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3rd May, 2018

Balila is a dish made from chickpeas mixed with garlic, salt, cumin and olive oil and is usually served as a hot mezze dish which is popular in the winter months but given the average winter temperatures of Saudi Arabia, it's perfect for a British summer

Torshi are pickled vegetables and are usually stored for a few months before eating but this recipe is a quick pickle that still packs in flavour


  • 400g tinned cooked chickpeas (a tin an a half essentially)
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 8 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 80 mls olive oil
  • 100 mls reserved cooking liquid from chickpeas
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 ttsp salt
  • For the Torshi:
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 2 tsp Sumac
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • For the garnish:
  • 1 Tbsp parsley, chopped


    Start by making the Torshi which is very simple. Cut the cucumber in half, remove the seeds and finely slice. Put the sliced cucumber in a bowl, add the sumac, salt and lemon juice and leave to one side to marinade

    Empty the cooked chickpeas and the juices from the tin into a pan warm through. When warmed, strain the chickpeas with a sieve and reserve the cooking liquid

    To make the dressing, combine the lemon juice, olive oil and about 100 mls of the reserved cooking liquid in a bowl and add the crushed garlic, salt and half a teaspoon of the ground cumin. To bring the dressing together, mash three tablespoons of the warmed chickpeas with a fork and add them to the dressing bowl and mix well so the dressing is thicker

    To serve, pour the dressing over the chickpeas and give them a mix, sprinkle over the remainder of the cumin and garnish with chopped parsley

    Serve the Torshi in a separate bowl to allow your guests to add themselves and make sure you serve it with some pitta to dip