This one’s a real favourite for those days when I’m working at home. Homemade hummus only takes about five minutes to make, tastes great, and is cheaper and better than anything you’ll get from the cold aisle in the supermarket.
When my brother and I were kids, hummus and pitta bread was a favourite breakfast, up until the day I got called garlic-breath at ten-o-clock by a girl in gym at school. I swore off it for a few sensitive teenaged years. Since then, I’ve learned not to care about upsetting those around me by eating garlic. (Life’s too short; I once had a boyfriend whose mother worked as a teacher and wouldn’t eat garlic until she had retired, lest the children smelled it on her breath. For God’s sake; it’s Chicken Kiev, not twenty whiskies and soda. Nowadays I just ensure that the people I feel like doing gym with are also eating plenty of what I eat. Poor, reeking Mr Weasel.)
Hummus is one of those dishes that has been around for so long that its origins are now uncertain. It’s from somewhere in the Middle East, and variations on it pop up all over the place; there’s even an Indian version. Hummus bi tahina is made from pureed chickpeas (called garbanzo beans in America) and tahini, a paste made from crushed sesame seeds. The cumin in this is typical of Egyptian hummus – the other spices are in there because I like them.
Work by volume. For every volume of cooked, cold chick peas you use, you’ll need half that volume of tahini, so if you’re using canned chick peas (as, I’m afraid, I do, because to soak, cook and cool them would ruin the whole five-minute lunch-ness of this), you’ll need half a can’s-worth of tahini. If you’re going for the long haul and are organised enough to remember to soak them the night before, you’ll find home-cooked chick peas even nicer, and you can spend a few minutes dry-frying the spices too.
For a one-can lunch for two, you’ll need:
1 can chickpeas
1/2 jar tahini
Zest and juice of one lemon
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon salt
Olive oil to drizzle
Paprika to sprinkle
Put the chick peas, tahini, lemon zest (not the juice), whole spices, garlic and salt in a blender, and whizz until everything is smooth. (You’ll still have some spice pieces in there; this is a good thing. When you bite one unexpectedly, you’ll thank me.) Add the lemon juice and stir it in by hand, tasting frequently until you’ve got the desired tartness. (Add a bit more if you like, or put lemon wedges on the plates when you serve.) Drizzle with olive oil, and powder the whole thing with paprika.