Hummus in tahina with fresh baked pita

HCH-3-JE-SUIS-CHARLIE HCH 3 / March 2015

Hummus in tahina with fresh baked pita, by Eyal Streett

Hi there, cooking lovers! Here I am with a recipe of one of my favorite dishes ever: hummus. There are so many different kinds of hummus and this recipe will hopefully put you in the right direction for making your superb own version. And what could be better than dipping your freshly baked pita in that fabulous hummus? So, here we go:

Hummus in tahina

This recipe serves 6–8 nice portions

Ingredients

500 g chickpeas

1 tsp. baking soda

1 Tbsp. salt + 1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. sweet paprika

2 tsps. cumin

5 Tbsp. tahina (tahini)

1 garlic clove

Lemon juice from 2 lemons

1 big handful of parsley finely chopped

Sweet paprika, parsley, lemon juice and olive oil for garnish.

Instructions

  1. Soak your chickpeas overnight. The time of the day doesn’t matter, but you want them to soak for at least 8 hours. If possible, change the water once or twice during the soaking. Use a lot of water.
  1. Once your chickpeas are nice and big, rinse them and put them in a pot and add water. You want the water to cover the chickpeas by about 5–10 cm. Add the baking soda and set the fire to high. The baking soda isn’t really necessary but it actually does make the cooking process faster so that your chickpeas will get softer faster.
  2. Once the water is boiling for a couple of minutes set it to medium-high and start removing the foam.
  1. Keep on removing the foam every 3-5 minutes. Once there is no new foam turn down the fire to medium-low. Wait 10 minutes, stir the chickpeas around and then put a lid on the pot. You don’t want to close it completely, though.
  1. At this point you’ll probably need to cook your chickpeas for at least 1 hour which means that it could be a good time to begin preparing the pitas.
  1. Stir once in a while and always check you have enough water in your pot. You don’t want to burn your chickpeas…Try a chickpea, if it feels soft you can go on to the next. If you’re not sure then it’s probably not ready yet.
  1. Once your chickpeas are soft drain them: get rid of the water they were in and dump them into cold water. Separate about 10% of your chickpeas and put them aside. Now it’s time to get rid of the skins. There are different ways to do this but the best way (and longest, unfortunately) is to go one by one: take a handful of chickpeas, squeeze each one gently and a small transparent skin will separate from the chickpea. Skin all chickpeas except for about 10%. Wash the skinned chickpeas and put them back into a pot with cold water. Add a Tbsp. of salt and put the pot back on the stove. Set fire to medium.

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Skinning chickpeas / Photo by Eyal Streett

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Skinned chickpeas back on the fire / Photo by Eyal Streett

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Seasoned chickpeas back on fire getting even softer / Photo by Eyal Streett

  1. Take the 10% that weren’t skinned and put them in a saucepan. Add water covering the chickpeas. Add the paprika, cumin and a tsp. of salt. Let these chickpeas cook on a medium-low flame.
  1. While the chickpeas are reheating prepare the tahina: Put tahina in a bowl and add lemon juice and parsley. Mix well using a fork. After a while the mixture will turn very grainy. Keep on mixing and add very little water. Keep on mixing and stirring with fork and if necessary add a bit more water. Once you have a creamy sauce you know your tahina is ready.

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Tahina as a grainy texture: keep on mixing / Photo by Eyal Streett

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Tahina’s ready / Photo by Eyal Streett

  1. Once peeled chickpeas are hot again take them out of water and into a food processor. Add the garlic clove and 4 spoons of the water they were just cooked in and crush everything together until you get a paste. If you don’t have a food processor simply put chickpeas, water and garlic in a large mixing bowl and use your hand blender to make a nice paste. If it doesn’t seem creamy enough to you add more water (a little bit at a time). You don’t want your hummus to be liquid but you also don’t want it too thick.
  1. Add tahina to paste and blend well together with a fork or a hand blender.

That’s it! Your basic hummus is ready. Now you need to decide which toppings you’d like to add.

Topping #1: chickpeas

OK, this is the easy one. Put a nice portion of hummus in a bowl. Add a spoon or two of the seasoned chickpeas on top. Garnish with a few parsley leaves, some lemon juice, a generous amount of olive oil and a sprinkle of paprika. Serve with fresh pita and skhoug (see recipe in HCH 2, January 2015)

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Hummus with chickpeas (basic hummus) / Photo by Eyal Streett

Topping #2: mushrooms, onion, hard boiled egg

Ingredients

1 small onion, sliced

200 g champignon mushrooms. Peeled/washed

1/3 cup water

1 tsp. sugar (white / brown)

1 Tbsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. hawayej or turmeric (in case you don’t have any hawayej)

1/2 – 1 egg per portion

Instructions

  1. Once your grill pan is hot (high flame) add onion and mushroom. For the time being use separate parts of the pan for the onion and the mushrooms. Boil water with eggs and prepare your hard boiled eggs.

