This is nearly as big a cultural minefield as curry, and I have taken specific steps to guard against suicide bombers attempting to bring to my attention the error of my ways.
It has been said that the quality of a middle eastern maiden's hummus is often crucial in determining her worth as a bride, (as scones have been in the past in this country). Suffice it to say that I still cannot make a perfect scone but I'm getting close to the exact style of hummus I want.
You will need:
- 2/3 cup Chana dal (dry)
- 3 cups Water
- 20ml Olive Oil (or Peanut Oil for a change)
- 60 ml Lemon juice. (Lime juice, if you have a tree, makes a fine variation)
- 1 teaspoon Garlic paste or finely chopped garlic. (Remember this garlic will not be cooked and will therefore come through much more strongly in the finished product)
- 1 generous tablespoon of Tahini (Kids enjoy it even more if you substitute peanut butter for tahini.) [These days, I substitute about 1.5 tablespoons of toasted sesame oil for the tahini for a dreamy seasame flavour. Mmmmmm. Look for this oil in Lim Chhours in Henderson or at your favourite Asian food supplier. Make sure it's made from toasted or roasted sesame.]
- 3/4 teaspoon Salt (or to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon Coriander or Cumin
- Up to 1/3 cup of the current year sauvignon blanc you bought without examining the label carefully and which has been sitting in the fridge since then. (This will get you thrown out of the harem straight off, if nothing worse happens, so don't advertise it.)
- (optional) Some chopped olives or sundried tomatoes, or chopped parsley to taste. (Warning - if you add chopped olives, you may wish to reduce the initial quantity of salt.
Bring the water to the boil and simmer the chana dal for about 40 minutes. (Chana is a wild chickpea, and can be substituted for chickpeas in most recipes. The advantage of using chana is that it does not require soaking for 5 or 6 hours before you even think about cooking it.) Drain it. (You may wish to retain the cooking water as a soup base for another occasion.)
Combine with all the other ingredients except the sauvignon blanc in a large bowl and blend until the texture is about right, though maybe a little too dry. At this point, add the wine, a little at a time, blending as you go, until it reaches the required consistency. This seems to me to add a distinctive freshness to the end result, but be careful not to overdo it. It is the only acceptable way to use current year supermarket sauvignon blanc. Adjust for salt if necessary.
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