Saturday, 25 October 2014

Hummus: 3 Ways







Do you ever have things in your life that you keep meaning to do but put off, get distracted or circumstances keep preventing you from getting around to them? Well, this post has been that for me. I love hummus. It's creamy, delicious, wholesome, savoury, versatile... I could go on forever. A hummus post on the blog is so overdue so I'm glad to finally publish it. Hummus is extraordinarily popular all over the world but just in case you're not familiar, it's is a puréed chickpea spread/dip that originates from the Middle East. My favourite ways to eat it are as a dip for bread and veggies, a spread for healthy wraps and even just a big ol' dollop of it on the side of a plate of meat, rice and veggies. 

A classic hummus essentially is chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. There are so many things you can substitute or add to a hummus recipe, and people do! Just about any vegetable that can be puréed can be added to hummus. You could make a non traditional hummus using lentils or another kind of bean in place of chickpeas. Some people don't like or are allergic to tahini (a creamy paste of puréed sesame seeds) but it can be replaced with just about any natural nut butter, yogurt or even omitted. Hummus is so user friendly and if you like, you never have to make it the same way twice. 

I'm going to show you how to make a very basic chickpea hummus, plus two of my favourite variations. One has caramelized onions blended into it and the other contains roasted red pepper. 

To serve hummus as a dip, as pictured above, a traditional way of serving it is smeared in a plate or bowl with many crevices and valleys. Drizzle with olive oil, spices, dried herbs, fresh herbs and/or whole chickpeas. On the blog we've also made labneh, which is another great Middle Eastern spread that's served in the same manner.

We have three recipes to go over in this post so let's get right into it! Let's start with the classic hummus. This will be the base for all of the recipes in this post.


Classic Hummus


Ingredients


1 19-oz can of chickpeas
1/4 cup of tahini
Juice of 1 lemon
1 garlic clove, finely minced (or to taste)
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt & Pepper


Empty the can of chickpeas into a strainer and rinse thoroughly with cold water.


 


In a food processor, add the chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, minced garlic and salt and pepper (to taste). 





  Pulse in 4 or 5 bursts at first. Then blend continuously.





This will create a chunky, somewhat dry paste. 






Then continue to blend while you drizzle in the olive oil in a slow, steady pace. This will give the hummus it's smooth, creaminess that it's so well known for. Adjust the olive oil to your liking. Some people like to leave it a little chunky, others like it completely smooth. That's your call. 





Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Oh look at that, now you're done! How can something so simple with so few ingredients be as incredible as this is? The answer has always evaded me. Serve as desired!





Caramelized Onion Hummus


This is the same recipe as above but with half a yellow onion, finely sliced and sautéed with a little oil, salt and pepper. If you like, you could boost the flavour and caramelization with a pinch of sugar (white or brown). Personally, I don't find it necessary. 


Ingredients

1/2 yellow onion, finely sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 19-oz can of chickpeas
1/4 cup of tahini
Juice of 1 lemon
1 garlic clove, finely minced (or to taste)
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt & Pepper

Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat and add the sliced onion. Season with a little salt and pepper (the salt will assist with breaking down the onions).


.


Sautée the onions well passed sweating until they brown. You don't want to burn them, but get them nice and caramelized. This will produce a very sweet and savoury natural flavour. 






In a food processor, add the caramelized onion, chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. I advise you to ease up a little on the seasoning because there is already salt and pepper in the onion. It's best to add more later than ruin it from the start. 


 


As before, pulse in 4 or 5 bursts at first before blending continuously into a chunky paste. Then slowly add the olive oil as it blitzes until you achieve the desired consistency. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.




Serve as desired.





Roasted Red Pepper Hummus


So far we haven't added any spices to our hummus. You could absolutely omit spices from this recipe, but I always add a little paprika and cumin to this variety because it is simply too good. You're also going to need to get your hands on some roasted red peppers. If you can't be bothered, you can always but roasted red peppers in a jar and just use about a cup of it. Otherwise, if you choose to roast the peppers yourself, you have three options. You could set the broiler of your oven on high and place the peppers on a baking sheet on the highest rack in your oven. Let the broiler roast the peppers and turn them frequently. Or you could use a barbecue to grill the peppers. Here I am using the open flame of a gas stove. Whichever method you use, do not chop the pepper or add any oil. Just use whole, red peppers that you've washed and dried. Also, you may notice that this recipe calls for half of the olive oil. That's because there is already plenty of moisture in the peppers and you don't want your hummus to be too thin.


Ingredients

2 red bell peppers
1 19-oz can of chickpeas
1/4 cup of tahini
Juice of 1 lemon
1 garlic clove, finely minced (or to taste)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Salt & Pepper

Wash and dry the red bell peppers. Place each pepper directly on the gas burner. The particular burner I'm using here has enough iron that the pepper can rest on. Some burners don't have quite as much. If the red pepper cannot sit on the burner, impale the pepper with a skewer and use that to roast the pepper kind of like how you would a marshmallow over a campfire. 


 

Ignite the flame at the highest setting. This will produce the quickest cooking time and sufficient blackening. Whether you're using a gas stove, a broiler or a grill the objective is to blacken the skin of the pepper. If you're not using a skewer, use a pair of metal tongs to turn the peppers so that they become evenly blackened. During this process the pepper's skin will blister and char, but that's perfectly normal. When the pepper is mostly or totally blackened remove it from the heat. Be careful not to burn them.




When the peppers are blackened and removed from the heat, immediately transfer them to something where they can be sealed. A plastic or paper bag will work. You could also put them in a bowl and seal it tightly with plastic wrap. Anything that will trap the steam. I'm using a good quality plastic, sealable bag here. It works great, but note that hot, blackened peppers may melt holes into a lower quality plastic bag and steam will escape and render this process totally useless.  Allow the peppers to steam for 15 minutes. During this time, the steam will allow the charred skin to free itself from the flesh of the pepper. After fifteen minutes, they will also be cool enough to handle.




When your fifteen minutes are up, use your fingers to peel the blackened skin away from the peppers. Useful tip: doing this under cold, running water will help.


Naked peppers!

Once the skin is completely removed from roasted peppers, you will be able to cut them open, remove the seeds/membrane and slice them into strips.


 

Now let's make some hummus! 

Add the roasted red pepper, chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper to a food processor.


(I meant to take a photo at this stage and forgot. Please forgive my absent-mindedness) 


Pulse in 4 or 5 bursts at first. Then blend continuously while you add a bit of olive oil, noting that the moisture in the peppers will have already made the hummus quite smooth. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. 


 

Serve as desired.


 
 

Putting this post together was so much fun! I really recommend that you give any of these recipes a try. Be creative and adjust however you like. You may be surprised at how many different kinds of hummus there are. You could add just about any vegetable. Chili peppers bring a phenomenal heat to hummus that works very well. I've seen hummus with spinach, avocado, beets, artichokes, curried coconut, you name it... Have fun with this classic and very healthy side dish. 

Hummus is not only delicious but it is a beneficial source of fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals. Plus it can help you lower your cholesterol, risk of cancers and manage your weight. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me!

As always, stay tuned for more to come from Food By Bram. I hope you enjoy!

B  
 

No comments:

Post a Comment