N & I both are big fans of Mediterranean cuisine. Of course, our knowledge of this kind of food is limited to what we eat at restaurants and what we generally read about Mediterranean food. We love the flavors, the texture, the fact that it’s healthy and just about everything! At our favorite Mediterranean restaurant, we always have the Mediterranean Sampler appetizer which includes hummus, baba ghanoush, tzatziki, tabouli and stuffed grape leaves along with fresh pita bread. We can never have enough of the appetizer but always manage to save some room for the main course- we are hogs like that.
So we thought it would be fun to make a meal of out an appetizer by just having the appetizer as a meal. :p Yeah- that was a no brainer but really, it’s such a great deal! 🙂 So to the fiesta at Angie’s we thought it would be fun to carry our own (little) twist to some Mediterranean classics. We made Oregano & Cumin Hummus, a spicy Jalapeño and Mint Baba Ghanoush & the classic Dill, Cucumber & Mint Tzatziki with home-made pita chips. It’s pretty easy to make and you can in fact add in your own ingredients to flavor as you like. It’s again one of those kinds of recipes that you can put your own spin to. So we hope it is worth the late entry into the PJ party! (And oh, it’s almost Meatless Monday– well in some parts of the world it is. :))
So here is how we made it:
Since we had this as a meal in itself, this recipe serves 2 people. However, if you were to serve it as an appetizer, this recipe should be good for 4-5 people. Please don’t judge us by the amount we eat :p
- 2 cups chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans) boiled and drained or 1 can of store-bought garbanzo beans, washed and drained
- 1 teaspoon ground roasted cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- salt to taste
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus a dash for serving
- 2 tablespoon tahini (recipe below)
- a couple dashes of water
- a dash of red chili powder
- 4-5 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium egg plants
- 1 diced jalapeño
- 1 finely chopped green chili, we love spicy but you may omit this
- 4 tablespoons tahini
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- ¼ cup lime juice
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 2 tablespoons chopped mint
- salt to taste
- 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup Greek yoghurt
- ¼ English cucumber, finely chopped
- 2-3 tablespoons chopped dill
- 1 tablespoon chopped mint
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon chopped jalapeño
- ½ teaspoon chopped green chili, again you may omit this but we like it extra spicy
- 2-3 fresh whole wheat pita bread- we get these from a local Mediterranean grocery store but you could buy these at your local grocery store as well
- a dash of olive oil
- a dash of salt & pepper
- In a food processor or a blender, mix together all the Hummus ingredients until it forms a smooth creamy paste. Add a few dashes of water if it is too thick. Serve with a dash of chilli powder, dried oregano and extra virgin olive oil.
- Dry toast the sesame seeds in a pan. Make sure they don’t brown, just release their oils.
- Allow the seeds to cool and blend them with olive oil to form a thick paste of pourable consistency.
- Under the broiler (set to high) blacken/char the eggplant for about 10 minutes, making sure to rotate the pan and flipping the eggplants every 5 minutes.
- Then with the oven set to 375 F, roast the eggplants in the oven for another 20 minutes or so. You want the skin of the eggplant to be completely shriveled and dark. The eggplant should almost fall-apart tender. Keep them in the oven for 7-10 minutes even after it is done. Then set them aside to cool slightly.
- When cool, peel off the skin and scrape out the flesh into a bowl. This may get a bit messy but go all out and have some fun. 🙂
- Then mash the eggplant gently with a fork until you get a smooth but slightly chunky texture (not completely mashed).
- Add in all other ingredients, stir and adjust seasoning as required. Serve with a dash of extra virgin olive oil.
- Mix all the Tzatziki ingredients together and serve with a dash of extra virgin olive oil.
- Well, no we didn’t make the pita bread ourselves- we wish we could. Maybe- one day? This is a cheat way of making pita chips at home but at least better and healthier than the packaged ones. All you need to do is while buying your pita bread, read the ingredients well and make sure whole wheat grain flour is the first ingredient and there are no dodgy ingredients that you are not happy with. So here is what you need to do:
- Preheat your oven to 350F.
- Cut the pita bread into wedges and spread them on a baking sheet.
- Spray or brush some olive oil over the wedges, sprinkle some salt and pepper and bake them for about 7-8 minutes. Tadaa… your pita chips are ready!
Assemble the hummus, baba ghanoush, tzatziki and pita chips on a platter & enjoy! Or even better- just dig in as you make it, just like we did!