Heavenly hummus bowl
Hummus is one of the oldest foods in the world, some say date back to Egypt in the 13th century. Simply, it’s a blend of cooked chickpeas, tahini (sesame paste), lemon juice, garlic, and salt.
At the famous Carmel Market in Tel Aviv, you will find a row of hummusiahs,dedicated hummus cafes open for breakfast until late afternoon, typically run by Mizrahi Jews and Arab-Israelis. These are packed with locals starting at breakfast and crowded out by tourists.Masabacha(or hot hummus) is a full hummus-based meal eaten for breakfast or lunch. A huge portion of hummus is served individually, topped with shakshouka, chickpeas, cumin, paprika, chopped fresh parsley, and a whole brownish looking egg which is boiled in black tea. Custom dictates using raw onion scales to scoop the hummus and biting into long green peppers that are served on the side. (Source: Chowhound)
Plain hummus from the supermarket is a great basic snack, but blend it at home and add toppings, and you have a main meal or party platter worthy of Instagram.
For my version below, I topped it with crunchy vegetables, toasted pine nuts, pickled shallots, fresh herbs, and ground spices. The details: chopped, seeded cucumber with the skin on, halved cherry tomatoes, chopped bell peppers, sumac, paprika, sweet and acidic thinly sliced pickled shallots, everything bagel seasoning, mild chili powder, fresh parsley and mint. We kept it vegan for this version, but also love to add crumbled feta or even warm, ground lamb with the heat of cinnamon.
Now the vessels to eat it can be fresh or toasted pita, vegetable crudités, or simply a fork.
To toast pita, preheat oven to 400F, cut the fresh pita in eight triangles. In a small bowl add 1/4 cup olive oil and add seasonings like oregano, salt and pepper, chili, za’atar mix, sumac, paprika, and garlic powder. Brush the pita on one side and toast for about 8 minutes until brown and crisp, turning them over half way.
Now for the main event, the hummus. So simple, yet still a labour of love because I highly recommend shelling the chickpeas. That can take an extra 15 minutes, but you’ll get a creamier result. Of course, it’s perfectly fine to just blend straight from the can.
1 can of chickpeas or 250 g cooked chickpeas
1 large lemon, juiced
1/4 cup tahini
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of mild chilli powder
2 TB olive oil
2 ice cubes
Chopped vegetables such as halved cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, sliced radish, pickled onions or shallots, toasted pine nuts, fresh chopped herbs like flat leaf parsley and mint
First, drain and shell the chickpeas. To shell them, take a small handful and press them between your hands. Pick out the casings.
Next blend in a food processor, the tahini and lemon juice until it‘s whipped and smooth. Add the shelled chickpeas and blend until smooth. Add the olive oil and the dried spices. Taste and add more olive oil to your desired consistency.
The final blend step, add two ice cubes and blend. This is a little trick to make it extra smooth. You can add cold water instead, but ice cubes seems to make it smoother.
At this point, you can refrigerate the blended hummus until you’re ready to eat it. I Iike to add the toasted pine nuts, chopped vegetables, halved cherry tomatoes, cheese, or meat toppings right before serving. To plate, I like to use a wide, shallow bowl. First I sprinkle it with paprika and any toasted seeds like everything bagel seasoning. One of my favourite blends is also za’atar. Sumac is a nice lemony dried ground berry and perfect to sprinkle on too. Then I group the chopped vegetables, halved cherry tomatoes, fresh herbs, and toasted pine nuts. Leave about a third of the hummus exposed for presentation.
Let me know if you make this dish, and please share your pics and tag me on Instagram @wherelizis