March 8, 2014

Grilled Turkey and a Polenta Spinach Gratin.

If you are new to my blog  --- please read the introductory welcome note on the right hand side of this page.

I feel terrible for not updating this blog in a long, long time. It's not that I stopped cooking, far from it ...but it's just not sure why...anyways, what does it matter? am back and hope to be regular in my contributions, again.

So let's start with something simple and very easy to prepare in less than 30mn with a cooking time of about 20mn max.

For 2 you will need the following :

2 largish pieces of Turkey slices thinly sliced.

Let's start with marinating the turkey first.

1 tbs of olive oil,
1 smallish tsp of ground powder ginger
1 smallish tsp of garlic powder
1 tbs of non salty soya sauce (salt makes the meat hard),
1 flat tbs of dried basilicum
1flat tsp of 7 spices (a spice mix of rose petals, cardamom, cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon) if you don't have this in your country, just use an all spice mix.

Mix everything together and pour over raw turkey - make sure that the pieces of poultry are well imbued with the mix. Set aside.

Now for the polenta and spinach gratin. 

2 largish cups of frozen spinach
1 cup of polenta (non Genetically modified cornmeal)
1 spring onion chopped
1 flat tbs of mixed dried herbs
1 flat tsp of ground cumin
1 flat tsp of nutmeg
1 tsp of olive oil
1/2 tbs of mixed dried herbs
1 small onion sliced in thin rings
1/2 cup of grated cheese.

Spinach preparation.

in a saucepan, put oil, add chopped spring onion, add spinach still frozen, mix well, let it all thaw, add a tiny bit of water so it will not dry up, add nutmeg and salt if you wish until the spinach is tender but not overcooked. Make sure it is not soggy. So easy on the water as spinach gives its own water.

Polenta preparation

Follow directions on your pack for one cup of polenta. I personally use a mixture of half water and half full milk -- bring it to boil, pour in the polenta gently stirring on a low heat (polenta cooks quickly like 3 mn), then add while stirring the cumin, dried herbs and salt to taste. Polenta must be thickish in texture not soggy.

Once both spinach and polenta are ready, get a deep oven dish, place the spinach then cover with the polenta, addonion rings, top it with the grated cheese and sprinkle a little nutmeg on top.
Place in oven at about 150 temp for 15 mn or so until cheese melts and you see onions turning golden.

Now grilling the Turkey filet   Heat a grill pan FIRST then lower heat, and grill your turkey slices until cooked to your liking.

Serve with a salad - I made one with sliced carrots, walnuts, rocca, and tomatoes in a vinaigrette made of : olive oil,  balsamic honey vinegar, 1 tsp of mayo, a squeeze of mustard, mixed herbs, salt, and pepper, shake it all in a jar and pour over your salad mix.

Fig mustard goes very nicely with the Turkey slices.

Enjoy and don't forget to feed someone if you try this recipe.

November 3, 2012

Lentils & Vegetables Potée

Hi Everyone, I know, I know, been away for some time. But am back with a new recipe, both extremely easy to prepare, very tasty and very nourishing.
It's a Potée of Lentils and vegetables. Potée is just the French word for a lentils/beans stew
So let's start but first, please read my welcome note if you are new to this blog, and yes it is an order.

For 2 people you will need the following ingredients :

- 1 cup of rinsed, soaked in cold water BROWN lentils (not green not black not orange but brown)
- 2 cups of BOILING water
- 1/2 cube of beef/ chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 medium Carrot, washed, peeled, and cut in smallish cubes (cut carrot down the middle vertically and then chop)
- 1 medium size onion chopped
- 1 medium potato peeled and cut in medium chunks
- 1 turnip, washed and cut into chunks
- 4  florets of broccoli 
- half a leek , washed and cut into round slices (not too thin)
- 2 gloves of garlic squashed
-  4  whole leaves of fresh sage ( you can use dry but fresh is better)
- 5 branches of fresh parsley, just tear them with your hand, discard stalks
- 1/2 tsp of fresh grated ginger ( you can use dry but fresh is better)
- 1 1/2 tbs of olive oil

