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Tag Archives: hummus

The ‘Hummus’ Revolution (with recipes for Beet Hummus & Kashmiri Chilli Hummus)

Hummus, a simple rustic chickpea dip that has somehow bridged geographical, cultural and religious borders. Today it graces our dinner tables in a zillion avatars, from simple to gourmet.

I love hummus, not just for its soul-satisfying taste, but because it is a taste of my childhood. Growing up in the Middle East, there was no way you could avoid this condiment. And it was such an integral part of the food we ate, because hummus was one of the very rare dishes that my dad would eat outside the traditional Kerala cuisine. So it made its appearance constantly sitting unassumingly alongside a platter of kebabs and tikkas.

And when we returned back to India, it was one of the main things that we missed; so much that my mom would request every friend who travels from Dubai to get her a bottle of tahini (which was very difficult to source in India at that time).

Today, we aren’t just talking about hummus as a dip, but as a medium for social and religious cohesiveness…..and it’s through the #spreadhummusnothate campaign spearheaded by Lina J, an award winning food blogger and the creative force behind ‘The Lebanese Plate’.

I have been following Lina’s work on Instagram for quite a while now and I really appreciate the work that she is doing to spread awareness and help address unwanted social and religious stigmas we have as a society. So here are excerpts of an interview with Lina and the significance of the #spreadhummusnothate campaign.

The first question and perhaps the most relevant one to this conversation….Where were you born? Are you an Australian?

I was born & brought up in Sydney.

Why #spreadhummusnothate? Could you tell us what led you to take up this campaign?

This campaign came about after coming across the hashtag #spreadhummusnothate. I felt there was increasing negativity towards people from diverse backgrounds & especially people of Muslim faith. I used the hashtag online but really felt that I needed to take it off line into our everyday lives in order for it to have a lasting effect. This is when I came up with creating opportunities for everyday Australians to sit & converse with everyday Australian Muslims & literally ‘spread hummus’ together.

You are an award winning food blogger but is that the only reason why you chose ‘food’ as the medium to express your opinions?

I don’t even think of myself as ‘award winning’ to be honest!

Working with & around food naturally led me to use it as the basis for this campaign. I think we tend to take for granted the power of food, not just as something to nourish the body, but also as a tool to bring people together.

 Is it a single person initiative or do you have a team working along with you in this campaign?

It is just me really. I have certainly had people help here and there along the way, but mostly just something that I have been pushing on my own.

What is the primary message that you want to spread through this campaign? And how do you go about it?

That all it takes is one conversation (over food) to break down barriers. I hope that people will be able to see that although we have some difference, we actually have a lot more in common. Life isn’t about agreeing with or being exactly like the next person, it’s about understanding & respecting our differences & still be able to converse in a positive way.

 How has the response been so far?

I would say 99% of response to this campaign has been quite positive, which really gives me hope.

I have seen on your Instagram account that you host events in relation to the campaign? How are these done and is it open to the public?

The events have been smaller gatherings up until this stage. I am currently in some collaboration talks with some lovely people who really want to help take this to the next level, where hopefully there will be more opportunities for a wider range of people to attend such events. There’ll be more detail soon about these events on my social media.

What are the different ways in which anyone who interested in this campaign be of help?

A number of people have helped spread the word, which is really important! But a number from my Insta family have assisted in providing goods for the #SpreadHummusNotHate Brunch, cake & desserts, meat & poultry, fresh fruit & veg. Couldn’t thank these people enough for their support.

And on a lighter note, you have become the ‘queen of hummus’ platters with all sorts of flavours including beautiful looking ones like the beet hummus. But which is your favourite?

I do love the Beet hummus, especially topped with a marinated feta, but at the end of the day, the original hummus will always be my favourite!

Do check out her blog and Instagram page (for some amazing photography and mouthwatering food).

Of course, I cannot leave you without sharing any hummus recipes so there are two delicious ones today. First, it’s the super gorgeous beet hummus recipe, one of Lina’s favourites which she has kindly shared with all of us. And second will be my signature hummus recipe with Kashmiri chilli (you will love this!)

