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Hummus Mezze

Erez Komarovsky

Lesson time 37 min

Mezze is an assortment of small dishes eaten as an appetizer or light meal. Serve this at a dinner party and your friends will love you.

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– Falafel is our national dish. When I was a kid, I used to go to the Yemenite market to eat the falafels, or I got good food. We eat it in pita pockets, we eat it on the street, we eat it morning, we eat it for lunch with our hummus, with the salad, with schug, with tahini. We eat it all the time. So let’s soak some chickpeas for the masabacha, and masabacha is warm hummus. My beautiful, beautiful, beautiful chickpeas. The smallest ones are for the masabacha, and the slightly bigger one are for the falafel. So let’s soak them. Just tap water. You change the water in order to clean everything. And this is for the masabacha. Okay, and so, you put it on the countertop, 24 hours. You can soak them for 48 hours in the refrigerator, no problem, and that’s it. I want to show you different kinds of chickpeas that are available in the market. What we are doing for the masabacha, we need the smallest chickpeas. This is the Bulgarian kind, okay? This is the Mexican kind, we’re not using for masabacha at all. And this is the assaf, and we are going to use it for the falafel. Slight bigger than the Bulgarian one. This Bulgarian chickpeas, will give us sweet hummus. The difference between those three, in quality could be immense. Try and get the smallest one you can get, okay? In the States, most of the people will use the Mexican ones, the garbanzo, and go to specialty stores and buy the small ones. Now we’re going to do the masabacha. So we’re taking the soaked chickpeas, that we soaked them in water for 24 hours, and we put them into the pot with a little baking soda, not a lot for this quantity. It shortens the cooking time, and it softens the skins. So I really recommend you use it, and we’re going to put it on the flame, and cook it for two and a half hours. – This is amba, which is an Iraqi-Indian salsa. This is just a not spicy tomato salsa. And here’s their green schug. They make everything a little bit looser, so you can squeeze it out of a squeeze bottle. Hold on, Erez, let me. – Schug is an amazing salsa, Yemenite salsa, and we grind it over a stone. So I have a collection of them. I’m obsessive about the pestle and mortar. And we’re going to use the original one, ’cause it’s so beautiful. Okay, let’s bring the cilantro out. So cilantro, green chilies, very hot chili peppers. Better some jalapenos also, and garlic. We are going to toast some cumin seeds. Warm up. And I’m putting less than a tablespoon. And I just toast them. So high flame, dry skillet, and I just toss it around. It starts to open the spice. I’m staying here near the skillet. Otherwise, it will be burned very fast. Okay, that’s it. And I will put it here, so you will see the proportions of it all. I’m going to take only the top of the chili out, and I’m using the seeds, also, because I want it to be very, very feisty. Okay. It’s a bloody messy thing, but it’s worth the effort, okay? I’m adding the garlic in the cilantro. I am adding a little cumin seed. I have this because it looks very nice, but believe me, a regular pestle and mortar would be more efficient. And this is instead of going to the gym. Don’t do it in a food processor. I know that you’re going to do it in a food processor, but I will keep my eyes shut, because I am a romantic, and I love stones. I’m adding the cilantro. Until it becomes very smooth. Okay, now I’m going to add some vinegar, very little vinegar, wine vinegar. It will keep the green from staling, and now I’m going to add salt. And now the olive oil. There is a little texture, and we’re going to jar it, and this can keep in the refrigerator a few days. Okay. Let’s add some olive oil. This is it. Okay, so now we’re going to do the tatbileh. Tatbileh is the relish kind of, that we’re going to put on top of the masabacha. It’s giving an extra garlic, extra lemon. Let’s bring out my beloved juicer, and we need ripe lemons. Okay, so let’s juice it. Put it here. Very nice. Okay, let’s do the garlic. Okay, we’re using the chili