Now for the spices, as you know spices are most important for me : you will need the following
- 1 flat small tsp of  Dhal masala ( special mix spice for lentils and other beans, if you can't find it in your indian store just use mixed spices)
- 1 flat  tsp of ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp of turmeric
- 1/2 tsp of MILD curry (optional)
* mixed spices are usually "spicy" so you don't need pepper but if you like it extra hot add some pepper
* vegetable or beef stock cubes are usually salty, so don't add salt before you taste

In a LARGISH  (lentils need space) saucepan, on medium heat
- fry the chopped onions in the olive oil until translucent
- add the ginger and garlic and fry one more minute
- drain the lentils and add them
- cover with 2 cups of boiling water ( you can always add a little more HOT  water later)
- now we will add the hard vegetables as they take longer to cook : so add the sliced carrots and turnips
- add all of the spices and the vegetable or beef/chicken stock cube
- mix well and let it cook for about 5-7 minutes on medium heat
- there should be enough water left for you to add the rest of the vegetables - potatoes, leek, broccoli
- mix the rest of vegetables in, add the sage and the parsley
- if need be add a little more hot water,
- cover and leave it to simmer until all is tender and liquid is absorbed but not too dry
- total cooking time should not take more than 30 mn
- just before serving squeeze some fresh lemon juice on top

Serve hot with some Arabic bread

Enjoy and Sahtain ! 

September 30, 2012

Chards & Potatoes Are Never Bland.

Mea Culpa - been nearly a month since I have updated this blog. Well that's about to change right now!
Today's recipe is not only very healthy but dead easy to prepare. And no it's not bland, because you need to infuse it with that extra special something ...and am going to give you that extra special something in the following preparation :

But first, you know what to do by now ----please read my welcome note. and if you have forgotten what my welcome note is all about - I shall remind you - for every recipe of mine that you try out, you are to feed one (or more) hungry persons. Your friends don't count as hungry persons unless they are down and out.

OK now that's settled, let's get going.

So for this recipe you will need the following for 2.

- 3 large whole chards with their stalk  (also called Swiss chard or silver beet, spinach beet, crab beet etc)
- 2 medium potatoes
- 2 tbs olive
- 1/2 fresh lemon juice
- ground cumin, turmeric, black pepper - a generous pinch of each.
- 2 cloves garlic minced in slices
- half a cup of grated Parmesan cheese
- some smoked salmon, that you will cut in longish shreds.
- dried/or fresh dill 1 flat tbs
- NO salt as cheese and smoked salmon are salty enough, but if you insist...

Preparation :

- wash chard and cut into coarse pieces
- peel potatoes and cut into medium chunks
- STEAM chard and potatoes with the garlic slices (if you don't have a steamer, use a daisy -it's a metal thing with holes that fits into a saucepan  to which you add a little water for steaming purpose)
- your vegetables should be 3/4 cooked i.e not too mushy nor too crunchy.. Once cooked place them in an oven dish
- on the side mix the olive oil plus spices and lemon juice, and pour over your vegetables, cover with grated cheese and put in a preheated oven on medium heat until the cheese melt. Turn off heat and add your shredded smoked salmon so that it warms a little.
- Sprinkle some dill on top and serve hot.

the recipe for the salad in picture is

- grated carrots
- sliced radish
- lettuce leaves
- avocado cut in pieces
- walnuts

all tossed in the following dressing  a mix of olive oil, mayonnaise, mustard, ground cumin, apple cider vinegar, pepper, salt, herbes de Provence. Mix well.

Sahtain ! Bon appétit. 

August 26, 2012

Beef in Cumin with Rice cooked in Milk

Am a little behind in updating this blog, so here I am with today's recipe. This is a typical Saeedi Dish,
a rural dish, from Egypt, where the aroma of Cumin is prevalent - hence the name Kamooniya from Kamoon i.e Cumin. I will also add another rice recipe, again typical of rural Egypt, that of Rice cooked in Milk - nope it's not rice pudding, rice pudding is sweet, this is quite different and goes well with the Kamooniya. Cumin and milk mix well.

But before I get started, you know what to do. Every time you try out one of my recipes, feed someone else. And read my welcome note. Thanks.

