97. Israel: Fatteh (Pita with chickpeas and yoghurt)

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Israel, it’s easily the most fought over piece of land in the world. To talk about it without pissing somebody if not everybody off is sort of an impossible task. So here goes nothing…

The people of modern day Israel share the same language and culture shaped by the Jewish heritage and religion passed through generations starting with the founding father Abraham (ca. 1800 BC). Jews have had continuous presence in the land of Israel for the past 3,300 years. After the exile by the Romans at 70 CE, the Jewish people migrated to Europe and North Africa. In the Diaspora (scattered outside of the Land of Israel), they established rich cultural and economic lives, and contributed greatly to the societies where they lived. Yet, they continued their national culture and prayed to return to Israel through centuries. In the first half of the 20th century there were major waves of immigration of Jews back to Israel from Arab countries and from Europe. During the British rule in Palestine, the Jewish people were subject to great violence and massacres directed by Arab civilians or forces of the neighboring Arab states. During World War II, the Nazi regime in Germany decimated about 6 million Jews creating the great tragedy of The Holocaust. In 1948, Jewish Community in Israel under the leadership of David Ben-Gurion reestablished sovereignty over their ancient homeland. Declaration of independence of the modern State of Israel was announced on the day that the last British forces left Israel (May 14, 1948). (I did not write this by myself but this is the briefest history that I could find of the history of the Israel http://www.science.co.il/israel-history/)

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Things you didn’t know about Israel:

  • Israel led the world by banning size Zero models before any other country.
  • More Israelis graduate from college than any other country (per capita)
  • Israel is the only country to revive an unspoken language, making Hebrew one of its two national languages (the other official language is Arabic).
  • Israeli cows are milkier than any other cows in the world – producing nearly twice the yield of European cows.
  • Starbucks succeeded in every country in the world…except for Israel.

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3 pitas, cut into wedges

1¾ cups (275 g) chickpeas (canned or cooked), drained and rinsed

Salt

1 cup (225 g) plain yogurt

3 cloves garlic, minced

½ teaspoon cumin

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons tahini paste

⅓ cup pine nuts, toasted

Chopped parsley or cilantro

Preheat the oven to 175C/350F.

  1. Put the pita wedges on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, until lightly browned and crispy. Remove from the oven and set aside. (Alternately, Palestinian recipes often call for frying the pita on the stovetop.)
  2. Put the chickpeas in a small pot along with 100 ml (½ cup) water and simmer over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, until the water has mostly absorbed and the chickpeas are heated through. Season with salt and remove from the heat.
  3. Meanwhile, put the yogurt, garlic, cumin, lemon juice, tahini paste, and a pinch of salt in a large bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined. Whisk in a little water at a time if the mixture is too thick, until a desired consistency is reached.
  4. Break up the toasted pita wedges a bit and arrange them in an even layer on the bottom of a deep serving platter, bowl, or casserole dish. Top with the warm chickpeas, then the yogurt sauce. Sprinkle with pine nuts and parsley or cilantro and serve with additional pita or pita chips.
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