How to Craft a Gourmet Middle Eastern Mezze Platter with Homemade Hummus and Falafel?

Let’s add a touch of the exotic Middle Eastern flair to your dining table! How you ask? By crafting a fabulous Middle Eastern mezze platter, of course! We’re talking about hearty falafels, creamy homemade hummus, and a variety of other delightful nibbles.

This culinary adventure won’t just be a feast for the taste buds, but also a visual spectacle that’ll surely impress your loved ones. So, roll up your sleeves and let’s get started on this colourful ensemble of tastes, textures, and tantalizing flavors.

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Crafting the Perfect Homemade Hummus

The heart of any mezze platter is undoubtedly the hummus. This creamy dip made from chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon, and garlic is not only delicious but also quite healthy. This simple yet versatile dish can be tweaked to your preference, making it a surefire crowd-pleaser.

Gather Your Ingredients

The key to the perfect hummus lies in the quality of your ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:

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  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 4 tablespoons tahini
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Crafting Your Hummus

  1. Rinse the chickpeas under cold water and add them to a food processor. Blitz until you get a crumbly mixture.
  2. Add the tahini, minced garlic, and lemon juice into the food processor. Process until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Whilst processing, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. This will give your hummus a silky texture.
  4. Season with salt and pepper according to your taste. Process one last time to ensure everything is well incorporated.
  5. Voila! Your homemade hummus is ready to be spread across your mezze platter.

Crafting Crispy Falafels from Scratch

Nothing complements the creaminess of hummus better than crispy, flavorful falafels. These golden nuggets of chickpeas, herbs, and spices are a Middle Eastern staple and an essential part of your mezze platter.

Gather Your Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make about 20 falafels:

  • 2 cups dried chickpeas
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Oil for frying

Crafting Your Falafels

  1. Soak the dried chickpeas overnight. Drain and rinse them the next day. Remember, canned chickpeas do not work well for falafels as they tend to fall apart when frying.
  2. Combine the chickpeas, onion, garlic, parsley, and cilantro in a food processor. Process until you get a coarse mixture.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and add the flour, salt, cumin, coriander, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Mix well.
  4. Shape the mixture into small patties or balls. This mixture should yield about 20 falafels.
  5. Heat the oil in a deep pan. Once hot, fry the falafels in batches. Make sure to turn them occasionally to achieve a golden-brown color on all sides.
  6. Drain the falafels on a paper towel to remove excess oil.

Arranging Your Middle Eastern Mezze Platter

Now that your stars of the show – hummus and falafels – are ready, it’s time to assemble the mezze platter.

Gather Your Ingredients

In addition to the hummus and falafels, you’ll need:

  • Fresh vegetables (like cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, bell pepper strips, and radishes)
  • Pickles and olives
  • Pita bread or flatbread
  • Fresh herbs for garnish
  • Other dips or spreads of your choice

Crafting Your Mezze Platter

  1. Start by spreading hummus on a large plate. This will act as the base for your platter.
  2. Arrange the falafels around the hummus. Ensure to space them evenly.
  3. Fill the remaining space with fresh vegetables, pickles, olives, and bread. You can also add any other dips or spreads if you wish.
  4. Finally, garnish with fresh herbs to make the platter visually appealing.

Remember, creating a mezze platter is more of an art than a science. You can add or omit ingredients based on your preferences and dietary requirements. Most importantly, have fun and enjoy the process!

Adding Extra Touches to Your Middle Eastern Mezze Platter

Variety is the spice of life and this rings true when it comes to a mezze platter. With the hummus and falafels ready, you can add a few more items that will tantalize the taste buds and make your platter even more diverse and appealing.

Special Dips

While hummus is the star, you can add other dips to provide a variety of flavors. Baba ganoush, made from roasted eggplant, tahini and garlic, is a popular choice. Tzatziki, a refreshing dip made from yogurt, cucumber, and garlic, is another fantastic addition.

Cheese and Nuts

A selection of Middle Eastern cheese like feta and halloumi can add a creamy and salty flavor to your platter. Nuts like almonds, pistachios, and walnuts not only add a crunchy texture but also a nutritional boost.

Fresh and Dried Fruits

Fruit brings a sweet contrast to the savory items on the platter. Fresh fruits such as grapes, figs, and dates are traditional choices. Dried fruits like apricots and raisins also work well.

Olives and Pickles

Olives and pickles add tartness, which helps to balance out the rich flavors of the hummus and falafel. Choose a variety of olives – black, green, and stuffed – for an array of flavors. Pickles can include everything from pickled cucumbers to tangy pickled turnips.

The Art of Presenting Your Middle Eastern Mezze Platter

The presentation of your mezze platter is almost as important as the flavors it delivers. The visual impact will set the mood and make the food even more appetizing.

Start with a large flat plate or a wooden board. An assortment of small bowls can be used for dips, pickles, and olives. Use a variety of colors and textures to make the platter visually appealing.

Arrange the items in a way that makes it easy for people to reach. Place the dips and bread around the edge of the platter, with the falafels, cheeses, and fruits towards the center.

Use fresh herbs, such as mint or parsley, to garnish and add a pop of color.

Remember to serve the mezze platter at room temperature to ensure the best flavors.

Conclusion

Crafting a Middle Eastern mezze platter is a fun and interactive way to explore and celebrate the rich flavors of the Middle Eastern cuisine. This communal dish is perfect for family gatherings or parties.

Creating your homemade hummus and falafel, and pairing them with a variety of dips, cheeses, fruits, and bread, is not a rigid process. It allows you to express your creativity and cater to your personal preference or dietary needs.

So the next time you’re hosting, ditch the standard party food and blaze a culinary trail across the Middle East with this mesmerizing mezze platter. Enjoy the compliments that are sure to come your way!

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