Dish no.1 : Beef in Cumin or Kamooniya 

You can use either beef or veal. I used beef so this recipe will be with Beef. I also added some green beans, but you don't really have to. You can have it by itself.But I will give it to you with beans the way it is in the picture.

Ingredients for 2 :

- 300 grams of emincé de boeuf --- I think it's called shredded beef (not minced), otherwise just get a thin piece of beef (no fat, lean) and cut it in medium size shreds
- 1 medium size onion finely chopped
- 2 gloves of garlic crushed
- 1 flat tbs of ground cumin
- 1 cup of rinsed frozen green beans
- 2 tbs of cooking oil
- salt and pepper to taste

First prepare the beef. : When cooking meat, especially beef I like to boil it for a few minutes in a mixture of spices first and that for several reasons.
- because I can't stand the smell of rancidity however lean the beef is
- because it cooks faster and nothing is worse than chewy rubbery beef
- and in this case because am going to use the broth as you shall see later.

So in a saucepan, put your shredded beef with the following :
- 3 dried bay leaves
- 4 cloves
- 3 grains of cardamom
- half a cinnamon stick
- a couple of pepper corns (if available)
- cover with enough quantity of hot water and leave it to boil for about 7mn on medium heat
- while it's boiling, remove any grey/brown froth.and discard it.
-  after 7mn or so remove the pieces of beef and set aside
- pass the broth in a sieve and keep the broth on the side, throw away spices/herbs.

In a non stick saucepan

- fry the onions and garlic until tender
- mix in the beef
- add 2 tbs of cumin
- add your beans
- plus salt and pepper
- stir fry it for a couple of minutes on medium heat. By now you should be able to smell the scent of cumin
- add the broth to the mixture and leave it to cook on medium to low heat until the sauce thickens and the beans are tender. If it dries out, add a little hot water, and leave it to cook for a few more minutes

Dish no2. Rice cooked in Milk

I usually recommend Basmati rice but for this particular rice dish you will need short grain rice, we call it roz Masree (Egyptian rice) which is akin to Risotto rice.

So for 2 you will need :

- about 1 1/2 cup of small grain rice, washed and soaked in cold water
- 2 cups of medium fat milk (half skimmed)
- 1 tbs of cooking oil
- a dash or 2 of ground cinnamon
- salt to your liking

In a non stick saucepan

- heat the oil
- pour the milk on top and bring it to boil ONCE only
- add the cinnamon and salt, mix well
- drain your rice and pour it , mix well
- leave it to cook on low heat until the milk is absorbed and the rice is well cooked
- if the rice is still al dente, and all the milk absorbed, add a little hot water until the rice is completely tender.
- when serving decorate rice with a little ground cinnamon.

Serve it with the Beef Kamooniya 

Enjoy, Sahtain 

Oh and I dedicate this to an Egyptian Tweep by name of @rachidH whom I promised this recipe to

August 18, 2012

What to do with Potatoes : 2 Recipes

I feel sorry for Potatoes, Batata in Arabic. All the slurs against these poor potatoes - potato head, couch potato, fat as a Arabic we have them too when we say kulo batata - meaning empty cheap stuff.

Well potatoes are cheap, true..but they are not meaningless. It all depends on your perception of them.
If you are used to mashing them (boring), boiling them (boring) or just frying  (again boring and lethal to health), then obviously you would look down upon a potato.

In today's 2 recipes - not one but two!, this erroneous perception of a potato is about to change.
These 2 recipes will also be my own ritual to bid goodbye to my strict 30 vegetarian diet during Ramadan. And what better way to do with but with the underrated potato.

I suppose by now you know what you are supposed to do  --- if you are new to my blog, read my welcome note first. Thanks.

Recipe No. 1  - Batata bil Zeit - Potatoes in OLIVE OIL.

There are several recipes for Batata bil Zeit, this is an Iraqi one given to me by my grandmother and mother, may Allah bless them both. I have expanded upon it a little bit so please don't tell them as they may get offended that am messing about with their cooking.

