Let’s talk about that paste – that Hummus

Let’s talk about that paste – that Hummus

So let’s talk about ‘that paste’, that Hummus.

Everyone loves it. Don’t they?

Well, slight exaggeration, maybe not everyone (my daughter, as example number one!), but most people I would say.

Many regions around the world try and claim hummus as their own but the fact of the matter is hummus is the Arabic word for chickpeas, and although it is now globally synonymous with the dip or spread, the earliest recipe for hummus takes it right back to Ancient Egypt.

For the Lebanese, hummus has been a regular and genuine part of their kitchen for generations. There isn’t a household that doesn’t embrace it. In fact I’d be suspicious of any Lebanese restaurant that didn’t serve it!

You can buy hummus pretty much everywhere now, from corner shops to large chain supermarkets. But let’s be real. That store bought stuff (and I’ve tasted a few) are nothing but sly impostors, disguised and presented as the authentic thing.

Nowadays when I see it in the dips section of my local supermarket I can’t help but remember the GoRemy ‘All about that paste’ parody.

“You said you get your hummus down at the corner shop. You know that dish ain’t real habibi. Make it stop!”

It’s really funny. I posted a snippet from it on my Instagram recently. If you haven’t seen it, check it out here ‘All about that paste’.

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On a serious note, I’m sure we’ve all bought hummus from the supermarket because it is just so convenient. There are a couple of particular brands that I don’t mind the taste of when I’m really desperate (ask me if you’d like to know which one!) but I really do suggest you give making it yourself a go. It’s really easy and I guarantee you will taste the difference!

If you’ve been following my Instagram account for a couple of months at least you would be aware of the #spreadhummusnothate campaign I’ve been speaking for (read more about it here). This has resulted in the making of MANY batches of hummus! So many I got ‘hummused’ out & couldn’t look at a chickpea for at least a week haha!

On the bright side though I did a lot of experimenting in the making process. Different ways of getting the chickpea soft and ready and of course getting the balance of flavours right. You will see I have left my previous hummus recipe up, which I still think is a good one if you’re using canned chickpeas (recipe at the bottom of post here) but I’ve now totally moved away from the cans and only using dry. Now on any given day you’ll see a bowl of chickpeas soaking in my kitchen.

There are so many hummus recipes out there, I know. And people have differing taste palates when it comes to how garlicky & tangy they like it. This recipe here is perfect for me and I believe this is the one you’re after if you’re looking for a smooth & creamy hummus that’ll have everyone who tastes it crying out for more. Ok a bit biased, it’s good trust me 😉 but feel free to adjust lemon, garlic or even tahini to suit your taste. And one last thing before I move onto the recipe, I must give a shout out to the lovely Mira from @mirauncut for suggesting the use of a pressure cooker…it’s a tremendous time saver!

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Hummus Recipe

What you’ll need

1 cup dried chickpeas

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 cloves garlic

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon tahini paste

1/3 – 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice

olive oil for serving

Method

  1. Beginning the night before, soak the dry chickpeas in a bowl of (approximately) 3 cups water with the teaspoon of bicarb. The chickpeas will need to soak overnight and will double in size.
  2. The following day, rinse chickpeas and place in a pressure cooker (see note) with plenty of fresh water. Lock the lid and turn to the LOW pressure setting. Once it comes to pressure (mine begins to whistle when at full pressure), turn heat to low and cook for a further 20 minutes. Take pressure cooker off heat and allow the pressure to release and cool naturally. This may take a further 30 minutes or more depending on the type of pressure cooker you have.
  3. Once pressure is released, drain away as much liquid as you can leaving only chickpeas behind. You will find that the chickpeas look mushy, but do not fret…that’s exactly how you want them! I find using the pressure cooker softens and almost melts away the chickpea skin that you don’t need to remove them.
  4. Place the garlic, salt and cumin into a mortar and pestle and crush to create a paste. Set aside with the lemon juice.
  5. Place the chickpeas in a food processor and blend until a smooth puree is formed.
  6. Add tahini, garlic, salt and cumin paste and blend some more. While processor is on, add 1/3 cup of lemon juice in a steady stream. Stop to scrape down sides and taste for more lemon juice (TIP: for a super smooth hummus, strain lemon juice and garlic paste before adding to chickpeas!).
  7. Serve with lots of extra virgin olive oil, a sprinkle of paprika, zataar or sumac. Or load it with a spiced meat, chopped parsley, char-grilled asparagus or some crunchy sweet potato fries.

Beetroot Hummus

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Recipe is as above with following additions:

250g roasted beetroot

1 clove glarlic (plus the 2 cloves from above recipe)

1 tablespoon Persian feta (optional, for serving)

  1. In Step 2 (recipe above), as the chickpeas are cooking, preheat oven to 200ºC and prepare beetroot for roasting.
  2. Cut off greens and scrub beetroot thoroughly. Using a large enough piece of baking paper, wrap beetroot loosely and enclose by folding both ends into the middle and folding up ends to create a bag. Place paper bag with beetroot on an oven tray and into the oven. Roast for approximately one hour, or until beets are soft and cooked through.
  3. Remove from oven, allow to cool before peeling skin.
  4. In Step 5 (recipe above), after blending the chickpeas in processor, add the beetroot and continue to whiz until you have a vibrant puree.
  5. Continue as per above Step 6. There is no need to strain lemon juice and garlic here because this hummus won’t turn out as smooth as a basic hummus.
  6. Serve with Persian feta and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

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NOTE: If you do not own a pressure cooker, use a large saucepan instead. Add chickpeas to pot with plenty of cold water and a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda (I don’t find I need the extra bicarbonate of soda when using pressure cooker). Bring to the boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for at least an hour until chickpeas are very soft.

Enjoy!

lina

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