In Arabic, the word “hummus” means chickpeas. In the world of food, hummus is a dip or spread made from a purée of chickpeas, tahini, lemon, olive oil and garlic. It’s very easy to make, very tasty and very healthy. It’s a convenient snack and a frequent guest at our table.
Yield: Makes 2 cups
1 tablespoon olive oil
a sprinkle or two sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 19 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste)
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 more Tablespoons olive oil
1 lemon juice and zest
a splash olive oil
a sprinkle paprika
a sprinkle chopped parsley
Preheat your oven to 350 °F (180 °C).
Brush each pita using 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of olive oil and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cut into 6 or 8 pie-shaped wedges. Arrange the pieces on a baking tray and bake until toasted and crisp, about 15 minutes or so.
Toss the drained chickpeas into your food processor or blender. (Draining and rinsing the chickpeas really well will not remove any nutrients, but it will remove any lingering processed taste from the can.) Add the tahini, lemon zest and juice, garlic and the last 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of olive oil. Purée until smooth, adding a splash or two of water to reach a soft creamy texture. Taste and season with salt and pepper as you like.
To serve hummus, splash it with some olive oil, and sprinkle paprika and chopped parsley on top.
Hummus is one of the most common foods in the Middle East, and every cook has his or her own version. To create yours try adding more or less of the tahini, lemon zest and juice, garlic or olive oil. You may also add other ingredients like olives, capers, sun-dried tomatoes, pesto, parsley, chives, green onions or the traditional ground cumin. The pita chips may also be dusted with any herb or spice before baking.
Couscous is a grain-like form of pasta made from semolina flour, the same flour used to make pasta. It’s very common throughout the Mediterranean and North Africa. In Morocco it’s often served with dried fruits and nuts and lots of mysterious aromatic spiciness.