I thought I would start with an all time favourite of mine, the much revered super food that is Hummus. This stuff is delicious, healthy, nutritious, versatile and really easy to make. This recipe also includes a great tip I got from the Lebanese mother of a friend. Using this method will get you a nice fluffy Hummus to enjoy.
10 minutes (+ 6~8 hours soaking time for Chick Peas). If pressed for time, you can use pre-cooked tinned Chick Peas (Garbanzos).
- 200g Dried Chick Peas (or approx. 800g pre-cooked)
- 2 teaspoons Bicarbonate of Soda (only 1/2 teaspoon if using pre-cooked)
- 1 375g jar Tahini (Sesame) Paste (to make you own see below)
- 3~4 Cloves of Garlic
- 1 teaspoon Cummin powder (optional)
- 1~3 Lemons
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Paprika to garnish
1. To cook the Chick Peas
Soak Chick Peas overnight in a large pan of water with the Bicarbonate of Soda. Drain off the excess water but don’t wash the peas. Remove any duds and refill the pan with fresh water. Bring to the boil and simmer on a slow boil with the lid off for 1 hour. Scoop any froth off the top with a ladle. The Chick Peas should be always covered with water so if you need to top up the water, add cold water and bring back to the boil. When cooked, rinse thoroughly and remove any loose skins.
If using pre-cooked peas add the half teaspoon of Bicarbonate of Soda into the blending process.
2. Blending the Hummus
The secret to a good Hummus is in the blending and tasting. The finished product should be light in colour and very smooth with an almost fluffy texture.
Using a food processor, blend the Chick Peas and the Garlic into a smooth paste. Add a little water before you start, and stop and start the blender a few times to check that it is being blended consistently. Pour the mix into a large mixing bowl. Add the Tahini and mix in by hand. Add the juice of 1~2 lemons and continue to mix well. Pour in about a ¼ cup of Olive Oil and continue to mix. Add salt, pepper and cummin to taste. It is a good idea to taste constantly as you go until you get the right balance of lemon, salt and olive oil. I also like to add a dash of Tabasco® to give it a little extra bite.
If using a jar of Tahini, to make easy to pour and mix, sit the jar in a bowl of hot water for 10 minutes before using.
To make your own Tahini is easy. For the above recipe, you will need approx 400g of Sesame seeds. Using the fine grinding attachment on your blender (eg. the coffee grinder) and blend the Sesame seeds into a fine paste. You will probably need to add a small amount of liquid as you go to achieve a smooth paste. Add to the mix as noted above.
- Scoop into a shallow serving plate. Gouge trails in the surface and fill with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and sprinkle with Paprika and garnish with a sprig of Parsley. Serve with Lebanese or Pita bread, crackers, you name it.
- Use as a spread instead of butter or as a salad dressing.
- Slice an Avocado in half, remove seed and fill with Hummus. Pop a few sliced olives on top and drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice.
- Or just serve as a dip with sticks of celery, carrot, green beans, etc, etc. Use your imagination.
Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for 3~5 days. Freeze any excess in smaller containers so that you always have a serving on hand. Let thaw slowly to retain the texture.
That’s it !! A really simple dish that you should always have on hand.