Put the chickpeas, cumin, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and fromage frais in a food processor. Blend for 1–2 minutes or until very smooth, stopping and scraping down the sides of the container once or twice.
Alternatively, place the ingredients in a bowl, preferably with a flat bottom, and purée with a hand-held blender. For a slightly chunkier result, mash the chickpeas with a potato masher or fork until quite smooth, then stir in the other ingredients.
Season the houmous with pepper to taste, then spoon into a bowl. Cover and keep in the fridge until ready to serve.
To prepare the pitta crisps, heat the tawa to high. Spread out the pitta breads and lightly brush the top side with half of the olive oil. Sprinkle with half of the sesame seeds. Cook for about 1 minute or until both the bread and seeds are golden brown.
Turn the pittas over, brush with the remaining olive oil and sprinkle with the remaining sesame seeds. Return to the hot tawa and toast for another minute or until the bread and seeds are golden brown. Using scissors, quickly cut the warm pittas across into 2cm (¾in) fingers. Leave to cool and become crisp. (The pitta crisps can be kept in an airtight tin for 1–2 days.)
Sprinkle the houmous with a pinch each of paprika and ground cumin, if using, then serve with the pitta crisps and lemon wedges.
Copyright by The Readers Digest Association, Inc. 2004
Some more ideas
Brinjal dip: Grill 2 medium brinjals, turning frequently, until soft and charred. Put in a plastic bag and leave until cool enough to handle. Cut into quarters and peel. Leave the flesh to drain in a colander for 15 minutes, then gently squeeze out remaining liquid. Purée the flesh in a food processor with 1 crushed garlic clove, 1 tsp ground cumin, the juice of 1 lemon, 4 tbsp tahini paste, 1 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint, and pepper to taste. Garnish with cayenne pepper and small fresh mint leaves.
Lebanese flat bread: Slit the pitta breads round the edge and pull the halves apart. Put 2 tbsp poppy seeds, 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds and 2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme in a mortar. Crush lightly with a pestle. Stir in 3 tbsp olive oil. Spread over the inner sides of the bread halves. Grill until golden brown. Leave to cool. Break into dipping-size pieces.