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Mushrooms and onion on the grill / Photo by Eyal Streett

  1. Turn vegetables around so that they don’t burn. Once the onion is a browning add the water gently. Now sprinkle the sugar on top of the onions and the cumin and hawayej to the mushrooms. Set the fire lower and if possible cover with a lid for about 10 minutes.

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Add water / Photo by Eyal Streett

  1. Peel your egg and serve hummus: Put a nice portion of hummus in a bowl, add one spoon of the seasoned chickpeas, some grilled onion and mushrooms, hard-boiled egg (sliced on half), parsley, lemon juice and generous amount of olive oil. Sprinkle paprika on top. Serve with fresh pita and skhoug.

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Hummus with grilled onion, mushrooms and hard boiled egg / Photo by Eyal Streett

Topping #3: minced meat

Ingredients

400 g minced meat (beef or lamb)

1 garlic clove

1 Tbsp. sweet paprika

1 tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. olive oil

Instructions

  1. Add olive oil to pan on high fire. Peel and add whole garlic clove.
  1. Add salt, pepper and paprika to minced meat and mix well together.
  1. Add meat to pan and mix around once in a while until cooked.
  1. Add to hummus: put a nice portion of hummus in a bowl, and a spoon of seasoned chickpeas and 2-3 spoons of meat. Garnish with parsley, lemon juice, a generous amount of olive oil and a sprinkle of paprika. Serve with fresh pita and skhoug.

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Hummus with minced meat, photo by Yael Streett

Some more notes about hummus making:

*In case you don’t have time to make a proper hummus you can always substitute the dry chickpeas with cooked can chickpeas. Don’t forget to wash your chickpeas very well before warming them up. The flavor won’t be as rich but these chickpeas will turn into hummus much faster.

* If you don’t have time or patience to skin the chickpeas one by one you could pour hot chickpeas into cold water (step 7 from the original recipe) and gently massage the chickpeas. Many skins will float to the top. Get rid of all of these skins, change the water and repeat. Wash chickpeas and put them back on the fire.

* Another possibility would be not to skin them at all. But keep in mind that non-skinned chickpeas make a far less creamy texture. They are also heavier on your digestion system.

* Refrigerate your leftover hummus in a sealed container. Then, when you want to eat some more make your refrigerated portion and add 1 spoon of boiling water. Mix together with a spoon. Hummus tends to dry up a bit in the refrigerator a bit of boiling water will get it back on track.

Fresh baked pita

Makes 8 pitas

Ingredients

500 g flour

15 g fresh yeast (or one full tsp. of dry yeast)

1/3 cup warm water

2/3 cup warm water

1 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. sugar

Instructions

  1. Mix well together in a glass the yeast, sugar and 1/3 cup of warm water. Put aside and wait around 15 minutes. The mixture will start foaming.

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This is not a cappuccino / Photo by Eyal Streett

  1. Mix salt and flour in a large mixing bowl. Make a hole in the middle of the bowl. Add the foamy liquid and mix well together. Slowly add some warm water. Knead together and once the dough is dry add some more water. Keep on kneading and, again, once the dough feels dry add some more water. It will get sticky when you add the water but as long as you continue kneading you’ll be fine. Go on kneading for around 10 minutes. It might feel long, use this mantra: the longer I knead the tastier the pita. After 10 minutes or so you can stop kneading.

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This is not the moon / Photo by Eyal Streett

  1. Cover the mixing bowl with a damp towel and put it aside, in a warm place if possible, for an hour.
  1. Take your dough out of the mixing bowl. Knead for about a minute. Separate you dough into 8 equal balls. Roll each ball to a thickness of 1 cm. Place 4 on each baking tray (with baking paper), cover with towels and set aside for another 30 minutes.

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Pitas ready for baking / Photo by Eyal Streett

  1. Set your oven to 220º C. Once it’s hot put in the first tray of pita. Baking time is around 5 minutes. Once the pitas are blown up you can take them out of the oven. Repeat with second tray.
  1. Leave pitas under a towel so that they keep fresh.

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Mmmmmmmm… Fresh pita!

Enjoy your meal and keep on cooking!

a-yally-dalit-3-PRECIOSOS Eyal Streett, Madrid–Amsterdam, February 2015

TO READ IN PDF (pp. 93–104): HCH-3-MARZO-2015