Wednesday, 3 December 2008
I've gathered quite a few recipes for Middle Eastern dips on Saffron and Lemons in the last year, but it dawned on me that hummus, the mother of all meze dips is not here! How fortunate, then, that I had an opportunity to whip up some for the Mediterranean burgers I was making for the Young Man's birthday party.
This version is from Claudia Roden's New Book of Middle Eastern Food, where we learn that hummus does not have to contain tahini, as most of the tubs you'll find in Australian and other supermarkets tend to. The word hummus itself means chickpeas, but since this is a near ubiquitous use for the little beans around the Arab-speaking world, it also refers to this sharp, smooth dip. If you make a version with sesame paste in it, it is known as hummus bi tahina (humus with sesame paste). So there you go!
This makes enough for a big party. You could halve the recipe for a smaller gathering, but it keeps for around a week in the fridge (and probably in the freezer, though I haven't tried it). We had this with some of Auntie H's world-famous light-as-air bread, and with macadamia, basil and sun-dried tomato pesto on chicken burgers. Yum! Oh, and mixed with some strained yogurt, this made a lovely dressing for slowly pan-fried carrot medallions, and probably steamed broccoli, too.
Claudia Roden's Hummus
250 g chickpeas
salt and pepper
2 tsp cumin
2 large cloves garlic (crushed), or to taste
50-90 ml fresh lemon juice
50 ml olive oil
good pinch of cayenne (optional)
parsley, olive oil and paprika to garnish
1 Soak the chickpeas for a few hours or overnight in cold water. Drain and simmer in fresh cold water until really soft, which usually takes more than an hour, adding salt towards the end of the cooking time. Alternatively, pressure cook for around 6 min under low pressure. Save the cooking water.
Cool a little and put in a food processor with enough of the cooking water to achieve a soft cream. You must add the flavourings gradually and taste often, it should be distinctly sharp. You can leave a few chick peas whole to use as garnish
Serve with sprigs of parsley, a sprinkling of paprika and a dribble of olive oil.