I had doubts about serving a communal dish at an event that was all about small bites. I was worried it would ruin the look, that people would be squeamish about dipping their fingers into a communal bowl of chips, that nobody wanted to try yet another take on hummus. And boy, was I wrong - because this black eyed pea masabacha with tahini, tomatoes, garlic and hot peppers was such a hit, I couldn't refill the plates fast enough.
It starts with a generous smear of tahini. But not just any tahini will do; we're talking homemade tahini, generously flavoured with garlic and lemon juice, and prepared from the smoothest raw tahini base you could find in stores (I am partial to Al Jamal tahini from Nablus, though most Lebanese tahini will do). The tahini should be easy to spread but not too runny, and good enough to lick off a spoon on its own.
Then the party really gets going when we take some cooked black eyed peas and flash-fry them in a very hot pan until they just get that nice, golden sear around the edges. We add some tomatoes, spicy peppers and garlic, and sear them as well just so that they hold their shape - we don't want no runny tomato sauce here!
This delectable mess gets artfully piled on the tahini, like a mound of jewels resting on the hold desert sand. Some chopped parsley gets sprinkled on top, and the whole dish is finished off with a drizzle of your favourite olive oil.
And voila - black eyed pea masabacha with tahini, tomatoes, garlic and hot peppers is served, faster than it would take you to go to the bakery and get the pitas to go with it (for a gluten-free alternative, I love eating black eyed pea masabacha with tortilla chips - cheap and easy).
Trust me - this is one dish you DO want to serve to a crowd... as long as you have extra stowed away for yourself.
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Black eyed pea masabacha with tahini, tomatoes, garlic and hot peppers
- Juice of one lemon about 60 ml
- 1 garlic clove
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup raw sesame tahini
- ½ - 1 cup of cold water
Black eyed pea mesabacha:
- ½ cup black-eyed peas soaked in water for four hours, filtered and cooked OR ½ cup canned black eyed peas, liquid drained
- 2 to matoes diced
- Hot pepper to taste
- 1 garlic clove minced
- ½ cup parsley or cilantro leaves chopped
- Olive oil for drizzling
- To prepare tahini, combine first five ingredients in a blender and mix, starting with ½ a cup of water and adding more as necessary until you reach desired consistency. Set aside.
- In a large hot pan, sear black eyed peas with a little oil until you get burn marks, about 2-5 mins. Add diced tomatoes, pepper and garlic and stir-fry over high heat so that the tomatoes will burn around the edges but keep their shape, about 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle with salt and half the parsley or coriander leaves.
- To serve, smear tahini on a larger platter (as you would for hummus), piling the black eyed pea mesabacha mixture in the middle. Sprinkle with remaining herbs, drizzle with olive oil and serve.
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