This month's Kitchen Nomad box brought me 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).
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.