So let's get started with Recipe No.1

For 2 people you will need the following :

- a non stick largish saucepan - I use a DEEP pan with a lid.
- 6 medium size potatoes, washed, peeled and cut in medium thick round slices (too thin they crumble and too thick they take longer to cook)
- 1 medium size onion sliced into thin rings
- 1 RED pepper bell, sliced into thin rings then cut in half
- 4 generous TBS of pure virgin olive oil (no other oil will do sorry)
- 1/2 tsp of ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp of  sweet paprika
- a dash of Turmeric (optional)
- salt and pepper to your liking

Preparation :

- salt your sliced potatoes and leave on side
- on medium heat, put oil in saucepan, and fry the onion rings and bell pepper rings until tender
- add the spices : cumin plus paprika plus a little pepper and a dash of turmeric
- mix well and leave to simmer a minute or two
- add potato slices, mix well, leave to simmer a couple of minutes more
- now add enough water to just cover the potatoes you don't want a soup, just enough water to cover the mix
- turn heat to medium low and cook until the potatoes are tender. The sauce should look thick
- if you have put too much water, do not cover pan, leave it to evaporate by itself.

You can serve this hot or cold as an appetizer or a side dish. Decorate with some Fresh Parsley.

Recipe No.2  Potato Tart.

For two you will need the following:

- a 20 cm round baking tray (8 inches)
- 100 grams of unsweetened ready made puff pastry
- a knob of butter
- 3 medium size potatoes 3/4 boiled (meaning not totally boiled, they should still be a little raw)
- sweet paprika
- ground cumin
-salt, pepper
- a dash of olive oil
- 3-4 branches of FRESH  dill (leaves) chopped
- fine grated Parmesan cheese


- preheat your oven to max
- roll out your puff pastry using a little flour and rolling pin, enough to fit the tray, the pastry should not be too thick,
- peel and cut the 3/4 boiled potatoes into slices
- butter the tray, sprinkle a little flour on top
- place your puff pastry in tray  if excess on sides, just roll them in
- put your potatoes on top of pastry, sprinkle with salt, paprika, cumin, and cover with  grated cheese (not too much cheese, just enough to give it that extra flavor),
- pour a dash of olive oil on top
- finally sprinkle your fresh chopped dill
- put your tray in oven, turn down heat to medium and leave it to bake until the pastry puffs up and the potatoes become golden on top. It should not take more than 15 mn.

Enjoy,  Sahtain . And to my Muslim readers - Happy Eid !

August 9, 2012

Green Beans in Olive Oil - Lubieh bil Zeit.

Whatever I eat, I share with you...if I cook something, I rush to share it...I am a cook with a motive you know by now : for every recipe of mine that you try out, you are asked to feed one NEEDY person (or more) . If you are new to my blog, please read my welcome note first ---> over there.

Today's recipe is.simple to make and very tasty.

 Lubieh bil Zeit - Lubieh also called Fasuliyah Khadra is basically Green Beans also called Runner Beans, String Beans or French Beans. There is a different variety of Green Beans, just stick to what you find in your supermarket, which is the standard one. You can use Fresh or Frozen. Depending on that - bear in mind the cooking time will be different, as fresh ones will take slightly longer to cook. Zeit means oil.

This recipe can be eaten HOT or COLD, since it is prepared with VIRGIN OLIVE OIL.
If you opt to eat it hot, serve it with Rice (I do)  or Hot bread or you can eat it cold as an appetizer.

Let's get started:

For 2 you will need the following :

- 2 medium size onions, finely chopped
- 3 large cloves of garlic cut into thin slices (not crushed, not minced)
- 3 to 4 tbs of Olive oil.
- 2 standard mugs of fresh or frozen green beans.
* if you opt for fresh, trim both ends, and cut in half
* if you opt for frozen rinse them in cold water first and go for cut ones ie. not whole
- 2 medium size fresh tomatoes finely chopped
- 1 tbs of tomato paste
-  a dash of ground cumin (my version - so optional)
- a dash of ground sweet paprika (my version so optional)
- a dash of red cayenne pepper (my version  so optional)
- I also use 1 cube of vegetable stock (my version so optional)
- salt to taste (if not using ready made vegetable stock)
- juice of HALF of a FRESH lemon

I find the extra ingredients that I have added in "my version" to give it more taste - otherwise I find it rather bland but that's me. I don't like bland.


