A bell chimes as we push open the heavy glass door and enter Kokoro (which means “heart”), a bakery the size of our pantry back home. A short lady with a round, smiling face greets us, saying, Irashaimase (welcome!) We grab a green plastic tray and a pair of tongs hanging from a small rack. Then we choose from a variety of Japanese-style (white & fluffy) or European-style (more dense and crusty) breads, all within an arms reach. Among the overwhelming variety in that small little space is homemade pita bread, hiding on the bottom shelf, between the orange rolls and the azuki (red bean) scones. We grab a bag of it and rush home to make these baked pita chips.
Baked Pita Chips
pita bread, halved and cut into triangles
paprika or chili powder
- Lay the pita triangles on a baking sheet. Brush one side with olive oil. Sprinkle with any seasonings you like.
- Bake in a 350 degree oven (180 C) for 15-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of your pita bread, or until browned and crunchy.
- Serve with hummus
Don’t ever take your ingredients for granted. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve planned to make a recipe, and then realized that I can’t find at least 1 or 2 of the ingredients in our supermarket (or anywhere in Japan for that matter!) . Today was no exception. Hummus. We’ve been craving hummus. We found canned garbanzo beans at the import food store, no problem. But tahini was nowhere to be found (surprising, in a country that loves goma — sesame seeds). We also had to use a blender (resulting in a much creamier texture), since a food processor was apparently not among the furnishings in our “furnished apartment.” This is our tweaked hummus recipe that you can use, whether you’re in Asia or not.
1 can garbanzo beans, drained
a swig or more of olive oil
1 small clove of garlic (sauteed in olive oil for a few minutes, if you want a milder garlic flavor)
2 heaping spoonfuls of plain yogurt
juice from 1/2 a lemon
salt & pepper to taste
- Place the beans, garlic, yogurt, lemon juice and small swig of olive oil in a blender (or if you’re lucky, a food processor)
- Blend, add a little more olive oil, and blend again until the consistency is to your liking
- Add salt & pepper to taste, along with any other spices you have around (cumin, chili powder, etc.)
- Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.
We also made a made a quick “Greek” salad of sliced cherry tomatoes, cucumber and crumbled feta cheese, dressed with olive oil, white wine vinegar, and some oregano. Everything went really well with this wine that we found at the import store!