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COOK | Aglaia's Chickpeas and Toasted Bread with Yogurt-Tahini Sauce (Fattet Hummus)

Aglaia KremeziComment

Recipe + Words © Aglaia Kremezi | Photograph © Penny de los Santos from Mediterranean Vegetarian Feasts (reprinted with permission of Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2014)

Fattet Hummus is “one of the many exquisite Arabic dishes that revolve around dayold bread,” writes Annia Ciezadlo in Day of Honey. Fattet means “crushed” or “crumb” and refers to the bread pieces that form the base of several ingeniously delicious and frugal dishes. Pieces of stale pita are given new life when toasted. Spread on a platter, they absorb the juices of the chickpeas (hummus in Arabic) and complement their earthy flavor. Meat, poultry, fried or stuffed eggplants, and many other combinations of ingredients go well with the chickpeas. After countless experiments, I’ve settled on a combination of pita and cubes of toasted multigrain bread—the combination yields a crunchier, more robust base. This is one of the few dishes in the book that needs to be finished just before serving. But most of its elements—the chickpeas as well as the yogurt-tahini sauce—can be prepared in advance.

Serves 4 to 6

INGREDIENTS: 
For the chickpeas:
¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
3 cups (600 g) precooked chickpeas, preferably not canned
½ to 1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 to 2 teaspoons Maras pepper or a good pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
1½ cups (360 ml) chickpea cooking broth, or ½ cup (120 ml) white wine and 1 cup (240 ml) vegetable stock or water, plus more as needed
Salt

For the sauce:
1½ cups (275 g) Greek-style yogurt
2/3 cup (160 ml) tahini
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste

For serving:
3 to 4 stale pita breads, preferably whole-grain
2 to 3 slices stale multigrain bread, diced
Good, fruity olive oil, for drizzling
¼ cup (25 g) pine nuts, toasted
Dried oregano, mint, or any dried or fresh herb you like
Maras pepper or crushed red pepper flakes, for sprinkling
1 or 2 lemons, quartered

PROCEDURE:

Make the chickpeas: Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, turmeric, chickpeas, cumin, and Maras pepper. Toss a few times until the garlic starts to sizzle. Add the broth and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the chickpeas are tender and about 1 cup (240 ml) broth is left in the pan. Remove from the heat, taste, and adjust the seasoning. Cover and set aside until needed.

Make the sauce: In a bowl, stir together the yogurt and the tahini. Add the garlic, salt to taste, and lemon juice. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Stir in 2 to 3 tablespoons water to thin the sauce just to the point that it is pourable. Cover and store in the refrigerator until needed.

To finish and serve: Preheat the broiler.

Open the pita (divide them horizontally) and crumble into large pieces or cut them in triangles or ribbons. Spread them on a baking sheet with the cubed bread. Place under the broiler and toast for 2 minutes, toss, and broil for 1 to 2 minutes more, until deep golden brown. Line the bottom of a deep serving dish with most of the toasted pita and bread, reserving a handful to garnish.

Meanwhile, gently reheat the chickpeas, adding more broth if they look dry. There should be ? to 1 cup (160 to 240 ml) broth in the pan. Spoon the chickpeas and broth evenly over the toasted bread. Stir the yogurt-tahini sauce and pour it over the chickpeas.

Drizzle with good, fruity olive oil; sprinkle with pine nuts, oregano, and Maras pepper and garnish with the reserved pita and bread. Serve immediately in soup plates or bowls, passing a bottle of good, fruity olive oil and additional herbs, Maras pepper, and lemon quarters at the table.

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