Making hummus is easy, but there are a few things to consider. But first the recipe:
Tahini (sesame paste)
Salt, pepper, cumin
Add into a food processor 1/2 to 3/4 cup tahini, 2-4 cloves of garlic, 1/2 cup water (see note below), juice of half a lemon, salt and pepper. Start the food processor and watch while it’s mixing. The mixture should turn a whitish very-thick liquid. Add more water if needed. When the tahini is ready (you can taste and add more garlic, lemon juice or salt if needed) add 2-3 cups of cooked chickpeas and run the food processor until the chickpeas are pureed and mixed well with the tahini. Voila – the hummus is ready.
Things to consider:
Chickpeas – Yes you can use canned chickpeas, but it tastes so much better with home cooked chickpeas: Soak the chickpeas with lots of water over night (some cooks like to add a teaspoon of baking soda to the water). Replace the water at least once. Cook in fresh water, with salt, (the water has to be a few inches over the beans) until the chickpeas are soft – it will take a few hours in a regular pot, much faster in a pressure cooker. I often cook 1-2 pounds of chickpeas and freeze what i don’t use right away.
Water – you can use tap water but the hummus tastes much better with the water you cooked the bean in.
These are Canadian – one marketed to the Arab market, the other to the Jewish market. I think they are identical…
Tahini – Buy imported tahini. Any tahini from Lebanon or Israel is good. There are also some Canadian brands that are good.
Lemon juice – fresh is always better. Bottled is OK, or you can use a teaspoon of citric acid.
Saturday is a day to go to the beach, or hiking… but more often than not it is the day I do laundry, cleaning and food shopping. I bought an eggplant last Saturday and a week later it is still sitting on the counter among the bananas and a lonely avocado. It’s time to make the old country favorite:
Start by lining the stove with aluminum foil – it’s going to be messy!
Rinse and dry the eggplant and place over a medium flame. Let it roast for a few minutes. When the skin blacken, turn the eggplant so an uncooked side is over the flame. Repeat until the whole eggplant is black and soft.
Transfer the eggplant onto a cutting board and let it cool. Now is a good time to clean the stove. Be careful, liquid drained from the eggplant will make removing the foil somewhat tricky.
When the eggplant is cool to the touch, remove all the skin off and transfer the flash into a dish.
Add: Juice of one lemon, mashed garlic clove, salt and pepper. Add as much or as little of these ingredients as you like. You can also add a few drops of your favorite vinegar.
Like every foodie who grew up in the middle east – l love tahini. It has one ingredient – sesame. Ground to a paste it is used for making a dip called Tahini, it is added to hummus for a distinguish flavor and it can be used for cold dressings, hot sauces and mixed with honey or sugar – dessert. It is also considered healthy because of the high content of calcium and iron.
My favorite brand is Al Arz, made in Nazareth, by a small family owned compnay. It’s not easy to find Al Arz tahini in North America and I often buy other brands. Recently I purchased a jar of sesame paste off the Kosher shelf in the local supermarket. I also got a jar at Phoenician, a middle eastern grocery store knows as ‘The Lebanese’.
Here are the two jars:
Although they contain different amount the containers are identical except for the color of the lid and the label.
And here is the back side of both jars:
It may be hard to see the labels, so let me help you – one says ‘Product of Canada’ the other ‘Produced in Canada’. I couldn’t find much information about the Canadian source of sesame products, but I don’t think there are very many sesame paste manufactures in Canada. Is it possible that the Tahini with Arabic name, marketed to the American Arab population and the Kosher Tahini marketed to the Jewish population are one and the same? Politics may separate these two people, but united we eat. Sharing meals may lead to world peace. Amen.
Wednesday is not a day that usually inspires creativity in the kitchen. But a lonely avocado was looking at me from the vegetable drawer and it had to be eaten today or gone to the compost bin. I decided to experiment.