A couple of years ago, my father found out that his father was Persian/Turkish and from Lebanon. My father was adopted when he was only a few days old, so he had little knowledge of who his birth parents were and where they were from. Until I learned where my biological grandfather was from, I felt like half of me was a big mystery. Since learning of my heritage, I have been on a mission to learn Middle Eastern recipes, specifically Lebanese and Persian. In cooking these recipes, I feel connected to relatives and ancestors that I have never met.
I feel especially connected to my family when cooking with Lebanese style za’atar. Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend. The Lebanese style blend contains sumac, thyme, sesame seeds, and sea salt. It is delicious on everything from roasted chicken to hummus. Sumac has a lovely red color and bright lemony taste. It is the perfect way to perk up many dishes.
Za’atar is the lead player in this recipe for fried chick peas. It perfectly complements the crispy fried goodness of the chick peas with its brightness herbaciousness.
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit magazine
Olive oil (enough to coat bottom of pan)
1 can of chickpeas, rinsed, drained, peels removed
1 tablespoon of za’atar, plus more to sprinkle on at end
- Heat oil in a good sized pan. Once oil is hot, add chick peas and za’atar and fry until chick peas are crisp, about 10 minutes.
- Remove chick peas from oil to drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with za’atar and salt and place in serving bowl.
* To remove peel from chickpeas roll the individual chickpeas in between your fingers. The peel should easy come off.
* Za’atar can be found at Penzey’s.