Tiss’ye aka Fatteh Hummus (Chickpeas with Yogurt and Crunchy Pita)
Serves 4 as a main course, or 8 as a salad
Adapted from Jasmine and Fire: A Bittersweet Year in Beirut by Salma Abdelnour (Broadway Paperbacks 2012)
Salma loves Tiss’ye because “It packs a variety of textures and bold flavors into one simple, comfort-food dish – which also happens to look elegant when served at dinner parties.” When I made Tiss’ye, I doubled the seasonings in Salma’s original version and it was perfect for us (Salma advises to season to taste and that’s just what I did). Where I’ve specified ingredient quantity with a range (e.g. 1-2 Tbsp. tahini), the smaller amount is Salma’s recommendation, the larger amount is what I used. For yogurt, I used nonfat Greek-style yogurt with great success. I tried using baked pita chips instead of pan-frying my own pita. The chips had the necessary crunch, but not the slightly smoky flavor that fried/toasted pitas give to the recipe. Pan-frying pita takes seconds; I wouldn’t use pita chips again. Be sure to buy Arabic-style pita bread, which has pockets, instead of Greek-style pita, which is fatter and thicker.
3 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (2 15-ounce cans, rinsed and drained)
2-4 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt, plus more to taste
2 tsp.-2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 cups plain yogurt
1-2 Tbsp. tahini
2 pita breads
2 Tbsp. olive oil (Salma uses 1/2 cup vegetable oil)
1-2 tsp. ground cumin, plus a pinch more to sprinkle on top
1 Tbsp. butter (Salma uses 2 Tbsp.)
1/2 cup pine nuts
Pinch of sweet paprika
Heat chickpeas in water to cover over medium-high heat. When water boils, lower heat to a simmer and cook until chickpeas are completely warmed through.
Mash garlic and salt in mortar and pestle (or on cutting board with back of knife). Gradually drizzle in lemon juice and keep mashing until mixture forms creamy paste. Stir this mixture and tahini into yogurt. Taste and add salt or lemon juice, as needed.
Tear pita into roughly 1-inch pieces. Heat olive oil over medium heat, and fry pita pieces until browned and crisp. Depending on size of frying pan, pita may need to be fried in batches to ensure it cooks evenly. Remove from pan, and let drain on double layer of paper towels. Alternatively, toast pita halves instead of frying, and then break pita into pieces.
Drain chickpeas and stir in cumin and salt to taste.
Just before ready to serve, heat butter over medium heat and sauté pine nuts until browned, being careful not to burn them. Take this suggestion seriously; pine nuts are expensive and they burn more easily than you’d think. It’s best not to walk away from the pan while cooking pine nuts. Once browned, remove pine nuts from pan to plate immediately (if left in hot pan, pine nuts will likely burn).
In deep-sided serving dish (a glass bowl nicely displays layers), place one layer of pita pieces, followed by a layer of chickpeas, and alternate layers of pita and chickpeas until you run out of ingredients. Spread yogurt evenly over top layer. Sprinkle with cooked pine nuts, and then sprinkle with a pinch of paprika and a pinch of cumin. Serve immediately while bread is still crisp.
Laurie’s Variation: Tiss’ye Sandwich
Make chickpeas and yogurt as described above. Mix drained, spiced chickpeas with seasoned yogurt. Cut pita breads in half and fry or toast them. Slice tomatoes and onions. Clean a cup or so of dandelions greens or arugula. Stuff pita pockets with chickpea-yogurt mixture, sliced tomatoes, sliced onions, and cleaned greens. Sprinkle with a little salt and cumin. Serve immediately.