So let’s #spreadhummusnothate

Beet Hummus

Beet hummus - thespiceadventuress.com

Photograph courtesy – thelebaneseplate.com

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup dried chickpeas; soaked overnight
  2. 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (optional)
  3. 250g roasted beetroot
  4. Salt, to season
  5. 3 cloves garlic
  6. ¼ tsp ground cumin
  7. 1 tbsp  tahini paste
  8. 1/3 to 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  9. olive oil for serving
  10. 1 tbsp Persian feta (optional, for serving)

Method:

  1. Beginning the night before, soak the dry chickpeas in a bowl of (approximately) 3 cups water with the teaspoon of bicarb. The chickpeas will need to soak overnight and will double in size.
  2. The following day, rinse chickpeas and place in a pressure cooker (see note) with plenty of fresh water. Lock the lid and turn to the LOW pressure setting. Once it comes to pressure (mine begins to whistle when at full pressure), turn heat to low and cook for a further 20 minutes. Take pressure cooker off heat and allow the pressure to release and cool naturally. This may take a further 30 minutes or more depending on the type of pressure cooker you have.
  3. As the chickpeas are cooking, preheat oven to 200ºC and prepare beetroot for roasting. Cut off greens and scrub beetroot thoroughly. Using a large enough piece of baking paper, wrap beetroot loosely and enclose by folding both ends into the middle and folding up ends to create a bag. Place paper bag with beetroot on an oven tray and into the oven. Roast for approximately one hour, or until beets are soft and cooked through. Remove from oven; allow to cool before peeling skin.
  4. Once pressure is released from the cooker, drain away as much liquid as you can leaving only chickpeas behind. You will find that the chickpeas look mushy, but do not fret…that’s exactly how you want them! I find using the pressure cooker softens and almost melts away the chickpea skin that you don’t need to remove them.
  5. Place the garlic, salt and cumin into a mortar and pestle and crush to create a paste. Set aside with the lemon juice.
  6. Place the chickpeas in a food processor and blend until a smooth puree is formed.  Add the beetroot and continue to whiz until you have a vibrant puree.
  7. Add tahini, garlic, salt and cumin paste and blend some more. While processor is on, add 1/3 cup of lemon juice in a steady stream. Stop to scrape down sides and taste for more lemon juice.
  8. Serve with Persian feta and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

NOTE: If you do not own a pressure cooker, use a large saucepan instead. Add chickpeas to pot with plenty of cold water and a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda. Bring to the boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for at least an hour until chickpeas are very soft.

Kashmiri chilli Hummus

I used dried Kashmiri chillies for this recipe which can be easily found in any Indian/Asian store. These chillies have a beautiful deep red colour but very less heat when compared to other varieties.

Kashmiri chilli hummus - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup dried chickpeas; soaked overnight
  2. 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (optional)
  3. 3-4 Kashmiri chillies (soaked in warm water)
  4. Salt, to season
  5. 2 cloves garlic
  6. 1 tbsp  tahini paste
  7. Juice of 1 lemon
  8. 1 tbsp thick greek style yoghurt
  9. olive oil for serving
  10. Dried chillies (for garnish)
  11. Green olives (for garnish)

Method:

  1. The first step (just as in the beet hummus) is to soak the chickpeas overnight with bicarb. Canned chickpeas can be used if you are really rushed for time but soaking and cooking the chickpeas yourself makes a big difference to the taste.
  2. Next day, rinse the chickpeas well and cook in a pressure cooker or pan till well done and lightly mushy. Season the chickpeas with salt while cooking.
  3. While the chickpeas is cooking, soak the Kashmiri chillies in warm water for at least 15 minutes or more if possible.
  4. Using a blender, grind the chillies, garlic and a pinch of salt to a coarse paste.
  5. To this add the drained chickpeas (reserve a little for garnish), tahini paste, yoghurt and half the lemon juice. Blend till a smooth consistency is achieved (you may need to scrape down the sides in between). Taste and add more salt or lemon juice as required.
  6. Transfer to a bowl and serve with olive oil. Garnish with the cooked chickpeas, sliced olives and crushed dried chillies.
  7. Enjoy

Kashmiri chilli hummus - thespiceadventuress.com

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Mushroom & Sundried Tomato Hummus Toasties

On a slightly chilly evening, about two months ago, I sat down with my pen and diary to plan out the blog posts leading up to Christmas. There was so much I wanted to cook and post, especially traditional dishes like roasts, cakes, cookies etc…..

