Saturday, October 04, 2008

Humble hummus

Traditionally hummus is served for a breakfast or lunch, and whilst I love a lunch of Turkish bread adorned with this creamy chickpea puree, it has become a favourite dip to take to parties, dressed to impress.

There are many differing versions of hummus; made with fresh chick peas, picked at a certain time of day (for the diehard hummusologists), dried chickpeas soaked overnight and then cooked, or for those in a rush, the canned variety which are already cooked.

I've never seen fresh chickpeas here, so that's not an option. And clearly my life is not so organised that I would remember to pick chickpeas at a certain time of day, if I was lucky enough to have a chickpea crop at my readiness. My preference is a good quality dried chickpea, soaked overnight. The next day drain the chickpeas and rub off any of the loosened shells before cooking. This soaking, rinsing and draining process is the most lengthy part of the preparation, but all you need to do is be prepared a day in advance. After that, very little effort is required to finalise this creamy, luxuriant, high protein pulse.

I use a pressure cooker to cook the chickpeas, which expedites the cooking process immensely, and retains all of the goodness. The most popular and best known version of hummus, is made with tahini paste, a paste of toasted and ground sesame seeds, and I have chosen this version to submit to Valentina from Trem Bom-English Version, who is hosting Kalyn's Weekend Herb Blogging. Valentina is a regular contributor to Weekend Herb Blogging, so be sure to visit her blog for the roundup. And I believe that Kalyn herself is about to embark in the world of pressure cooking, so this recipe might be the perfect introduction to her new appliance, plus I think it's South Beach friendly as well.

Hummus bi tahini

150g dried chickpeas soaked overnight or 400g can chickpeas
140ml tahini
Sea salt
Pinch ground cumin
Juice of 3 lemons
3 large cloves garlic
Pinch cayenne pepper


- If using dried chickpeas, rinse and add plenty of fresh water. Simmer for 1 hour or until quite soft. In a pressure cooker this can be reduced to about 20 minutes once pressure has been reached. Reduce pressure using the quick method.

- Drain and reserve a little of the cooking water. Canned chickpeas should be drained and cooked in fresh water for 20 minutes or so.

- Puree everything together, adding a touch of cooking water until it is creamy and smooth. Adjust the seasoning.

- Spoon onto a plate, smooth the surface and then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of paprika, parsley and sundried olives.

Serve with homemade Turkish bread. Middle Eastern food, so simple, so tasty.


Valentina said...

Pam, this picture of the hummus is mouth watering. I love hummus. just yesterday I had some for lunch with a bit of pesto on top.I got curious about the recipe. I tried bi tahini for the first time last year and it is so yummy. I could not keep my eyes away for the turkish bread recipe. I will look for the recipe in your blog after posting this comment.

Pam said...

Thanks Valentina. I must also try it with pesto. That sounds like a fantastic combination. I'll be posting the Turkish Bread recipe today, which was a wonderful addition to the hummus.

Glutton Cat (Obur Kedi) said...

Pam, the picture of the hummus just made me want to prepare some. It looks so yummy:)

Kalyn said...

Your hummus looks absolutely mouth-watering! I could eat hummus every single day I think and never get tired of it. I'm slowly becoming a convert to the idea of the soak and cooked beans over the canned ones, the flavor is so much better.

And guess what! My pressure cooker just came in the mail today! Cannot wait to use it, but it will have to be next week when I get back from my trip.

Pam said...

Thanks for the recipe Glutten Cat. It's a great bread, and will be one of my favourites from now on.

Pam said...

Well Kalyn, now that you have your pressure cooker you can do the soak overnight. You'll never open a can of chickpeas again, when you compare the flavour and texture. Good luck with your new toy!