peppers, but without the seeds, okay? Without the seeds. So we seed them. Very important. We want the heat, but we don’t want to be crazy hot like we did the schug. Okay. Now let’s put everything to the slight bigger pestle and mortar, put it here. And unlike the schug, here, we don’t need to make a paste out of it. I just open it. Try to put it on top of fried fish, wow! Tatbileh is local. It’s Arabic. You have similar tatbileh in Morocco. – In Italy. – In every country, almost. So now I’m going to put all the lemon juice. And I’m going to put some salt. And this is our tatbileh. Don’t store it for a long time. One, two days, that’s it. The garlic flavor will overpower everything, so it’s good to make it fresh. Every time you use it, you make it fresh. The secret of every good chef is to use only seasonal food. So in the summer, we have great tomatoes, and we have great cucumbers. We call them baladi cucumbers, because they are not grown in greenhouses. And we’ll get onion, and this is summer for me. What you do is we cut the tomatoes, we do the fillet of the tomatoes. And let’s keep this, because it’s not a waste. We can cook matbucha, we can cook shakshuka base, so we don’t throw it away. We take only the dry part of the tomato. Okay, so now we have our tomatoes. So now we do the onion. Now I’m going to slice onion. How thin you cut the veggies? It has to be very tiny. Let’s put it here. I putting it into a colander because I want them to be completely dry. If they won’t be dry, they will be soft, and the whole thing about this salad is the freshness and crunchiness of the veggies. And let’s move now to the cucumber. So here they are. I’m just taking the ends out. You need to pick the smallest cucumber you can get, baby cucumbers, and very firm, so they will be fresh, and now, just slice them. Do not peel them. Persian cucumber and baby Persian cucumber is the best. For this salad, I will use also green olives. So this is a cracked olives. And those are the local olives. Let’s pit them. So I chop it also. So now, let’s combine it all, adding all the tomatoes and the cucumbers. We are adding the olives. We take mint leaves. And you chop them. Put some lemon. Salt. Okay, now a little olive oil. And that’s it. Okay, we’re going to do masabacha today, and masabacha is a warm hummus. I’m going to teach you how to do the masabacha properly. Oh, look what happens to my hummus, look. I skim the foam. Yeah, they are ready. Okay, so I’m checking if they’re soft enough and I’m throwing it on top of a, oop, you see? When they stick, they are soft enough, and we have to clean another dish. But that’s okay. We soaked half a kilo of the smallest chickpeas you can do, for 24 hours. Then we cooked it with baking soda for another two hours, till they are very, very, very soft. Let’s bring the mortar for this masabacha. We need tahini, and we have garlic cloves and we need a chili. We need lemon juice. And we’re starting. First, we crush the garlic and the chilies. Look how simple Israeli cooking is. We just crush chili and garlic. We add lemon, we add salt, and we have a wonderful taste already. Okay. Now we’re going to add all the chickpeas without the liquid. In some cases, the mother-in-law convinces the daughter-in-law that she has to peel all the skins off the chickpeas so it will be smooths. This is torture, and actually, those are the fiber, so it’s okay for you and it’s good for you. We are adding four lemons. Okay, so now we are using one and a half cups of tahini, raw tahini. We add salt, and we start mixing. And remember, the tahini soaks up the water. So what we’ll need to do is to add some of the cooking liquid that we kept here. It makes it fluffier and smooth, and actually, all the flavor is in this liquid. Okay, we are ready. Let’s taste it. Then we add salt. Now let’s serve it. Beautiful stone plates, and we are plating it. And you’ll remember the tatbileh, and we are adding the tatbileh inside. And we put some olive oil. Generously. Oh. From now on, you’re going to make your own masabacha. And this doesn’t go into the refrigerator. This whole point of this masabacha is that it’s a warm hummus. It’s eaten with the salad and with the falafel that we’re going to fry in a moment. – [Adeena] Elad! Are