Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Hummus Like My Tailor Makes It
Being super-short, and no size 6, I have to bring a lot of my clothes to a tailor. I found a great one in a nearby town. She and I have bonded to some extent. During my last visit, we talked about weight and food. She is from Syria and was thrilled to share with me a sample of her hummus. I typically am not a fan of hummus, to be honest. But her hummus was unlike any hummus I’ve ever had! It was so much thinner and creamier in consistency and the taste was fabulous. I asked her for the recipe, but she seemed reluctant. I get the impression that she’s given it to people before who didn’t do it justice.
We talked about the ingredients. I told her I tasted the tahini and lemon. She pointed out that the black flakes were cumin. She doesn’t grind it to a powder – she likes it being noticeable. It looked to be the size of somewhat coarsely ground pepper. As much as I'd like to say that mine is just like that, I only had ground cumin. But I think that the taste was comparable.
I am going to try to recreate her recipe, by putting together a hodgepodge of recipes I saw on the Internet with pictures that looked like hers but relying mostly on one I saw in Food and Wine. I think I came close!
By the way, I had a can of tahini in my pantry for a long time. When I finally opened it for this recipe, it was separated (as expected), and the solids were rock hard. That was a problem and I almost threw the whole thing away. But Joe convinced me to try to save it by microwaving. He's so smart! So, to soften it up, I microwaved all of it for short amounts of time and broke it up in between them. It took quite a few cycles, but eventually I was working with a mixture that could be stirred!
Adapted from Food and Wine
1/2 pound dried chickpeas
5 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons tahini
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cumin, divided
parsley for garnish
lavash bread for serving
Add the chickpeas to a large bowl and cover with several inches of water. Refrigerate overnight. Drain and rinse them before cooking.
Add the chickpeas and garlic cloves to a medium saucepan and cover with several inches of water. Bring the chickpeas to a boil and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for approximately 40 minutes or until they are tender. When they are done, reserve 1/2 cup of the liquid and then drain the rest.
Note: If you like your hummus thick, then you may never use the reserved liquid. Hold back where I say to add it. Then, if at the end, your hummus is too thick, stir it in later.
Peel the garlic cloves.
Add the chickpeas, garlic, reserved cooking liquid, 1/4 cup of the olive oil, and salt to a food processor and puree roughly. Then add half of the tahini, the lemon juice, and cumin and puree it all till smooth.
Remove the mixture from the food processor and put in a bowl. In the bowl, add the rest of the tahini and stir.
To serve, add the hummus to a bowl. It's good to not have a smooth surface. I tried to leave swirls of lower areas. That helps to create a great presentation by filling those areas in with the rest of the olive oil.
Garnish with parsley, more cumin, and if you like paprika, use that too! Additionally, some people add whole chickpeas to the top surface.