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