All photos by Nicky Garratt copyright 1999
Taratoor (Sesame Sauce)
Blend in food processor.
Blend garlic, lemon juice and chick pea water in food processor. Add chick peas, (Save a few whole chick peas), tahini and salt - If you are using canned chick peas, use less salt as they usually have salt added. Otherwise start with a teaspoon, taste, and add more if needed. Run until mixture forms a paste. If you prefer Hummus smooth, process for a longer period.
Option #1 Add 1/2 t. of paprika into blender.
Option #2 Stir in two T. of chopped Chives after blending, before dressing.
Formal dressing: Pour hummus into shallow bowl and level out just below the rim. Pour about a tablespoon of olive oil into center and smooth over using the back of a spoon until entire surface is sealed. (Make sure no puddles of oil remain). Using a container like a salt shaker with a single hole, pour paprika in sparse diagonal lines about an inch apart. Repeat in opposite direction forming a cross hatch pattern. Place whole chick peas where lines cross. Garnish around the perimeter with chopped parsley.
Informal dressing. Pile hummus on a serving bowl. Form a small crater in the center, then fill with olive oil. Garnish with paprika lightly sprinkled on top and a few parsley leaves. A nice addition is a few black olives placed on one edge and a little chopped green onion thrown over the top.
Hummus should be eaten with fresh pita bread baked that day. Look for pitas without added sugar or preservatives, they taste awful. Generally, the supermarket varieties of pita are a complete waste of time. Try the local Lebanese or Egyptian store if you have one near you.
Roast Eggplants on Barbecue grill or preferably, smoke in brick or clay oven over open flame turning until evenly black and collapsed. Slit bottoms and stand upright in a colander for an hour draining the sour liquid. Remove charred skin and further bleed the pulp in colander or bowl (tip out liquid). The longer you do this process the sweeter the Baba Ghannouj. Crush the pulp in a bowl, add Tahini and salt. Make a paste out of the lemon juice and garlic in a food processor and add to bowl. Mix thoroughly with a fork and turn into shallow serving dish. Level off the mixture, then trickle olive oil on top and seal using the back of a spoon to spread the oil over the top surface. Use a container with a small hole to make a cross hatch pattern with the paprika. (see hummus above.) Make a circle around the edge of the dish with the chopped parsley and a second circle inside that with the pomegranate seeds. Place half black olives where each line of paprika crosses. Eat cold with pita bread.
Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Serve in a shallow bowl and garnish with blanched almonds and mint.
Vegetarian Option: Use thick Lebanese yogurt, which frankly works better
Rinse beans, then cook in covered saucepan with enough water to cover the beans for about an hour, or until they are very soft (This will vary with the variety of the bean). Drain off water, then add salt, pepper, half the oil, garlic, lemon juice and cumin. Mix, crushing some of the beans with the back of a fork. Put onto plates and garnish with parsley and drizzle with remaining oil. Serve with pita bread.
Pine Nut Pâté
Blend all ingredients in food processor until smooth. Arrange on plate and garnish with parsley. I sometimes frame the paste with pomegranate seeds which cut the rich pâté.
Fry onions in the olive oil in a saucepan until dark golden brown . Add 1 1/2 cups of water and continue to heat until most of the water is absorbed into the onions and you are left with a puree. Add stock, lentils and rice. Boil then simmer until lentils are soft. Strip outer skin from rhubarb, cut into 3/4 inch pieces and add to saucepan. Cook for 15 more minutes, add salt and pepper.
Barbecue sauce #1
Blend all ingredients in a mixing bowl or in a blender (do not over-blend).
Barbecue sauce #2 (Morocco)
Mix all ingredients well in a bowl.