And somehow I just never did any of those which I had planned so meticulously. Instead I found myself cooking whatever my heart fancies based on a spur-of-the-moment idea or ingredient. In short, bid goodbye to my best laid plans.

If this had happened a year back, I would have become super stressed about the whole thing and worried about blog stats, traffic etc… etc…. But 2016 taught me the biggest lesson of all; to enjoy what I do above all else and the rest will fall into place. I found my unique voice in terms of food and photography, a space I am very comfortable in. No more comparisons with what others are doing anymore. I learnt to say no to the zillions of emails that have nothing to do with my vision for the blog and learnt to embrace the differences that make me stand different in the crowd. Inner peace and clarity….at last!

Moving onto my recipe for the day; I was actually looking for inspiration to create a vegetarian canapé for my Christmas party, something I could prep ahead of time and just assemble on the day of the party. Browsing through Pinterest, I found quite a few versions of the avo toasties which sort of got me thinking along those lines and ta da……the idea for these delicious Mushroom and Hummus toasties took shape.

Mushroom & Sundried Tomato Hummus Toasties - a delightful vegetarian canape for the festive season - thespiceadventuress.com

I loved how these toasties turned out and the minute I got the approval from the boys, I knew it had to go on the blog. So here you go guys…..a very delicious vegetarian starter that can be enjoyed in any season.

P.S.: The sun dried tomato hummus makes an excellent dip…in fact, I am planning on making an extra batch of the hummus for the party which will go on the cheese board. And my little boy loves it slathered in his pita roll.

Sun dried Tomato Hummus - a delicious dip for the festive season - thespiceadventuress.com

Mushroom & Sundried Tomato Hummus Toasties - a delightful vegetarian canape for the festive season - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

(Makes about 20 toasties depending on the length of the baguette)

For the hummus:

  1. 1 cup chickpeas (soaked overnight)
  2. ¼ cup sun dried tomatoes (with the preserved oil)
  3. 2-3 tbsp tahina (sesame seed paste)
  4. 3 medium garlic cloves
  5. 1 lemon
  6. Salt, to season
  7. 3-4 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil

For the toasties:

  1. 1 baguette (I used the sesame seed crusted one for extra flavour); thinly sliced
  2. Olive oil
  3. 200gms white mushrooms; sliced
  4. 200gms brown mushrooms; sliced
  5. ½ inch ginger
  6. 1 tsp paprika
  7. Juice of ½ lime
  8. ½ tsp dried thyme
  9. Salt, to season
  10. 2-3 sprigs fresh coriander leaves; finely chopped
  11. 1 cup sun dried tomato hummus

Method:

To prepare the hummus:

  1. Boil the chickpeas with a bit of salt till well done and lightly mushy. Drain and keep aside.
  2. Add the garlic cloves and the juice of ½ lemon to a food processor or blender and whizz.
  3. Then add the sundried tomatoes along with the preserved oil and 2 tbsp tahina. Blend well for at least 2 minutes.
  4. Next add the boiled chickpeas with a pinch of salt and blend well till smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust with lemon juice, salt and tahina if necessary.
  5. Remove to a bowl, create little depressions with the back of your spoon and add the olive oil on top.

Note – The texture of the hummus is better when preparing the chickpeas from scratch as opposed to using tinned ones. But if you are pressed for time, you may use the tinned chickpeas too.

If using the hummus as a dip, add more olive oil and garnish with black olives and a pinch of paprika.

