Chickpea Wrap – Nohut Dürümü
A few miles inland of the very north east corner of the Mediterranean, lies the city of Gaziantep. This is where Turkey meets Syria and like most parts of the Mediterranean world, an ancient city. Archaeological evidence shows the earliest traces of Gziantep over thirty thousand years ago. It is closer to Aleppo in Syria than it is to its to Adana Turkey — its next closest neighbor among major cities. Its location has created a dynamic history and rich ethnic diversity.
Some call Gaziantep Turkey’s Food Capital. Because of its location, Gaziantep is bound to be a culinary melting pot. Right at the very intersection of the Arabian Mediterranean and the Turkish Mediterranean. Being in the crossroads of two diverse food cultures is bound to create a vibrant food culture. If I ever get to turkey, I want to go here (after visiting the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul!). Gaziantep is so renowned for its food that UNESCO designates it as a Creative City of Gastronomy.
There are a great many dishes that Gaziantep is noted for. For example, it has a baklava that is recognized as its signature dish. What makes it so special is a particular type of pistachio (the Antep pistachio) native to that region. Gaziantep baklava is so associated with their city that won a unique distinction. In 2013 it became became the first Turkish product with a European protected designation of origin (DOP) designation. If you can’t travel to Gaziantep for their theirs, why not try making your own baklava at home
But this post isn’t about baklava. It is about another dish from Gaziantep — the chickpea wrap. In the early 1940s and local named began selling chickpea wraps from a food cart. Over time it gained popularity, and is now a local specialty. Locals call it nohut dürümü which is a pretty descriptive name. Nohut translates to chickpea, and dürümü translates to wrap. Such a simple seeming dish, it has a flavor complexity all its own.
The flavor depth comes from the variety of flavorings added to the basic contents of the wrap. Cumin, sumac, Aleppo pepper, and pomegranate syrup together create a delicious, earthy depth of flavor. The combination is both different and pleasing at the same time. The Aleppo pepper can make the wrap spicy depending on how much you use. If you want spicier — add more than in the recipe below.
I needn’t tell you about my own ardor for chickpeas. So when I came across this wrap, it was a no brainer to feature it here. What I didn’t know is that chickpeas aren’t always a vegetarian option! After reading dozens of recipes for nothu dürümü, it became apparent that in Gaziantep they aren’t usually vegetarian.
The approach to the chickpea wrap uses dried chickpeas, and soaking them. So far, so good. But then time comes to cook the chickpeas. In Gaziantep, the traditional cooking liquid is a bone broth. Usually using lamb or chicken to cook the beans, it undoubtedly imparts a certain umami to the beans. But it definitely isn’t vegetarian.
My adaptation is different. It is strictly vegetarian. In fact, it is even vegan friendly. I don’t rely on soaking and cooking chickpeas yourself, and instead use canned beans as a shortcut. No bone broth in these — so it sticks true to vegetarian.
A quick and delicious meal
Without having to soak and cook the chickpeas, this version is a quicker alternative. The sort of thing you can whip up to make lunch for work or a quick afternoon snack. It can also make a great meal for a light social event. To achieve the ‘quicker’ approach, I embrace the use of canned chickpeas.
This wrap uses no mayo or other binder to help keep the ingredients from being too loose. What it does use is mashing up some of the chickpeas. Not quite to hummus consistency, but enough to act as a binder for the remains ingredients.
For a wrap, I use a large sized flour wrap. Any flatbread wrap you can find will work. Traditionally in Gaziantep they use a local lavash bread. Certainly, it is possible to find commercial lavash breads in most grocery stores. If that is your preference, go for it. I don’t particularly care for the flavor of the brand I can find locally, so I use a different solution. The point is – any wrap will do.
Regardless of which wrap you use, or how much Aleppo pepper you use in the end this wrap is winner. It is simple, healthy and delicious and makes for a great option to add a vegetarian lunch into your week. Pair it with a tabbouleh or cucumber salad for a great light meal.
So give this nohut dürümü – chickpea wrap — a try and leave a comment below to let me know what you think in the comments. I think the great tastes of this Turkish delight will surprise you!
Chickpea Wrap – Nohut Dürümü
- 2 cans chickpeas 15 oz, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup onion medium dice
- 1 stalk Scallions thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup green pepper diced
- 1/4 cup red pepper diced
- 1/4 cup parsley chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon sumac
- 1/2 teaspoon aleppo pepper or 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon pomegranate syrup
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 2 pieces lavash wraps
- Drain the chickpeas and place a can in a third in a large bowl for mixing. Set remaining chickpeas aside
- Add onions, scallions, green and red pepper, and parsley to large bowl of chickpeas and toss to combine
- Add cumin, sumac, Aleppo pepper, olive oil, and pomegranate syrup and toss to combine.
- Take remaining chickpeas and used a spoon to gently mash.
- Add mashed chickpeas to chickpea mixture
- Sample and add kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- Place about 1/2 of mixture in each wrap. Roll wrap up, cut and serve.