold the same charm anymore. But on the bright side, it is simple information like this that makes experimenting with foreign cuisine accessible and much simpler than we make it out to be in out head.
I had recently done the same with a couple of popular Middle-eastern dishes. What I was shocked to find was the amount of Chickpea they use in their food. You feed that much protein to some people I know and they would be suffering from acute acidity by the end of the day. Jokes aside, what I found really surprising was the fact that most of the recipes were extremely easy to follow. Too easy I would say because all you have to do is mash up the ingredients together. But before you start out on this Middle Eastern journey you must have a jar of ‘Tahini’ with you. For those who are unaware Tahini is a paste made from ground, sesame seeds also called ‘Til’ in the local language.
If you are new to the cuisine, then you should start out with the basics. Hummus, Falafel, Pita Bread and a fabulous dip called Baba Ghanoush.
|A plate of Hummus|
1 clove garlic
1 can of boiled chickpeas
1/4 cup of the liquid from chickpeas
4 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons tahini
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
Pour the chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini, chopped garlic and salt in blender. Blend until creamy and well mixed. Pour some Olive oil on top and serve.
|Falafel served with a pita bread and salad|
1 cup boiled chickpeas.
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons of fresh parsley
1 teaspoon coriander (dhaniya powder)
1 teaspoon cumin (saunf powder)
2 tablespoons flour
Combine chickpeas, garlic, onion, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper in medium bowl. Add flour.
Mash chickpeas and the ingredients together.
Form the mixture into small balls. Slightly flatten.
Fry in 2 inches of oil until golden brown (5-7 minutes).
1 package of yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 cup lukewarm water
The first step is to make a dough (This is just like kneading dough for rotis only with the addition of yeast, sugar and salt in the flour)
Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Let sit for 10-15 minutes until water is frothy.
Combine flour and salt in large bowl and pour yeast water and 1 cup of warm water and knead the dough .
Coat large bowl with vegetable oil and place dough in bowl. Turn dough upside down so all of the dough is coated.Allow to sit in a warm place for about 3 hours, or until it has doubled in size.
Once doubled, roll out and pinch off 10-12 small pieces. Place balls on floured surface. Let sit covered for 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 500 deg F and make sure rack is at the very bottom of oven.
Roll out each ball of dough with a rolling pin into circles.
Bake each circle for 4 minutes until the bread puffs up. Turnover and bake for 2 minutes.
Remove each pita with a spatula and gently push down puff.
1 eggplant (Brinjal)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup tahini
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
Smoke the Eggplant and peel the skin off. This can be done either in the oven or on the gas stove, the same way while making Baingan ka Bharta.
(For Oven: Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Roast eggplant for 30 to 40 minutes, until soft)
Place smoked eggplant, lemon juice, tahini, sesame seeds, and garlic in an electric blender, and puree.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Slowly mix in olive oil. Refrigerate for 3 hours before serving.