Pita is a kind of a bread which is very popular in the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean countries. It is a round pocket bread which when baked puffs up and flattens as it cools. A very popular greek food is Falafel Sandwich were the falafels are stuffed inside the pita bread.This is one of my fav food at Gyros a greek restaurant in MN. The sandwich is served with cucumber,tomatoes,onions and tzatziki sauce.It tastes YUM!.

Hummus is like a dip made with garbanzo beans and Baba Ganoush is made using eggplant(aubergine).The first time I ate them was probably four years back at a Lebanese restaurant. They were served with warm Pita bread and Tabouli salad.The salad was something I just couldn’t eat,I think one has to have an acquired taste for “cous cous”.Anyways it was just not the delicious fare that we enjoyed, the traditional belly dancing accompanied with the foot tapping music made the recipe for a perfect evening. I was amazed with the finesse with which the dancers performed….it was sheer elegance coupled with superior dexterity.

The addition of Tahini is what makes these dips taste great. I believe you can make them without it as well, I sure haven’t tried it yet.I usually dont buy the paste, have always made it from scratch.

PITA BREAD WITH ROASTED GARLIC HUMMUS & BABA GANOUSH

Pita Bread
( makes about 8 pita breads)

1.5 cups flour
5 tablespoons warm water
1/2 teaspoon yeast proofed in a tablespoon of warm water with 1/2 tablespoon of flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoon olive oil

Mix the flour,water and the yeast in a bowl. Add salt,mix and then add the olive oil. I used my stand mixer fitted with a dough hook to knead.Turn to high speed if needed to get the dough to slap against the sides of the bowl. Brush a glass bowl with oil and place the dough in it. Cover with a plastic wrap and let rise for about 3 hours in room temperature or until tripled in volume. Press down the dough,cut into equal pieces and shape them into small balls. Roll out the balls into 4 or 6 inch disks,flouring as needed to prevent sticking.Because the dough is elastic you may have to let the disks rest once or twice while you are rolling them out to get them to hold their shapes. Place a pizza stone on the floor of the oven and preheat the oven to 500F. You may also use a baking sheet. Arrange the discs on the sheet pans and slide it into the oven, bake for about 7 minutes until they are lightly browned. Turn them over and bake for another minute or two.

Tahini

¼ cup sesame seeds(white)
2 tablespoon sesame oil

Dry roast the sesame seeds until golden brown.(be careful as they turn dark very soon).Cool and grind it along with sesame oil. Store it in an air tight container.

Roasted Garlic

Preheat oven at 400F. Take a garlic bulb and cut the top of the clove.Place it on a small silver foil and drizzle about a teaspoon of olive oil. Wrap it with the foil and bake for about 40 minutes. Remove the skin.You will end up with a very soft golden colored garlic not to forget the amazing aroma too:).

Hummus

1 cup Garbanzo beans ( you may use the canned ones too,reserve the liquid)
Roasted garlic ( as needed)
4 tablespoon olive oil + ½ teaspoon for garnishing
¼ teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoon tahini paste
salt as needed
¼ teaspoon chili flakes and parsley ( optional)

Soak the Garbanzo beans overnight and cook it the next day until soft. (If you are using a canned ones this step is not required.). Reserve the liquid in which it is cooked. Allow it to cool. Grind it along with the rest of the ingredients except the last one. (If it is too thick use the reserved liquid, just a little which is purely optional). Garnish with olive oil,chili flakes and finely chopped parsley.

{If you like your Hummus to be super garlicky, use all of the roasted garlic else use about 3-4 pods}

Baba Ganoush

1 eggplant ( I used a baby eggplant)
2 tablespoon Olive oil + little extra for brushing
1 garlic pod ( you may use roasted garlic too)
1 teaspoon tahini paste
salt as needed
¼ teaspoon chili flakes

Preheat the oven at 400F. Brush little oil ( probably need about ¼ teaspoon)all over the eggplant and using a knife make small slits on all sides.You may even use a fork and prick. Bake for 40 minutes until they are completely soft. Peel the skin and scrape out the pulp. Grind it along with rest of the ingredients except the last one. Garnish with chili flakes and little olive oil.


If you prefer a smoky flavor, use the broil option in the oven to char the skin of the eggplant, then peel and use. I chose not to as I dont like it. Since I used a baby eggplant, I ended up with less than ½ cup of Baba Ganoush. You will have to adjust the quantity of ingredients as per your taste if you are using a large eggplant.

Serve the Hummus and Baba Ganoush with Pita bread.
Enjoy!
Note : The recipe for Pita Bread was adapted from the book Baking by James Peterson. I made some changes to suit my requirement.

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