Chickpea Bowl with Tahini Yogurt Sauce

In Montréal we have the absolute privilege of having some of the best, and most diverse, restaurants in the world. It is something that I will never take for granted. The rich multiculturalism of the city shines through in the plethora of delicious restaurants we have spanning from classic Québecois case-croûte to Ethiopian and everything in between. One restaurant we particularly enjoy is the Montréal institution of Damas. A chic staple of Montréal, it serves up delicious Syrian food. 

Now, as you probably know from being on my blog, I only cook vegetarian food. However, every once in a while I love to indulge in a meal including meat. I think that food is one of the greatest pleasures in life and eating meat every once in a while whether at a very nice restaurant or while traveling is something that brings me great pleasure. After all, I am vegetarian purely due to the environmental impacts of factory farming and by greatly limiting my consumption that goal is still attained. 

All this is to say that this recipe is based on a dish we tried at Damas a few months ago called Fattet Mozat — described on their menu as: Alberta lamb shoulder, rice, tahini yogurt sauce, crispy pita, nuts, ghee. It was so delicious, I decided I wanted to try and recreate the dish at home while obviously omitting the lamb shoulder. While it is clearly not as indulgent as the original dish, I think it’s pretty damn good and captures the same flavour profile as the original dish. I hope you enjoy this dish, and if you ever come to Montréal be sure to check out Damas, their vegetarian fare is also amazing!

A few quick notes before we get into it. The recipe calls for nantes carrots. These carrots are smaller, sweet and have a thin skin so no need to peel them. However, depending on which carrots you have available to you, use your judgement as to whether they need to be peeled or not. Additionally, for the yogurt in the sauce there are two important qualities for it to have; first off,  it needs to have a high fat content, look for something over 6% milk fat. Second, it should be fairly liquidy, so avoid greek yogurt and skyr.

Ingredients

Rice

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 ¾ cups water
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • ½ tsp salt

Carrots & Parsnips

  • 1 lb parsnips, peeled and cut to bite-size pieces
  • 1 lb nantes carrots, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp salt

Yogurt tahini sauce

  • ½ cup tahini
  • 1 ¼ cup high fat content yogurt (not greek yogurt, want it to be more liquidy)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 3 cloves garlic, mashed
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper to taste 

Chickpeas

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 shallots, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups chickpeas (2 15oz cans)
  • 1 ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp salt

Toppers

  • Crushed pita chips
  • Chopped pistachios
  • Fresh parsley, chopped

Directions 

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Begin by rinsing the rice. Place rice in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Swirl the rice around with your hand until the water becomes milky, then carefully pour off the water. Repeat 4-5 times until the water does not become murky, then strain the rice and set aside. 
  2. Prepare the carrots; in the bowl used to rinse the rice, whisk together the honey, olive oil, dried marjoram, smoked paprika and salt. Then add in the carrots and parsnips and toss to coat. Place on a large, lined baking sheet and cook for 25-30 minutes. Once ready, both vegetables should be easily pierced by a fork. 
  3. The rice should now be well strained; in a saucepan place the rice, the water, the butter and the salt. Bring to a boil and then simmer on low with a tight fitting lid for 15-18 minutes; until all the water has been absorbed. Fluff it with a fork and set aside with the lid on. 
  4. Make the sauce, combine all the ingredients and mix together well. Taste for salt and adjust; set aside. 
  5. Lastly, we will make the chickpeas. Heat a large non-stick pan on medium low heat. Once hot, add in the olive oil and then sauté the shallot and garlic for 2-3 minutes until fragrant. Then add in the chickpeas, paprika, cumin and salt and turn the heat up to medium high. Sauté for 5-7 minutes stirring frequently, until the chickpeas have begun to form a crisp layer on the outside then set aside.
  6. Add a ¼ cup of the yogurt tahini sauce into the rice and fluff to incorporate. We are now ready to plate. Begin with a layer of rice, followed by the chickpeas and then the vegetables. Top with an extremely generous coating of sauce, it should be practically entirely covered. Finish it off with a sprinkle of each of the following: chopped pistachios, crushed pita chips and chopped parsley. Enjoy!

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