Every now and again I click on a link to a Walima blogger check out posts for recipes that interest me. The Walima bloggers are all lovers of Arabic foods and are found around the world, including North America. Here's a homepage link. Yesterday I clicked on a blog (Noor's) I hadn't yet visited and came upon a recipe for Balila, a Middle Eastern chickpea salad - here's a link to it. It appealed to me as I have a love of cumin and have cucumbers and tomatoes in the garden. So then I went searching for other versions of Balila online and found lots and read them and picked out elements that I like to eat that I worked into the following recipe that I made today, and just loved. I ate it warm and the flavours were heavenly. I used a tsp of cumin mixed in and garnished with an extra 1/4 tsp (I ate half the recipe), cucumbers and tomatoes. Feta would be a nice addition (though I would mash the garlic with less salt if adding feta). Toasted pine nuts would add extra flavour and texture. I'll think of other things to mix in as I will be making it again later this week when my dw returns. Leave out the onions and hot pepper for a milder flavour.
And save some pita to wipe up the last remaining dressing on your plate! Yummm!
Balila, a chickpea salad ...serves 2
1 clove garlic, mashed with 1/2 tsp salt
1 or 2 tsp ground cumin, divided
2 to 4 Tbs lemon juice
2 or 3 Tbs olive oil
19 oz can of chickpeas
a slice of onion, diced or 1 or 2 green onions, sliced
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced, or some cayenne or ground hot chilies, optional
In a medium bowl whisk the garlic, salt, half the cumin, lemon juice and olive oil. Set aside.
Add chickpeas and liquid in can to a pot and heat on the stove to boiling. Reduce heat to simmer, covered, for 10 min. Remove and drain, saving liquid (to add to the dressing if some is desired). Add the drained warm chickpeas to the dressing and stir to coat. Add onion and jalapeno and mix. Garnish with the rest of the cumin, some chopped tomato, cucumber, parsley, and/or some feta. Other ganishes include toasted pine nuts or chopped mint. Serve with pita.