Thursday, 16 June 2016

Mmmmm Hummus!

Berlin is no stranger to culinary specialities from around the world, many of which we have sampled with gusto. But whilst Mongolian, Ethiopian, Mexican, or Croatian restaurants are not that hard to find, dishes from the eastern end of the Mediterranean is as popular in Berlin as Italian and Thai. Which is good news for us as there is nothing we love more than falafel and halloumi 'im brötchen', or a spicy chickpea tagine and couscous, with a side order of  tabbouleh salad. And all of which can be enhanced with a dollop of tangy, creamy, garlicy hummus.

Hummus is a wonder food that is as nutritious as it is 'lecker', and it is so simple and cheap to make for yourself that you wonder how back in the UK the likes of Sainsburys supermarket have the audacity to sell small plastic tubs of the stuff at inflated prices.

There are as many different recipes for hummus as there are countries that feature it in their cuisine. Indeed, it is almost a cultural definer that can blindfold test a meal prepared by an Egyptian, a Turkish, an Israeli, or a Syrian cook. Here's my preferred hummus recipe for you to try, with the caveat that it is by no means definitive. Indeed, I strongly encourage you to experiment. Add roasted cumin seeds if you want, or double the amount of garlic, or whizz in some roasted red peppers, or go mad and use broad-beans instead of chick-peas.

For my hummus I would gather together the following:

If you can't read the German labels or make a good guess, what I have here are:

1 x can of chickpeas. (or more usually we would have soaked a 500g bag of dried chickpeas overnight, given them a half hour simmer the next day, drained them and bagged them up for the freezer. But if you've used up all your chickpeas making falafel, again!, a can will do).

4 tablespoons of delicious tahini, which is a sesame paste you can buy in any Turkish Supermarkt or Asia Store.

4 cloves of garlic, peeled, crushed, and then chopped.

The juice of one lemon. I sometimes also scrape off the zest if it's a nice, unwaxed, organic lemon.

4 tablespoons of olive oil. Keep the bottle handy for drizzling later.

A good pinch of salt

1 x food processor or blender

Drain the liquid off of the chickpeas into a jug and keep handy. It's also traditional to retain a few chickpeas to add as garnish

Put the chickpeas into the food processor.

Add the garlic and blitz until you've got something like breadcrumbs.

Next, add the tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt to the chickpeas and garlic in the food processor.

Give it all another good whizz in the food processor until it is a smooth paste.
If the mixture is too thick, add the retained liquid from the can, or a glug more olive oil.

Taste. Yummy, yes? If not perfectly to your taste, feel free to add a spoonful more tahini, or lemon juice, or salt.

Turn out into a serving dish, drizzle a bit of olive oil onto it, top with the retained chickpeas, and garnish if you want with a few coriander leaves or a sprinkling of sumak.

Eat as a dip with flat-bread, or in a falafel sandwich, or as a salad dressing, or spread on toast, or scoop up with a stick of celery, or just dip your fingers in and lick them clean!

Afiyet olsun! בְּתֵאָבוֹן! Guten appetit! وجبة شهية. !

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