World Cuisine (Mediterranean) : Pita Bread with Hummus and Falafel

While travelling we always prefer to stop by small local joints which serve filling comfort food rather than any high end restaurant or even any popular food chain. And thus all our travel stories become studded with memories of such eateries which have surprised us time and again with their heavenly food. Vanoos Grillette is one such example. Each time I think of our trip to the beautiful beach city of San Diego, I get reminded of this cozy, little family owned restaurant near Pacific Beach. Mediterranean food has always been a favourite but that day's lunch made us fall in love with this cuisine all over again. The creamy hummus, crispy falafel, fresh pita, savoury kabob wraps which just melted in our mouth, and the humongous portion of luscious chicken shawarma salad, were beyond our imagination at such a reasonable price. Had I been a resident of San Diego, I would have ordered from there every single day. But unfortunately that's not possible and the only way to satisfy our craving is to work it out in my own kitchen.
I picked up Hummus, falafel and pita bread for trial because these can be easily made with handy ingredients. And when my foodie hubby can't stop praising it, I know it was worth.


Humus

INGREDIENTS:

Chickpeas: 1 cup
Sesame seed paste/ Tahini: 3 tbsp
Garlic: 4 cloves
Lemon juice: 3 tbsp
Olive oil: 3 tbsp
Salt to taste
Paprika/ Red chilli powder for garnishing

PROCEDURE:

Soak the chickpeas in water overnight. Then boil them till half done and drain out the water. In a food processor or mixer grind all the ingredients together with the chickpeas to from a smooth paste. Add a little water while grinding. It will make the paste smoother and the grinding easier. Garnish it with olive oil and some paprika or red chilli powder.


Hummus can be used both as a dip and a spread.

Falafel

INGREDIENTS:

Chickpeas: 1 cup
Garlic: 3 cloves
Lemon juice: 2 tbsp
Coriander leaves (roughly chopped): 1/2 cup
Parsley leaves (roughly chopped): 1/2 cup
Spring onion greens (chopped): 1/2 cup
Baking powder: 1 tsp
Cumin powder: 2 tsp
Paprika/ Red chilli powder: 2 tsp
Bread crumb: 2 tbsp
Salt to taste
Oil for frying

PROCEDURE:

Soak the chickpeas in water overnight. Drain out the water. To get rid of any excess moisture use a dry piece of cloth or paper towel. Grind the chickpeas in a food processor or mixer to get flaky bread crumb like texture. Do not grind it like a paste. Keep it aside.


Blend all the other ingredients in a mixer. Add it to the ground chickpeas. Mix well and refrigerate for about an hour.


Take out the mixture and give them shape with your hands. You may form small patties, balls or quenelles.


Heat oil in a pan and fry them on medium heat until brown and crispy from outside.


Serve it as a snack with some hummus.


Pita Bread

INGREDIENTS:

All purpose flour: 11/2 cup
Dry yeast: 1 tsp
Sugar: 1 tsp
Salt: 1tsp

PROCEDURE:

Sieve the flour and salt together.


In 1/2 cup of warm water add sugar and dry yeast and stir. Add it to the flour and mix.


Knead a soft dough by adding in water. Cover the dough and let it rest for four to five hours.


Knead the dough once more after it has risen and make equal ball out of it.


With the help of a rolling pin make them flat and round. Do not make them too thin. Place it on a baking tray and put it into a pre-heated oven at 450 F for about five to seven minutes or until cooked.


The pita bread has nice pockets when you cut it. You can make a sandwich by filling the pockets with falafel and some fresh lettuce, use the hummus as a spread. Or you could simply dip the pita in some hummus and enjoy.



















Photographs by Swakshar Ghosh

Vanoos Grillettehttp://vanoosgrillette.com/

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