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'Crispy' Dukkah-spiced Chickpeas With Tomato Salad & Yogurt Recipe

Theo says: "I took a food trip to Israel recently and I can't tell you the number of times I was served a dish with a base of yogurt and tahini. Once the vegetable juices seep in, you are left with a delicious sauce that is best mopped up with challah bread. I always have a can of chickpeas in the cupboard, and frying them in oil until crispy is a great way to use them. Make this salad with or without the dukkah. And feel free to use alternative vegetables depending on the season."

Serves

2 as a main, 4 as a side

Ingredients

  • ½ cucumber
  • 150g (5½ oz) any in-season tomatoes you can get
  • Handful of Kalamata olives, pitted
  • 1 green chilli, finely sliced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Finely grated zest and juice of ½ lemon
  • 400g (14oz) can chickpeas, drained
  • About 150ml (5fl oz) neutral oil, such as vegetable or sunflower
  • Small handful of dill, leaves picked and roughly chopped
  • Small handful of flat leaf parsley, leaves picked and roughly chopped
  • Small handful of chives, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 150g (5¾oz) thick Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons tahini>
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Challah bread, to serve

For the hazelnut dukkah:

  • 100g (3.oz) blanched hazelnuts
  • 50g (1¾oz) pumpkin seeds
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme

Method

Start by preparing the dukkah. Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan, 400°F), Gas Mark 6.

Spread out all the dukkah ingredients except the thyme on a baking tray and roast for 8–10 minutes until the nuts are lightly golden and the spices are fragrant but not burned. Remove from the oven and pour on to a cold tray to stop the ingredients cooking any further, then leave to cool for 10 minutes. Once cooled and the hazelnuts are nice and crunchy, add to a blender with the thyme and pulse a few times until you have a very loose crumb. Season with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper.

Cut the cucumber in half lengthways, scoop out the seedy insides with a spoon and discard, then roughly chop the cucumber into small pieces. Roughly chop the tomatoes into 2-cm (¾-inch) chunks. Add both to a bowl with the olives, green chilli, a generous pinch of salt, the extra virgin olive oil and lemon zest, then set aside.

Lay the drained chickpeas out on a clean tea towel or kitchen paper and shake the tea towel or paper to dry, gently rubbing the tops to remove any moisture. The drier the chickpeas, the better this will work and the less the oil will splatter everywhere.

Line a tray with kitchen paper. Pour enough of the neutral oil into a medium saucepan to come 2–3cm (¾–1¼ inches) up the pan. Place the pan over a medium-high heat and heat up slightly, then add the chickpeas, swirling them into the oil. Fry for 8–10 minutes until the chickpeas are lightly golden, crisp and light. Scoop them out of the oil on to the paper-lined tray, then toss with 4–5 tablespoons of the dukkah to coat the crispy chickpeas. (The remaining dukkah will keep in an airtight jar for a few weeks.)

Toss the chopped herbs into the tomato and cucumber salad with the lemon juice and another pinch of salt.

Mix the garlic into the yogurt, then dollop on to individual serving plates or a platter along with the tahini, followed by the tomato and cucumber salad. Top with the dukkah chickpeas. Serve with slices of challah bread.

Extracted from Sprout and Co Saladology: Fresh ideas for delicious salads by Theo Kirwan. Published by Mitchell Beazley. Photography: Matt Russell.