- In a deep non stick frying  pan or ordinary non stick saucepan, and on medium heat, fry the onions with olive oil until tender  (do NOT heat the olive oil)
- add the sliced garlic
- add the chopped tomatoes
- add the tomato paste
- add the green beans
- add the spices and vegetable cube if you opt for that version
- mix well
- cover with boiling water (not soak but cover) and let it cook on a gentle fire, stirring every now and then,
- if you opt for fresh beans , the quantity of water must be a little more than for frozen ones as the former take longer to cook (logic)
- wait until mixture looks thick but NOT DRY (if it dries - you can always add a little hot water)
-toward the end, once the beans are tender to your liking, add the squeezed lemon juice, mix it in and leave for one more minute on heat.

This recipe because based on olive oil can be kept in fridge for 48hrs.
As I said you can serve it hot with rice or bread or at room temperature as side dish or an appetizer.

Enjoy - Sahtain.

August 5, 2012

Layla's aromatic Tarte au Fromage - Cheese Tart

I know, I know, I promised you a recipe that would go with my previous post, am not backing's just that I experimented today with this cheese tart and it is so good I can't not share it.

The basic principles of this tart (yeah even tarts have principles) are derived from Burak or Beurek in Turkish which is basically puffed pastry filled with cheese. Since I have no time to fill individual puffed pastries with cheese I opted for the easy, oh so easy, open puffed pastry tart topped with cheese, adding a few ingredients that are not found in Burak.

But before I share my recipe, the main intent of this blog, is that you share food with others, what I mean by that is that you feed the needy hungry. So you know the rules by now - for every recipe you try out from my blog, you are to feed one (or more) hungry needy person either by offering them food or giving them money for one meal (or more)  -- Inviting your friends over does not count - sorry.

For a round oven baking tray of 20cm, (8 inches) you will need :

- ready made UNSWEETENED puff pastry
- 150 grams of FETA cheese ( enough to well cover you dough)
- 1 small teaspoon of dried mint
- 1 small teaspoon of dried thyme
- a dash of ground cumin
- a dash of ground pepper
- 1 medium size tomato finely chopped
- 1 tbs of olive oil
(NO SALT as Feta is already salty)

Preparation :

- preheat you oven to maximum
- unroll the puff pastry on a board covered with flour, use a rolling pin if necessary. The dough should not be too thick, thin enough to become fluffy.
- butter your baking tray first -
- place your puff pastry and roll the edges inwards if you have used too much pastry
- in a separate bowl you mix the feta by crumbling it with your fingers first, add the aromatic herbs, tomato, olive oil and mix well.
- place the mix all over the puff pastry
- put in the oven and turn the heat down to medium
- leave it to bake for about 7mn (each oven is different, mine is an antique piece, so check that your pastry is not burning on the edges - the cheese does not have to completely melt either)
- Decorate with fresh mint and black olives
-Serve hot

Best served with Baladi salad i.e cucumber, tomatoes, spring onions, green pepper bell, radish -- all chopped small to which you will add lemon juice, olive oil, garlic powder, salt, pepper and ground cumin and a few black olives

All the above is delicious with a glass of black tea

To finish --  chilled melon for dessert

Sahtein, Enjoy !

August 3, 2012

Rice cooked in Debs Al Ruman.

I can't begin to tell you how tasty this rice is. It's very easy to prepare, but will require that you get Debs al Ruman. 

So what is Debs al-Ruman ? It's simply pomegranate molasses (not syrup but molasses). You can find them in liquid bottled form in any Middle Eastern grocery store. So yes, if you want something original and tasty you need to go that extra mile.

As usual, please read my welcome note first ----> over there, after all you did say "sharing is caring" no?

Let's get started.

