This month, chef Josh Katz shared his delicious recipe for spinach borani with fried chickpeas. His new book, Berber & Q on Vegetables, focuses on the simple vegetable and will show you how to barbecue, grill, roast, smoke, pickle and slow-cook your way through this summer.
Spinach borani is a dish of Persian origin, though there are Turkish variations, usually involving yoghurt as a base or topping. It comes in all different shapes and forms depending on where you are in the world, some with meat, and many using blanched or sautéed vegetables that are subsequently blended or incorporated into the yoghurt. Fried chickpeas are a great topping for many dips and spreads, such as Pumpkin Chershi (page 148). At our Shawarma Bar, we garnish our hummus with fried chickpeas. If you’d rather not go to the effort of making them, this recipe for spinach borani will taste delicious all by itself.
- Sunflower oil, for deep-frying 100g (3½ oz)
- Drained tinned chickpeas, rinsed and patted dry
- ½ tbsp zaʹatar
- ¼ tsp ground turmeric
- 200g (7oz) spinach
- 200g (7oz) natural yoghurt
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1½ tbsp lemon juice
- 50ml (2fl oz) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp dill
- Flaked sea salt and ground black pepper
- Pita breads or flatbreads, lightly brushed with oil and warmed in the oven or grill, to serve
- Pour sunflower oil into a heavy-based saucepan to a 2cm (¾ inch) depth. Place the pan over medium-high heat until the oil is 200°C (400°F) when probed with a thermometer. Lower the chickpeas into the hot oil to deep-fry for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp. Remove the chickpeas from the oil with a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper, sprinkle with the zaʹatar and turmeric, and season generously with salt and black pepper.
- Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil and blanch the spinach for 30 seconds, drain and refresh in a bowl filled with iced water, or under cold running water. Drain and squeeze dry with your hands to remove as much of the liquid as possible. Finely chop the spinach and add to a bowl. Stir through the yoghurt, garlic and lemon juice. Fold in half the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
- Spread the borani around the base of a plate and spoon over the deep-fried chickpeas. Garnish with chopped dill and finish with a generous drizzle of the remaining olive oil around the outside. Serve with warmed bread.
Words Josh Katz
Photography James Murphy