When donairs and gyros invaded the market, a lot of Persian themed restaurants have started to bloom in all these little tucked away places in my city. My first Persian food encounter dates back to my early 20â€™s when I had a boyfriend who was just as adventurous with food as I was.Â He was just a bit more brave than me.Â He took me to this hole in the wall joint Â that was obviously owned by people whose culture revolved aroundÂ Persian food fare. We sat down and I was pretty keen on just a kebab meal with rice, but he glared at me and told me to try something else.
I had no idea what to order from the small menu, not to mention that this was a bit late at night and I couldnâ€™t really make out the fine print.Â He was obviously excited and beaming while reading through the short list. He said he was going to order a bunch of stuff for us to share since I was not really digging an ox brain sandwich.Â Little did I know he was ordering the ox brain Sammie for himself and carried on with beef cooked in yoghurt, some eggplant dish with a tomato base, my kebab of course and he ordered a few Â extra pita breads to go with a Hummus and yoghurt dip. To top that off, we were convinced to have banana smoothies with our meal.
To make a long story short, the ox brain sandwich looked like scrambled eggs and it already â€œewwedâ€ me to bits. He loved it . Everything else was surprisingly tasty and to this day I would always crave for either one of all the dishes he ordered. I was particularly taken with the Hummus and flour tortillas that you dip into it. Little did I know that Hummus was basically made of pureed chickpeas. I didnâ€™t even like chick peas to begin with , but I wiped out the bowl clean!
He wasÂ my first boyfriend and I have lots of memoriesÂ of discovering many good eats with him. I donâ€™t know where he is now but he is the first person that comes to mind whenever I come across some Hummus!
For the Hummus:
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup tahini
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
Olive oil and chopped Italian parsley for garnish
For the Pita Chips:
6 pita breads
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons dried herbs, such as basil or oregano
1. First make the hummus. Slice the lemon in half and use a reamer to juice it. Measure 1/4 cup of the juice, then pour it into a food processor or a blender.
2. Â Add the chickpeas, tahini, garlic, vegetable oil, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and water to the bowl or pitcher and process until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides with a spatula.
3. Â Transfer the hummus to a small bowl or shallow platter and drizzle it with olive oil. Sprinkle the dip with the parsley. Set it aside (it can be kept at room temperature for up to four hours).
4. Â Make the pita chips. Heat the oven to 400 F. Separate the two round halves of each pita by poking a hole in the seam, then tearing the bread along it. Use small cookie cutters (ours measure 3 inches) to cut the pita into shapes.
5. Â Arrange the pita shapes on two baking sheets. Brush the tops with the olive oil, then sprinkle them with the garlic salt, the pepper, and the dried herbs.
6. Â Bake the pita for 7 minutes or until the chips are lightly browned, rotating the pan halfway through. Let the chips cool on the pans on wire racks. Serve with the hummus. Leftover chips can be stored in resealable bags up to one week. The dip can be covered and refrigerated up to five days.
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