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Hummus in Four Colors

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Hummus in Four Colors

Hummus is said to have its origins in Israel, where it’s even seen as the number one national dish. In fact, hummus, a delectable purée of legumes, sesame, garlic and oil, has conquered the rest of the world too. Here’s the basic recipe, plus some surprising variations. If you store your hummus in a closed jar in the refrigerator, you can enjoy it for at least a few days!

Basic Recipe for Hummus

Put 250 g dried chickpeas and ½ tsp baking powder* in a bowl. Add cold water until the chickpeas are well covered and leave to steep for 1 night. Drain the chickpeas, put them in a pan, and add fresh water until they are covered by about an inch. Add ½ tsp baking powder and bring it to boil. Boil gently for 1 hour until the chickpeas are soft. Keep 1 cup of the cooking water and drain the rest.

Peel 1 large clove of garlic and chop it very finely, together with some salt. Put the chickpeas and the salty garlic plus 4 tbsps white tahini in a blender and blend into a smooth mass. Add 3 tbsps of the cooking water or as much as you need for a nice soft hummus; it has to keep a little of its firmness. Season with lemon or lime juice and a little extra tahini and salt to taste. Put the hummus in a nice bowl and drizzle on 2 tbsps fresh olive oil. Sprinkle on some roast cumin seeds and some za’atar, a mix of dried herbs with oregano, thyme, sesame, and pepper, among other things. Tastes good with toasted pita bread and crudités, on whole-wheat pizza, bread, as a basis for a vinaigrette, in soups, with roast vegetables or with almost any kind of salad.

* Baking powder speeds up the cooking and softening process

Hummus with Herbed Yogurt

Prepare the hummus using 250 g dried chickpeas, following the basic recipe above, but without the salty garlic. Whisk 6 tbsps Greek yogurt together with 1 tbsp tahini, 1 clove garlic, crushed, ½ tsp ground coriander seeds, the zest of ½ lemon, salt, and pepper. Finely chop a mix of fresh herbs such as thyme, dill, flat-leaf parsley and oregano, and mix 6 tbsps into the yogurt. Gently fold the herbed yogurt into the hummus just before serving.

Goes well with warm falafel, tomato, finely chopped red onion, and warm pita bread.

Green Hummus with Broad Beans

Prepare 200 g dried chickpeas following the basic recipe on page 141. Let 250 g frozen broad beans thaw a little, then peel off the white fleece. Briefly boil the beans, drain them and rinse them with cold water. Put them in a blender together with the cold chickpeas, 30 g pistachio nuts, 1 small clove of garlic, crushed, 3 tbsps tahini, ½ bundle of fresh coriander and ½ green pepper. Mix into a soft purée, adding the juice of 1 lime and some of the cooking water. Before serving, drizzle on some olive oil and sprinkle with some pul Biber (Turkish red pepper flakes).

Delicious with cucumber, avocado, and strips of lavash bread (Turkish flatbread, from the Turkish supermarket).

Carrot Hummus

Boil 100 g dried chickpeas following the basic recipe on page 141. Put 100 g red lentils in a bowl with plenty of water and leave for 30 minutes. Drain the lentils and put them in a pan. Add enough water so the lentils are about an inch under. Bring to boil with the lid on and boil gently for 15 minutes. Drain if necessary and leave to cool.

Peel 1 small carrot (about 200 g) and chop it. Remove the seeds from ½ red pepper and chop it. Cut 1 clove of garlic into three sections. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan. Sauté the carrot together with ½ tsp cumin, the red pepper, and the garlic. Add 2 tbsps of water, then cover and stew for 15 minutes. Add ½ tsp turmeric and the juice of ½ lemon. Cover and leave to cool. Put the chickpeas, the red lentils, the stewed carrot, and 3 tbsps tahini in a blender and mix it into a nice smooth purée. Add a little cooking water if necessary. Season with lemon juice, an extra pinch of tahini, and some salt.

Serve with bitter vegetables like white radish, radicchio, turnip cabbage, and paprika, plus strips of warm flatbread.

Hummus, the Healthy Snack

Chickpeas are low in calories but very nutritious. They contain slow carbohydrates that make you feel full for a long time. Hummus on a cracker is perfect when you’re craving a snack between meals.

Another good reason to eat hummus

Chickpeas, the main ingredient in hummus, are super healthy. They contain lots of fibers that boost digestion, and also lots of protein (which builds up the muscles), iron (important for the production of hemoglobin), and zinc (to boost your immune system).

Recipes: Bart Stuart / Photography: Marcel van Driel

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