This month's Kitchen Nomad box brings a selection of ingredients from Lebanon, and features a selection of recipes by Bethany Kehdy, author of The Jewelled Kitchen (a beautiful book that I'll be reviewing soon). If you're interested in trying out the Kitchen Nomad service for yourself, you can get £5 off your first order by entering COTTERILL as a promo code.
Ever since my first visit to Turkey, I've had a bit of a thing for middle eastern food, so many of these ingredients were familiar to me. I was particularly amused to see a pot of freekeh, an ingredient I first cooked with last week, when I served it with spicy roasted vegetables.
I was inspired by the flatbread recipe which came with the box, but obviously I wanted to make a vegetarian version. I stuck with the basic tomato and onion base, and got the idea of including chickpeas from a blog post over at When Shaikha Cooks. Za'atar is a blend of dried herbs (mostly thyme) with sumac and sesame seeds, which works wonderfully with the earthy taste of chickpeas, especially after adding a little garlic.
This recipe makes a light flatbread which bubbles up when cooked, and would be great with any number of toppings, or plain as an accompaniment for mopping up excess sauce. While I was working out the quantities for this recipe, I ended up with some spare flatbreads and chickpea mix. I baked these simply with a little grated cheese on top, and that was also delicious, really bringing out the garlic flavour of the spice mix.
For the flatbreads:
150g strong white bread flour
100g strong wholemeal bread flour
½tsp dried fast-acting yeast
125ml (½cup) warm water
2tbsp olive oil
For the topping:
230g chickpeas (cooked and drained)
2tbsp olive oil
2tbsp za'atar blend
1tsp whole cumin seeds
2 cloves garlic
8 large tomatoes
2 large onions
1tbsp pomegranate molasses
1tsp chilli flakes
a few fresh mint leaves
- Stir together the dry ingredients for the dough.
- Add the water a little at a time and bring together, until the dough is not too stiff (but stop before it gets sticky - you may need a little more or less than 125ml, depending on the humidity), then knead for a couple of minutes.
- Add the olive oil and knead gently until absorbed.
- Set the dough aside to rise for a couple of hours.
- Meanwhile, prepare the toppings.
- Combine the chickpeas in a bowl with the olive oil, za'atar, cumin, sumac, and crushed garlic. Set aside.
- Skin the tomatoes by submerging them in boiling water for a few seconds, then cut in half and scrape out the seeds. Chop the flesh finely.
- Squeeze any excess liquid from the chopped tomato.
- Finely mince the onion, and combine in a bowl with the chopped tomato.
- Add pomegranate molasses and chilli flakes.
- Divide the dough into quarters, and roll out each flatbreads to about 2mm thick.
- Divide the tomato and onion mixture between the breads, and spread evenly over the surface.
- Top the flatbread with the chickpea mixture, being sure to scrape all the oil and spices out of the bowl (you wouldn't want to waste any!).
- Roughly chop the fresh mint leaves, and sprinkle over the top of each flatbread.
- Bake at 250°C (480°F) for 5 minutes. The bread should puff up a little (especially in any areas which don't have topping) and start to crisp around the edges.