Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Balila Hummus with crushed chickpeas, pine nuts and cumin

I have bought a wonderful book called Saha – A chef’s journey through Lebanon and Syria. It is by Greg and Lucy Malouf. After reading about when Greg and Lucy came to London for the book launch at Nordljus I could not resist purchasing the book. And God knows how glad I am that I have bought it. I have already prepared quite a few dishes from the book, and this one here is one of them. The book is so beautiful that it moved me. Greg Malouf is Australian born to Lebanese parents and the journey that is shown in the book is a beautiful one not only in terms of showing the cuisine of Lebanon and Syria but also one where he gets in touch with his roots. If you enter a bookshop which has the book on sale I beg you to flick through it. It is lovely.

I picked this recipe because a) I love hummus and b) it was hummus with a twist. When I heard about the Arabian nights that Meeta has organized. I thought that it would be great to share it here as well – I posted it in my Portuguese blog first. I couldn’t stop eating it. I love the creamy chickpea paste and the crunch pie nuts and lemon tang.Ingredients:

250g dried chickpeas (or 400g cooked)

2 tablespoons bicarbonate of soda

1 small clove of garlic, crushed with 1 teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon ground cumin

Juice of 1 ½ lemons

50ml olive oil


50ml olive oil

2 cloves garlic, finely sliced

50g pine nuts

Juice of ½ lemon

Soak the chickpeas overnight in twice their volume of cold water and the bicarbonate. The next day, rinse the chickpeas thoroughly. Place them in a large pan of fresh water and bring it to the boil. Then lower the heat and simmer for 1-2 hours, until the chickpeas are tender – the timing will depend on how old they are. Don’t cook them to a mush, but you should be able to squish them easily between your fingers. When cool enough to handle, swish them around to loosen the skins, and remove as many as you can. The more skins you can remove, the better.

Drain the chickpeas, and reserve ½ cup to garnish Tip the rest into a food processor with the garlic paste, cumin, lemon juice and oil. While still warm, blitz to a smooth purée.

To prepare the garnish, heat the oil in a small pan and fry the garlic and pine nut until they start to colour. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Tip onto the hummus and add with the reserved chickpeas. Squeeze on the lemon juice. Serve immediately with plenty of Arabic or pita bread.

I dare you not to over eat!


MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Hummus is just so good and I've found many variations I've enjoyed, I think I'll be adding this one to my list.

Ilva said...

Now I want to get that book as well! Thanks for the tip!

Anonymous said...

hummus is easy to overeat...but it is soooooo good!

Patricia Scarpin said...


I first ate hummus because you'd said so many wonderful things about it. And after the first "bite" I got addicted, up to the point of making it at home (I thought it was difficult).

This looks delicious and I'm willing to give it a try!

Valentina said...

Half cup, I will publish a few more variations from the book. Hopefully you will be able to add them to your list as well.

Ilva, I am sure that you will love the book.let me know if you do get it.

Veron, isn't it indeed?

PAt, you must try this variety here. I am glad that you are now one more hummus/chickpea fan.

Meeta K. Wolff said...

What a wonderful variation! I just love it! Thank you for bringing it along to the MM.