Are you in the mood to try something a little different for weekend breakfast, that’s big on flavour and minimal on effort? If so, this Chermoula-Spiced Karantita is just the ticket. And what could be better to accompany the spices of North Africa than a bright and zesty pomegranate salad?
This is a dish of late-morning Mediterranean sunshine and sea; full of enticing, warm and satisfying flavours. It’s:
- one to impress the friends who thought they had brunch locked down with a sweet potato pancake; and
- so simple. All you need to do is stir the ingredients together and cook it in the oven. Seriously.
If you’re on the Cote d’Azur, you’ll recognise this dish as socca; travel a little along the coast to Genoa, and you’ll be tucking into a slice of farinata. Even further along to Tuscany and you’ll find a cecina (literally, ‘made of chickpeas’). A sea-fearing dish, this chickpea speciality crossed the Mediterranean to Algeria, where it is known as karantita; the inspiration for my chermoula-spiced recipe.
Karantita is essentially an unleavened pancake or flatbread made with chickpea flour, olive oil and water. Simple, delicious. By cooking it in the oven, instead of in a frying pan, this dish becomes even more simple to make and is lighter on the oil; which I have included in the form of the chermoula, mixed in to the batter.
The addition of chermoula gives this recipe its distinct North African flavour; making it the perfect choice for spicing up your weekend routine. This combination of spices is most often used as a marinade for fish; a hassle-free harissa, if you like. Heavy on garlic and coriander, it packs a punch of wonderfully fresh flavours, and is a super-easy recipe that you’ll want to slather on absolutely everything. It has:
- lemon juice
- smoked paprika
- olive oil
Add to this the heady, salty fragrance of za’atar and you have something truly delicious.
Can you taste it yet?
There are many ways to cook and enjoy this recipe, making it a great alternative to the standard pancake or frittata, particularly if you:
- don’t eat wheat, eggs or milk;
- want to make something delicious, in no time at all and with no fuss;
- fancy something a little different during Passover; or
- just want a pancake but don’t want the associated panic of the flip.
I love to eat karantita with a fresh pomegranate salad (you can never have too many pomegranate recipes, right?), which just bursts with delight and complements the bright heat of the chermoula with flavours of lemon, carrot and coriander.
This recipe is also delicious served with another Mediterranean favourite: rainbow chard. I think you can probably enjoy chard with just about anything (including itself), because it’s just so pretty. Not to mention the goodness you get from the earthy, yet delicate-tasting leaves and colourful stems. Chard is full of Vitamins A, C and K, and phytonutrient antioxidants, which are great for our eyes and immunity.
I love to serve it wilted, just as it is, to get the full leafy flavour; but you could sauté it with a little olive oil and garlic if you fancy something a little more dressed.
Here are some other ways to enjoy a karantita:
- add more water to make large, thin crepes;
- swap the chermoula for studs of rosemary, rock salt and pepper to create a foccaccia-esque flatbread;
- stuff with sundried tomatoes, basil and cashew cheese; or
- take slices on a picnic to enjoy with olives, homemade Baba Ghanoush, preserved lemons and sliced tomato.
So delicious! And just perfect for a garden breakfast this weekend.
- For the chermoula:
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 red chilli (or 1 tsp cayenne pepper)
- Juice of 1 lemon (organic, if possible)
- 5 stems & leaves fresh coriander
- 5 stems & leaves fresh parsley
- 1.5 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp (heaped) ground cumin
- Pinch of good salt (such as rock or Himalayan pink)
- For the karantita:
- 1 echalion shallot (or 1 red onion)
- 100g chickpea (gram) flour
- 150ml water
- 2 tsp za'atar (oregano will also work)
- For the pomegranate salad:
- 2 carrots
- 1 pomegranate
- 5 stems & leaves fresh coriander, finely chopped
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- Black pepper
- Rainbow chard
- Black sesame seeds
- Heat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4.
- Begin by making the chermoula. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until combined. It doesn't need to be a smooth paste, some leaves and pieces of garlic are fine.
- To make the karantita, combine the chickpea flour and water in a bowl, whisking with a fork until you have a silky batter with no lumps. Stir in the chermoula and mix well.
- Finely slice the shallot and stir this in too.
- Pour the karantita batter into a non-stick baking pan (or one lined with parchment). I used a 9" square pan for this recipe.
- Sprinkle the za'atar over the top and place on the top oven shelf. Cook for 15 minutes.
- While the karantita is cooking, grate the carrots into a bowl and stir in the pomegranate arils, coriander, lemon juice and pepper.
- If you are serving chard, wilt this gently in a large pan on the hob.
- To serve, cut the karantita into slices and sprinkle with black sesame seeds.