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With so many religions living so close to each other, you have to struggle with colorful methods to get some attention from the public.


Warm Chick Peas with Tahini

Seduced by his nose, which had smelled cumin and fresh pita bread, Hektor Maille sat down in a small restaurant in the Old City of Jerusalem, where he was given this warm chickpeas with sesame paste. The dish is also served under similar names such as Msabaha, Messabaha or Mashaushe in most hummus premises of Israel.

At night, lots of the honey-colored streets in the Old City of Jerusalem, make a rather abandoned impression.

Ingredients (for 4 to 8 persons)

250 g dried chick peas

1½ teaspoons sodium bicarbonate

1 or 2 tablespoons olive oil (or more)

Juice of 1 lemon

2 teaspoons cumin, ground

1 teaspoon salt

1 or 2 small hot chillies, deseeded and finely chopped

6 pods garlic, pressed

2 teaspoons hot paprika powder (or paprika flakes as Piment «Cancan»)

2 or 3 tablespoons sesame paste

once again 1 teaspoon salt (or some more) to be mixed with the tahini


  1. Soak the chickpeas overnight (at least 12 hours) in a bowl with water and 1 teaspoon baking soda. Drain and rinse, discard the soaking water.
  2. Place in a pot and pour so much water that it stands 2 to 3 cm over the chickpeas. Stir in ½ teaspoon baking soda. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 2-3 hours (depending on the soaking time), until peas are very soft.
  3. Mix olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, salt and chili together and set aside this sauce.
  4. Depending on the pot you will have to add some water during the cooking - or, at the end, you have to pour off excess liquid. Mix tahini and salt. With a wooden spoon stir sesame paste under the finished chickpeas, mix well and mash a bit some of the peas. Put into a plate, pour the sauce over and serve immediately - preferably with fresh pita bread or flat bread.

How much sauce you want to serve on the «Mesabaha» depends on one's own preferences. The ratios given here are for reference only - we have served the same amount of chickpeas with the double amount of sauce (and it didn't seem too much. Also the sauce can easily be varied - for example by toasting the cumin in advance, by adding some Sumac, a small onion, parsley… – You can prepare «Mesabaha» with canned chickpeas, but it barely reaches the same taste.

Still steaming hot «Mesabaha» with a piece of bread or a soft flat bread.
HOIO's menu-test for Episode 16 of «Mission Kaki», December 15, 2010 in Zurich.

More about the travel adventure of Secret Agent Hektor Maille:

After a failed metamorphosis, a hungry Hektor Maille traipsed through the streets of Jerusalem, his head full of fishy thoughts, but ended up with only a couple of chickpeas on his plate. We have therefore requested the restaurant «Herzog's» in Port Louis to put together a small fish menu for us:

And also:

First Publication: 24-12-2010

Modifications: 20-6-2011, 16-11-2011, 19-12-2011