you Yemeni? What’s your origin? Elad – I’m half Yemeni and half Egyptian. Erez – So what kind of falafel do you make? A mix of Yemenite or Egyptian? Elad – A combination of Yemeni and Egyptian. Erez – Wow. Who did you learn from – your Mom or your Dad? Elad – I didn’t learn. My mother makes it. – Ah, it’s good. – It’s warm. – Wow. But, I still don’t understand. Is your falafel Yemenite or Egyptian? My mother is Egyptian and my dad is Yemeni. I know! But what is this! I need to get it out of you. I must get it out! The origin of the Falafel is Egyptian. Egyptian? Yes, when it came to Israel it improved. Hummus was added. You refuse to answer. Who invented falafel? Wow, there is a huge debate on it, you know? The Yemenites say that they brought their falafel. The Egyptians said they brought their falafel. It’s called ta’ameya. The local people say they invented it. I don’t know. I just want to teach you how to do good falafel. We soaked the medium size chickpeas for 24 hours. Okay? And now, we’re going to grind it up. Let’s take the grinder up. We need cilantro, parsley, onions and garlic. Let’s peel the onion. Cut the onions. Green chilies. Without the seeds. And again, we just chop it roughly. And now, we need, very important, cilantro and parsley. And we are going to chop it this way. This is called green falafel, and it’s the best, in my opinion. Okay, and now we’re going to grind it all. Now all you have to do is just mix it together. Check that there are not chickpeas that ran through somehow. Okay? Okay, leaves like this. Okay, now we’re going to add some baking powder. Very little, very little. And I put some salt and I mix. Not too much now, and that’s it. Let’s put it to rest for around half an hour. Mm. Wow, it’s good. So I’m just covering it, and placing it somewhere here. Choo, choo, choo. And since we are frying the falafel, let’s start heating the oil in my mother’s stuffed bell peppers pan. This is around 80 years old, and it’s all crooked, but it’s… Whenever I use it, I am happy. So let’s put some oil in it, and let’s light. This is deep fried. Here, what we did is just a trial of one of the falafel. So you see if it’s the right temperature. I do not use thermometer, but you need it around 170 degrees Celsius. I’m making it by hand, and I’m not making it round, because I like it better. It’s very important not to fry them, too many at one time, because we don’t want the oil to get cold. If the oil will get a little colder than what’s necessary, the falafels will fall apart. Wow. Okay, let’s make tahini. Some people do turmeric tahini. Some people do garlic tahini, harissa tahini. I don’t know why they do it. Tahini is something very clean. It’s sesame butter, kind of. Okay, so let’s do our tahini. Simple, so let’s juice some lemons for the tahini. The proper way to do tahini is to have raw tahini mixed with cold water. The better the tahini is, the more water it will take. Lemon juice. And salt. And in two seconds, I made tahini. That is superfood. I eat tahini with everything. I eat tahini with vegetables. I eat tahini with falafel, with kebab. So you don’t have to cry and you don’t have to buy it in the supermarket. I will show you how we are eating the masabacha. I prefer to put some tahini that we open in the center. Some scallions from the garden, and I prefer to have a little schug also, on the side. But now we are eating, so we take the pita bread, we tear it, and we use it as a fork. Wow. It’s good. I don’t know who made it, but it’s good. And you eat the scallions, or raw onion, and you take a bite from the falafel, and you take the bite of the citrusy salad and it all blends in, and you’re happy, and then you go to die. Okay, bye.

About the Instructor

Renowned chef, baker, and cookbook author celebrated as the “Godfather” of modern Israeli cuisine, Erez Komarovsky takes viewers on a journey to discover the roots of his Middle Eastern cuisine. Starting from the bustling markets of Tel Aviv, Israel to his blissful home in the North Galilee, Erez teaches viewers how to bake his “flowering” Challah and Pita breads, plus his signature dishes including Lamb Kebabs, Hummus Mezze with Falafel, Harissa Chicken, Fish Crudo and more.

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