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Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Humous, my way

Most people have their way of making humous – here is mine.

Humous is one of my staples. I really can’t live without it. During Passover when I can’t have it (because I am of Ashkenazi origin), I really suffer. If I marry a Sephardic Jew (presumably a male one) I will be able to eat chickpeas over Passover – it is problematic because I have always said that I don’t need to marry in order to be happy, but chickpeas might actually be the exception to the rule. Seriously, who needs equality and a strong individual identity when you can have humous for an extra week every year?

I started making my own when I was in university because it was cheaper, and I still do because it is so much tastier. I like it thick and lemony, with a little garlic and spices, with marinated chickpeas on the top for variation of texture, fun, and to make it look super impressive. The only drawback to making your own over shop-bought is that home-made humous only lasts for a few days – although in my mind, by highlighting all of the preservatives in the shop bought varieties, it makes me want to eat them even less.

The quantities given below are enough for a mezze of 10 people. See my new mezze label for more recipes.

For the humous:

2.5 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed (pick through the drained chickpeas and squeeze off as many of their rubbery skins as you can bare. This is time-consuming, but trust me, it makes for a far better humous. I tend to set a time-limit for this, e.g. as many as I can pick off in 15 minutes.)
3 tbsp. runny tahini sauce (made fresh from tahini paste, see method here – I always have some on the go for making humous, baba ganoush, eating with a spoon, and drizzling over roasted fish, aubergines, butternut squash, or whatever else that takes my fancy)
2-3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon, more or less depending on your tastes
2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed (depending on tastes or social plans -  if the cloves are big I tend to use one and a half)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
salt to taste

For the marinated chickpeas:

Half a can of chickpeas
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. smoked paprika (or more according to your preferences)
1 tsp. sumac
1 tsp. za’atar
salt to taste

Make the marinated chickpeas in advance if possible, or at least before you start making the rest of the humous. Just put everything in a bowl and mix well.

After the skins are removed place the chickpeas in a large bowl with the other ingredients and blend with a hand-blender until smooth. Using a hand-blender as opposed to a food processor will give you greater control over the consistency of the humous – you want it to be smooth, but not blended into oblivion. You may want to add a little water to create a smoother dip – I like mine almost cementy. Season with salt and taste, adjusting the lemon and spice levels according to your preferences.

Serve with the marinated chickpeas on top of the humous (make a little well in the centre of the dish) and drizzle with a little extra olive oil and za’atar.

So that's how I make my humous - how do you make yours? Please leave me a comment if you have any recommendations for interesting combinations or additions 
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