Cape Town chef Tal Smith has some serious talent when it comes to conjuring up dishes that taste as gorgeous as they look. Her Jewish-Mediterranean-Middle Eastern heritage, steeped in culinary family traditions, has given rise to a signature focussed on fresh, seasonal and unfussy flavours with a subtle exotic twist. (Think Claudia Roden and Yotam Ottolenghi). Tal’s passion for food has resulted in two shops, Sababa Kitchen and Deli, one located in Sea Point, the other (run by her sister and collaborator, Nirit) in Bree Street. And now she has just released her first cookbook, much to the joy of her devoted customers. The fabulous pics are by acclaimed photographer, Russell Smith, who also happens to be Tal’s husband.
We have three copies of Sababa: Middle Eastern and Mediterranean Food (R320, Jacana Media) by Tal Smith and Nirit Saban for you to win. Plus, Tal’s recipe for hummus – the best in town, hands down.
Sababa’s Hummus Recipe
* 500 g dried chickpeas *
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
* 6 cloves garlic, crushed *
1 cup fresh lemon juice
* 3 cups tahina paste * 1 tsp salt * 200 ml hot water * 1 tsp cumin (optional)
Soak the chickpeas overnight using 3 times the amount of water with 1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda. Strain the chickpeas through a colander and rinse them under cold water. Boil the chickpeas in a pot with double the amount of water and 1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda and cook until the chickpeas are soft and almost falling apart. Strain the chickpeas and allow them to cool slightly. Then blend the chickpeas with the rest of the ingredients until smooth.
Tip from Tal: To elevate the flavours, drizzle a good glug of fruity or peppery extra virgin olive oil on top, and a sprinkling of za’atar (there is a recipe for this ubiquitous and addictive Middle Eastern spice mix in the book, or you can buy a jar from Sababa) as well as toasted pine kernels. Smoked paprika will do nicely as a substitute for za’atar.
Want to WIN one of Tal and Nirit’s cookbooks?
• LIKE the I Want That Facebook page (if you haven’t already done so).
• Let us know in the comments section what your all-time favourite Middle Eastern or Mediterranean dish is.
• This giveaway ends on 19 May and is open to SA Residents only. The usual social media actions apply.