Tag Archives: mezze

Chickpea Spread [Hummus]

21 Sep
Hummus simply means chickpea in Arabic and that is the main ingredient in this delicious spread. A super fast nutritious food that is versatile and easy to make, particularly if you have a blender. 
Prep+Cook 10 mins
  • 300-500g cooked and cooled chickpeas or tinned chick peas
  • 2 fat cloves garlic crushed
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • sea salt

  • Paprika or cayenne pepper if you like it spicy.
  • Lemon zest

Drain and rinse the chickpeas if using tinned but keep the cooking liquid if you have freshly cooked chickpeas. Put everything into a blender and give it a wiz until you have a smooth paste, adding a little water or cooking liquor if necessary to get a good consistency. Pour into a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle a little more paprika on top and the grated zest of a lemon. Hummus will keep for about 1 week in the fridge.
Cook’s TIP To use dried chickpeas, which do taste better, soak in water overnight then simmer for about 1 hour until they are tender, use the cooking liquor to thin the hummus.
Variations you can add fresh coriander, crushed cumin, preserved lemon, tahini or sesame seeds to the blend for extra flavour or variation.
Nutrition Hummus is also high in fibre and said to help reduce cholesterol.
This recipe was originally posted on www.masdudiable.com on 15/6/2006, I’ve just harvested our first crop of chickpeas which remonded me to update this recipe with a new picture and text.

Aubergine Dip (Arabic)

23 Sep

Aubergine caviar or baba ghanoush is a classic Arabic dip of roasted, mashed aubergine flesh seasoned with spices and lemon juice. Served with flat breads it is a lovely appetizer or makes a fine contribution to a meal of little dishes or meze (mezze).

Seasoned mashed aubergine flesh, is a divine way to eat aubergines. I first encountered Baba ghanoush in Edinburgh, when I used to visit a friend who had a lovely little deli on the corner of her road. They made their own baba ghanoush and I always bought a tub of it on my way to visit her. The secret to a good Aubergine Caviar is the quality of the aubergines so use only the freshest, best tasting aubergines.

Serves 6 approximately
basic recipe

  • 4 medium aubergines
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon (a little zest too if you like)
  • sea salt
  • cracked black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed

The aubergines need to be cooked first by baking in an oven or roasting over a charcoal flame. The charcoal will add more flavour but so long as the skin blackens a little in the oven the smoky flavour, that makes this dish so delightful, will come through. Prick the aubergines several times with a fork then cook until the flesh is soft.
Allow to cool then scrape the aubergine flesh into a bowl and discard the skin. Add the lemon juice seasoning, garlic and half the oil. Mash with a fork or use a blender to make a smooth puree, depending on the texture you like. Adjust seasoning and serve drizzled with the remaining oil. You can vary the seasoning and add your favourite herbs or spices, see the variations for ideas. My personal preference is to add lightly crushed green coriander seeds or mustard seeds, a little cumin and coriander leaf. The version pictured has yogurt, a little ground cumin seed and is dusted with powdered cayenne chilli, but you could also add grated onion, mint, parsley, or coriander. I never seem to make it the same way twice.

Variations from around the world
There are many versions of mashed or pureed aubergine flesh to be found around the world; from the southern Mediterranean, throughout the middle east and into India, so there must be something to it,
In Turkey thick sheep’s yogurt is sometimes added, about 5-6 tablespoons for this quantity of aubergine puree but use less oil.
In Armenia chopped coriander and onion might be added
In Morocco harrissa might be added
In Syria and Lebanon pomegranate molasses may be used instead of lemon as the souring agent
In Egypt and other parts of the middle east Tahini may be added
In Italy agresto and basil might be added
In IndiaBaingan Bartha is a cooked dish where the aubergine flesh is fried with spices and tomato and onions.

Classic Spicy Side Salad

24 Jul

This is a classic side salad. A refreshingly tangy salad of tomatoes, onions and cucumber straight from the garden with a hint of chilli and lemon which gives it the piquancy. Salads like this are found all around India, the mediteranean and middle east. It makes an excellent summer side salad and goes well with grilled meats and curries.

  • 3-4 tomatoes
  • 2 small white onions
  • 1 or 2 small cucumbers, peeled
  • lemon juice
  • salt & pepper
  • pinch of sugar
  • pinch of chilli flakes or chili powder
  • Optional herbs; flat leaf parsley, mint or coriander finely chopped.

Finely chop the onion, tomato and cucumber, add the citrus juice, season with salt, pepper, sugar and chilli to taste and give it a good mix. Serve immediately sprinkled with herbs.


Broad Bean Falafel (Egyptian)

11 May

Falafel or dried bean rissoles are middle eastern in origin, most commonly made with chick peas or dried broad beans. My version is made with broad beans and loads of fresh green herbs. I like to serve them as a light meal with a green salad or salsa and bowl of dipping sauce.

Serves 4-6 Prep 60 min Cook 20 min

  • 300g dried broad beans
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 large handfuls flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 large handful coriander
  • 1 handful chives
  • 8-10 cloves garlic crushed
  •  1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp roasted freshly ground cumin
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp crushed chilli flakes
  • 3 tablespoons water (if necessary)
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Put the dried broad beans in a large bowl cover with water and leave overnight to soak. Drain and rinse the broad beans and remove the skins, this is a tricky time consuming business. At this point the raw beans can be frozen. I often prepare a larger quantity and freeze in 500g batches, as they are handy to have in the freezer ready to make this dish at short notice.

Put the beans, onion, garlic, baking powder, salt and pepper, cumin and chilli in a food processor. Pulse to form a coarse paste. Add the fresh herbs, you can experiment with different herbs such as tarragon, lovage, fennel whatever green herbs you have growing in the garden, and pulse until blended. Add a little water if necessary and process until the mixture has a fairly smooth texture and should be bright green. I like my falafel moist inside and make my paste on the wet side.

Heat 3-6 inches of oil in a saucepan or fryer until it is hot. Scoop a tablespoon of the falafel mixture and with a second tablespoon press and form the shape of the two spoons together slip the falafel off the spoon into the hot oil and fry in small batches of 4-6 at a time depending on the size of the pan until browned and crisp, about 2-5 minutes. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper. They are ready to serve immediately

Makes about 2 dozen Falafel

Source: Adapted from Claudia Roden’s Falafel in Mediterranean Cookery

Suggested Dipping Sauces

* Lemon Dip: Lemon juice, salt & pepper.
* Tzajiki: Grated cucumber, yogurt, garlic and mint
* Tomato Salsa: Tomato, onion, parsley and sumac

Cook’s Tip dried broad beans already skinned can be bought in some specialist delis.

This recipe was originally posted on www.masdudiable.comon 11/5/2006.