For 2 you will need :

1 medium size onion finely chopped
1 cup of BASMATI rice that you wash well, and soak for about 10mn or more in cold water
2 tbs flat of Pomegranate molasses
1 tbs flat of Tomato paste
1 medium size tomato finely chopped (optional)
a dash of ground cinnamon
1 tbs of cooking oil
1 and a bit cup of boiling water
1 tbs of non salty no skin almonds (optional)
1 tbs of non salty pine nuts (optional)

Preparation :

- in a non stick saucepan, heat the oil and fry the onions until tender medium heat should do
- add the tomato paste (and fresh chopped tomato if you opt for that extra flavor)
- stir well, and add the pomegranate molasses
- add a little boiling water, keep stirring, do not let it dry out
- now add one cup of boiling water and let it boil ONCE
- drain your rice, and add it to the mix plus salt and cinnamon, mix well avoid stirring as rice will become gluey
- turn the heat to very low and leave it to cook until all the liquid is absorbed.
- once your rice is cooked, in a small non stick frying pan, put a small spoon of cooking oil, and fry your almonds first until light golden brown, then add the pine nuts (pine nut fries very quickly) Both almond and pine need to be a golden brown
- serve your rice and decorate with the nuts.

Stay tuned -  for in my next post, I shall be giving you another recipe that goes nicely with this rice. Insha'Allah

Enjoy !

July 31, 2012

Layla's Light Pizza - A No Hassle Pizza

Am not a big pizza fan, even though I indulge in one every now and then. I thought about my lukewarm attitude towards pizza, and I realized it was all this dripping saturated fat from the melting cheese that really got to me. Besides, I have a confession, I don't make them myself, I have a problem with dough in general...but NOT today.

So am about to proudly share with you MY version of what a light pizza is and I will add to today's recipe, an extra special bonus - a salad mix recipe. Hope you enjoy both.

But first you know what to do -----> please read my welcome note.

So let's get started with my first ever home made pizza, with a particular twist to it.

For 2 you will need the following : 

- a 25cm oven tray the ones you would use for pies.
- ready made pizza dough (if you can make your own all the better)
- half a green pepper bell diced
- 2 medium size tomatoes diced
- 1 medium size onion cut in thin rings
- 2 small zucchinis diced
- 2 gloves of garlic very finely minced
- a tiny bit of fresh red chili pepper minced with the garlic
- salt (a little to your liking don't forget feta cheese is salty)
- cayenne red chili pepper (a dash or two, I like it hot)
- paprika (a dash)
- dry Thyme (2 generous pinches)
- Feta cheese
- 1tbs of virgin olive oil

1) pre-heat your oven to max
2) follow instructions on your pizza dough pack. I spread it thin with a rolling pin on a large wooden board adding some flour and leave it to rest in the tray for a couple of minutes  (you can opt for a thick cut)
3) cover the dough with onion rings
4) in a separate bowl mix :  diced tomatoes, pepper bell, zucchinis, garlic, chili pepper, thyme, paprika and the olive oil. Mix well.
5) spread evenly over the onion rings
6) put in oven and turn heat to medium (important because you don't want your dough to cook before your veggies)
7) once your vegetables are cooked (they will be giving some of their juices) turn the oven heat up so all the juices are dry and the dough becomes somewhat crispy.
8) switch off the oven
8) pull your tray out and generously crumble some feta cheese on top, and put back in oven for a minute or so-  the point is to have the cheese warm but not melting.

Now for the salad :

- 1 largish cup of fresh grated carrots
- 1 apple diced
- 1 avocado peeled and cut in chunks
- 5 branches of fresh parsley, chopped (leaves only)
- a handful of walnuts
- a handful of Alfafa sprouts (optional but oh so good)

Salad dressing consists of :

- 11/2 tbs of mayonnaise
- about 2 tbs of virgin olive oil
- juice of 1/2 a lemon (fresh lemon please no squeezy thing)
- 1 generous pinch of ground cumin
- a dash of ground cinnamon
- salt and pepper to taste

whisk the above very well, taste it you may need to add some more lemon juice mayo or spices, this is not an exact science. Pour over your salad and serve with the pizza.

Sahtein  - Bon appétit  

July 24, 2012

Ramadan Special - Fatet Hummus

It's about time that I update this blog. I have a slight problem though, choosing adequate recipes since I have promised to go vegetarian for the whole month of Ramadan, meaning no meat, no chicken...( I may cheat with canned Tuna and Sardines but please don't tell anyone.)

Will not go into the exact reasons behind this decision of mine, but to put it briefly, I felt since Ramadan is a month of Mercy, let me be merciful towards animals. No need to spill their blood during this holy month, and let's give them a break for 30 days or so...Not that am a big meat eater, but chicken once a week and red meat once every two weeks were welcomed...well am giving those up. 

