Dippy about Hummus

hummus2.jpg

Hummus (or houmous, depending on which spelling you prefer) has long been one of my favourite dips- either for late night snacking with pitta bread, pre-dinner nibbles with crudités, or dolloped onto a salad at lunch. I can’t quite believe it’s taken me so long to start making my own and experimenting with some variations. It’s perhaps because in the UK, tahini – the sesame seed paste that is a key ingredient- isn’t as cheap or as widely available as it is here in the middle east. We have entire supermarket racks dedicated to the stuff!

Likewise, chickpeas (or garbanzo beans) are available here in all sorts of guises- dried, tinned, jarred and occasionally even fresh. I find the tinned ones straightforward to use, and now I make sure I have a couple of tins in the cupboard and a tub of tahini in the fridge. The rest of the ingredients are always either in my cupboard or on my weekly shopping list, meaning I can literally whip this up in ten minutes* when required.

(*It takes about two minutes to make the stuff, but I’m being realistic here and allowing time to juice the lemon, crush the garlic, and throw the mixer bowl in the dishwasher afterwards.)

Here’s the basic recipe, followed by my current favourite variations:

Plain Hummus

400g tin chickpeas, drained

2 crushed garlic cloves

½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp paprika

pinch salt

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp tahini

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2-3 tbsp water

It’s as easy as throwing all of the ingredients in the mixer and turning it on!

hummus mix

Having said that, I like to blend the chickpeas first, then add everything except for the water. Usually at this point the mixture is lumpy and a bit dry. I’ll have a taste, and add a little more of any of the ingredients as required. Once the flavour’s to my taste, if it’s still dry, I’ll add the water little by little until I’m happy with the consistency.

Basil and Sundried Tomato Hummus

I discovered this in an Armenian restaurant, which is surprising as it’s like an Italianised version of hummus. The recipe is as per plain hummus, but I leave out the cumin and paprika as they can be a little overpowering. Instead, I add 2 tbsp of sundried tomato paste and a small handful of chopped fresh basil.

Red Pepper Hummus

400g tin chickpeas, drained

2 crushed garlic cloves

2 small red peppers, sliced, roasted in olive oil and cooled

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp tahini

1 tsp chilli flakes (optional)

1 tsp paprika

½ tsp ground cumin

salt

Roast the peppers for around 40 minutes at 180°(fan) until they are soft and sweet. Allow them to cool before adding to the hummus mix in the blender. You’ll see I’ve added double the amount of paprika as it complements the sweetness of the peppers and adds a lovely red colour. You’ll need slightly less olive oil than for plain hummus, and you probably won’t require any water due to the moisture from the peppers. Add chilli flakes, or substitute olive oil for chilli oil if you want to give it bit of a fiery kick.

These dips are perfect for dipping crisps, bread sticks, flatbread or raw veg. I’ll keep them in the fridge and use within 3-4 days. (Let’s be honest- hummus has never stayed that long in my fridge before being eaten up!)

 

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