The word ‘hummus’ means ‘chickpea’ in Arabic but also refers to the ubiquitous dip made with chickpeas and olive oil, versions of which you can find all over the Middle East.
2 x 400g cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tsp cumin seeds
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
Roughly 4 tbsp olive oil
Freshly squeezed juice of 2 unwaxed lemon
2 tbsp tahini
6 tbsp thick, creamy yoghurt
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2-3 tbsp pine nuts
2 tbsp samna or butter
Crusty bread or toasted pitta bread, and marinated olives, to serve
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6.
2. Instead of using a pestle and mortar to pound the chickpeas to a paste in the traditional manner, make life easy and tip the chickpeas into an electric blender or a food processor. Add the cumin seeds, garlic, olive oil and lemon and whiz the mixture to a thick paste.
3. Add the tahini and continue to whiz until the mixture is really thick and smooth.
4. Add the yoghurt and whiz until the mixture has loosened a little and the texture is creamy. Season to taste with salt and pepper and tip the mixture into an ovenproof dish.
5. Dry-roast the pine nuts in a small pan until they begin to brown and emit a nutty aroma. Then add the samna or butter to the pine nuts in the pan and stir until it melts.
6. Pour the melted samna or butter over the hummus, spoon the pine nuts all over the surface and pop the dish into the preheated oven for about 25 minutes, until the hummus has risen a little and most of the samna or butter has been absorbed.
7. Serve immediately. The hummus is best when it is still hot with chunks of warm crusty bread or strips of toasted pitta bread and marinated olives.
Saffron & Sumac by Ghillie Basan, published by Ryland Peters & Small.
Photography by Steve Painter © Ryland Peters & Small.
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