Monday, May 16, 2011

Chocolate & Zucchini's Yummy Hummus

I'm crazy about hummus- a Levantine Arab dish containing chickpeas, sesame paste (tahini), olive oil, lemon, garlic and salt.  Not only is this dip really tasty, it's good for you too -- it's got iron, Vitamin B6, folate and dietary fiber.  
Hummus, a staple Middle-Eastern mezze, has been eaten in the region for millennia. I'm always looking to new hummus recipes, and here's one from Chocolate & Zucchini
It's simple to make and you can adjust the seasonings and flavor to your liking after you make the base. I used to love things that were heavy on garlic. But now I prefer a hint of garlic without being hit over the head with it. If you like more, go nuts! 
I drizzled some olive oil on top of the hummus and sprinkled it with za'atar spice. I picked up the za'atar at a market on my most recent trip to the Middle East. If you can't find za'atar at your local spice store try some olive oil, paprika, sumac or chopped parsley. A dash of hot sauce, boiled fava beans (which is then called hummus ful) or whole chickpeas can also be used for garnish. Got extra lemon? Squeeze some juice over the top.  Want to make it a more substantial meal? Add a hard boiled egg, which is a popular way to eat hummus in Morocco. 
I think you probably get the picture.  The recipe is adaptable and versatile.  Enjoy!
Dried Chickpeas
Chickpeas soaking in water. Soak for at least 6-8 hours before boiling. I leave them in the fridge overnight.
Ready for processing...
Za'atar spice
Hummus (Adapted from Chocolate & Zucchini)
Yields 2 3/4 cups
Ingredients
1 cup (190 grams) dried uncooked chickpeas
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 really heaping tablespoon tahini (white sesame butter)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3/4-1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin (use a bit more if it's old)
za'atar spice for garnish (optional)
the leaves from a small bunch of flat-leaf parsley (optional)
dash hot sauce or paprika for garnish (optional) 
Directions
Six to twelve hours before, put the chickpeas in a medium bowl with plenty of water to cover, and leave to soak.  (I soak them overnight.)
Drain and rinse the chickpeas.  The original recipe suggests using a pressure cooker to cook the chickpeas but I don't have one.  I put the chickpeas in a medium sized pot, filled it with water (so the water wouldn't run low) and simmered, on a low heat, for 1 1/2 hours-- about the time it takes for the chickpeas to get soft.

Drain the cooked chickpeas, reserving the cooking water

Put the drained chickpeas in a blender or food processor with the rest of the ingredients, from garlic to cumin, and 1/3 cup of the cooking water.  Process for several minutes until very smooth; this works best when the chickpeas are still relatively warm.  Add more cooking water as needed to get a creamy consistency.  The hummus will thicken when chilled, so err on the side of thin.
Taste and adjust the flavor to suit your taste, adding more lemon juice, or tahini, or salt, or hot sauce, or cumin.
Cover and refrigerate. The flavor will have deepened the next day.
Transfer to a serving bowl, drizzle with a good olive oil, za'atar spice (if you're using it), or other optional garnishes and serve with pita triangles, carrot sticks and/or slices of black radish.  I served it with Lavash bread.
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