I have heard many things about the famous Moroccan Soup Bar and it’s amazing chickpea bake, but I haven’t been there yet (I know, I know). I have eaten a chickpea bake once, when a friend made it at one of our FFOFs, and I remember it being tastier than it initially seemed. I was thinking about it the other day because I had some Lebanese flat bread in the pantry. The bread was a bit stale, so I was trying to think of a way to use it up.
In some ways it’s a good thing I’ve never had the Moroccan Soup Bar version of the chickpea bake because I don’t have any preconceived ideas about how it should taste. I can tinker with my own version to my heart’s content!
So I googled for a chickpea bake recipe, and found one on a blog called the mobius strip. I adapted this recipe to my taste, mostly in the way I cooked the eggplant and flat bread. I also added some chermoula spice, that I had purchased from the Harvest Picnic.
The chickpea bake was good – I really loved the crispy flat bread and the tangy, slightly spicy chickpeas. I thought it could’ve used a squeeze of lemon juice and might try that next time I make it.
I topped the bake with some spinach from my garden, to add a bit of green. Speaking of my garden, I have cracked the coriander growing problem. After a bit of research, I found that coriander is quite sensitive to transplanting, which might be why I had so much problem with seedlings. I sowed some coriander from seed a few weeks ago, and they sprouted without any problems. They’ve very small at the moment, but seem to be growing successfully. The rest of my plants are also growing well, although my basil, mint and spinach seem to have been decimated by unidentified insects and the recent heat wave. I’m hoping they will revive! They’re not completely toast, but they’re not as lush as they were a week ago.
Adapted from the mobius strip
3 pieces of flat Lebanese bread
Olive oil for spraying
2 teaspoons of chermoula spice (or any other desired mixture of spices)
1 medium eggplant, cut into cubes
1 teaspoon of olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon chermoula spice (or other mixture)
400g can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper
1 cup yoghurt
A handful of baby spinach (optional)
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Lightly spray the bread with olive oil, and sprinkle the spice on top. Toast in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until nice and crispy. Take it out of the oven and crush/rip into smallish pieces. Turn the oven down to 180 degrees C.
Steam the eggplant over boiling water for about 10 minutes, or until tender. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat, and saute the garlic and onions until soft. Add the spice mixture, chickpeas and the steamed eggplant. Fry lightly for a couple of minutes to warm the chickpeas. Season with salt and pepper.
Put the chickpea mixture into a baking dish, then stir through the yoghurt. Place the dish into the oven until the chickpea bake is just warmed through (don’t bake it for too long or at too high a heat in case the yoghurt curdles).
Take the chickpea bake out of the oven, and stir through the toasted flat bread (or layer if you prefer). Top with spinach if desired, and eat immediately before the bread softens.