So my forthcoming recipes will be strictly vegetarian for this Holy month.

Tonight, I will share with you a traditional Ramadan dish, from Lebanon, Syria, also prepared in Jordan and Palestine called Fatet Hummus. In Syria they call it Tass'ieh.

But before I start, and specially during this month of Sharing, please make sure to feed one person or more, if you do try out my recipe. You can either give money for one meal or more, or give cooked food. It's up to you, but do it...what you give will return to you seven fold plus. Thanks.

Now let's get started.

Hummus means Chickpeas, also called Garbanzo Beans and 7'500 years old remains of this bean was found in the Middle East. So it is an ancient bean.

Hummus is very high in protein, and has sedative properties, contains Tryptophan, a precursor to Serotonin. In other words, it's a mood enhancer. You will see, when eating Hummus, you will really feel "chilled out". If you have difficulty sleeping Hummus does the trick..seriously.

Fatet Hummus is not to be confused with Hummus be Tahine. In other words it is NOT Hummus paste.
Fatet Hummus is usually served in Ramadan, after the Soup, it is VERY filling, so take it easy, in portions. It is not a main meal, but if you opt to have it as the only meal, be warned, you will not be able to move later...yeah it has this effect...well on me it does.

So for 2-3 people as an entrée /starter you will need :

Ingredients :

- 300gr of chickpeas - either in tin or dried. 
*If you opt for dried chickpeas,rinse them then soak them at least 12 hours in double their volume of cold water, adding a small tsp of sodium bicarbonate. 
*if tinned, (I prefer dried but when in a hurry I use tinned). Rinse them under cold water first.

- 1 medium size Lebanese bread (Arabic bread) a MUST
- 2 large Tsp of Cumin powder (a Must)
- 2 standard cans of Yogurt  about 150 grs each.
-1 tbs of Tahine or Sesame paste (if you don't have that, don't fret, you can also do without it but BETTER with it.
- 1 clove of garlic crushed
- 2 full tbs of not salted, not roasted pine nuts (if you can't find those, don't fret, it's okay, but preferable with pine nuts)
- 2 branches of parsley, leaves only, coarsely chopped 
- salt

Preparation :

- if using dried chickpeas, rinse after soaking overnight. In a large saucepan, cover with boiling water, adding 11/2 tsp of cumin (important), salt and leave it to cook until very tender. Make sure to have some liquid in there, don't let it dry.

- if using tinned chickpeas, rinse them well, place in saucepan, cover with boiling water plus 11/2 tsp of cumin plus salt and let it boil for 3 mn only.

- meanwhile grill your bread in the oven until Crispy (not burnt) just well crispy.

- in a deep dish, break the bread with your hands until they are like medium size crumbs, leave a little bread on side, don't use all the bread, just enough to cover bottom of dish

- take a little of the chickpeas WATER (only) and humidify the bread with it...not soak the bread, just dampen it, so you can see it moist

- drain chickpeas  and cover the bread with the chickpeas like a second layer.

- now add remaining crispy bread on top

- in a separate bowl, pour the 2 cans of yogurt, in which you would crush the garlic, add 1/2tsp cumin, salt and a tbs of Tahine paste (sesame seeds paste), as I said if you don't have Tahiné you can skip that part.

- if you are using Tahiné add  JUST a squeeze of FRESH lemon juice to the Yogurt Tahine mix. 

- mix it real well

- cover your dish with the yogurt mix

- in a non stick frying pan, heat the olive oil, (it should not smoke, just heat it well), to which you will add the pine nuts, fry them until golden (careful pine nuts burn quickly, you need them golden brown not black)

- pour the nuts WITH  the olive oil on top of your dish

- decorate with chopped parsley

- Serve HOT

Ramadan Kareem ! And a prayer for Syria !

P.S: I decline all responsibility for excessive flatulence, (a possible side effect, hence I stress on the cumin, it absorbs) I also recommend you don't drink cold stuff with this meal, stick to warm drinks, tea with mint is an excellent choice. Trust me you will love it, flatulence and all. x