Za’atar is an herbaceous spice mixture that has its roots in the Middle East. In Houston, however, chef Martha Wilcox shares it with the Deep South as she explores the numerous ways to dress up green chickpeas and their earthy and nutty flavor. This recipe has three easy steps and encourages the use of a multitude of spices and flavors to enhance these young chickpeas’ natural, nutty taste.
½ teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon toasted white sesame seeds
1 teaspoon sumac
1 tablespoon plus ¼ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 cup green chickpeas, in the shell
1. Combine oregano, thyme, cumin, coriander, sesame seeds, sumac, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Set za’atar aside.
2. Bring 1 quart water and 1 tablespoon salt to a rolling boil. Add chickpeas and cook for 30 to 60 seconds, until shells turn vibrant green and, when tested, the pea on the inside is softened. Use a slotted spoon to remove chickpeas and shake off excess water. Allow to drain thoroughly or blot on a paper towel.
3. In a bowl, toss warm chickpeas with a za’atar. Taste and add more salt if needed. Serve warm.
Recipe ByMartha Wilcox from Indianola in Houston