Tinned chick peas are a great quick option, but thought you’d like to know how I make hummous – as copied from watching my Iraqi-born aunts do it in their kitchens. It will not resemble shop-bought stuff which reminds me of peanut butter, when it should be silky. You will need a food processor (goodness knows how long it must have taken to make before they were invented). I admit I have never ever used tinned chick peas (I can see my aunts’ faces at the mere thought)! So you’ll need to think ahead and soak dried ones overnight in a bowl with plenty of room – they will swell to double their original size.
Fills 2 medium jars
- 350-400g dried chickpeas
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic
- juice of 1 lemon
- 450g light tahina (dark will give you peanut butter see above)
- flat leaf parsley
Cook the soaked chick peas in a large pan with plenty of water. Bring to boil, skim off foam from surface occasionally, allow to boil gently for around one hour (you can do the washing-up, make a few phone calls) until, when you scoop a few peas out and pick them, steaming, off the spoon, the skins come off in your hand. Try not to get stuck in to eating them at this stage – they will taste wonderful but you need them for your hummous.
Chuck the chick peas into the food processor (in batches if need be) with garlic, lemon juice, the tahina and – this is where people often go wrong – some of the warm cooking water. Just experiment with amounts. If it is too thick, add a little more water. Too runny, more cooked chick peas and tahina.
Add salt, taste, taste, taste, then more garlic, or lemon or salt, until it is how you like it.
When it is silky smooth and unctuous, put into a shallow dish and garnish with chopped flat leaf parsley and sprinkle with paprika.
Serve with warm pitta bread (I put it directly on a low gas flame for a few seconds on each side. Try not to answer the phone or become otherwise distracted while you are doing this). Hummous doesn’t keep long in the fridge, two or three days. By the way, tahina (sesame seed paste, terribly good for you) makes a wonderful piquant salad dressing when thinned with a little warm water and lemon juice.
Top tip: For Middle Eastern recipes I reckon you can’t do much better than Claudia Roden’s books. She may even have a website.
Easy Falafel with Homemade Hummous
Signature Dish: Faux Fish Cake with Pea Puree
Lazy Pea Soup
Chicken in a sweet red pepper sauce