To prepare the toasties:

  1. Preheat the oven (fan forced) to 180°C
  2. Line a baking tray with oven proof paper and place the baguette slices; drizzle with olive oil lightly and bake till light golden brown. Takes about 8 minutes depending on the oven. Remember that the slices only need to crisp up.
  3. Remove and keep aside.
  4. To prepare the mushrooms, heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a pan and add the mushrooms. Cook on high heat for a minute and then add the grated ginger. Continue to cook for another minute and then reduce heat. Add the paprika, dried thyme, juice of ½ lemon and season with salt. Remove and keep aside.
  5. To assemble the toasties, spread a little bit of the hummus over a baguette slice and spoon some mushrooms on top. Do this for all the slices.
  6. Arrange on a platter and garnish the toasties with chopped coriander leaves and a touch of paprika.

Mushroom & Sundried Tomato Hummus Toasties - a delightful vegetarian canape for the festive season - thespiceadventuress.com

Mushroom & Sundried Tomato Hummus Toasties - a delightful vegetarian canape for the festive season - thespiceadventuress.com

Mushroom & Sundried Tomato Hummus Toasties - a delightful vegetarian canape for the festive season - thespiceadventuress.com

Mushroom & Sundried Tomato Hummus Toasties - a delightful vegetarian canape for the festive season - thespiceadventuress.com

 

Grilled Kangaroo Skewers with Red Chermoula

Kangaroo….yes, I finally did it.

And I can hear friends and family teasing my full fledged Aussie….ness now. But guys, not all Aussies eat kangaroo!

Well, it had been in my mind for the longest time to try out this meat ever since Masterchef happened to me. A lot of ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ later….here I am with grilled kangaroo skewers marinated with red charmoula.

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Red Chermoula is an incredible Moroccan condiment with North African origins; it has a ton of flavour, very vibrant and can be used in so many different ways in the kitchen. There is the green variant too; the green chermoula – the basic difference being the presence of paprika in the red one.

As Mourad Lahlou puts it in his book, ‘New Moroccan’ (from where the recipe for this red charmoula is adapted), chermoula should be seen as a defining Moroccan flavour rather than just labeling it as a marinade, dip or condiment.

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Understanding the flavour profile of the chermoula will enable you to use it in multiple ways in your kitchen. Mourad has outlined plenty of ways in which you can put the red charmoula to use. But I decided to test it out with kangaroo.

Kangaroo meat is extremely low in fat and quite high in protein; so it has to be taken care, not to overcook the meat. This lean, red meat has many nutritional benefits like omega-3s, B group vitamins and also a good source of iron and zinc.

If you are buying kangaroo meat or for that matter any meat, make sure it comes from a sustainable and animal-friendly source. I bought mine from Gourmet Game; they also retail at most of the big supermarkets.

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Being an extremely lean meat, it’s important not to overcook the meat. I bought the fillets which were cut into medium-sized cubes for the skewers. A few minutes on each side are all that you need with this meat.

Now, I do understand that many of you might not get kangaroo meat easily in other countries or would hesitate to consume it for various reasons. But that does not mean that you cannot enjoy the flavours of the charmoula. This recipe can be adapted to any meat and even to vegetables. Get as creative as you want!

And staying with the Moroccan/Middle Eastern theme; the kangaroo skewers with red chermoula were paired with pita bread, hummus, jajik (Turkish cucumber yoghurt dip), salad with lemon and sumac on the side. If you need a good hummus recipe, then I have one right here.

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Ingredients:

For red chermoula:

1. 1 tbsp salt
2. 1 tbsp sweet paprika
3. 1 tsp smoked paprika
4. 1 tsp ground cumin
5. 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
6. 1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
7. 2 tbsp coarsely chopped parsley
8. 2 tbsp coarsely chopped cilantro/coriander leaves
9. 1 tbsp chopped preserved lemon rind
10. 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
11. 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
12. ½ cup water
13. ½ cup tomato puree


For kangaroo skewers:

14. 500 gms kangaroo fillets, cut into medium-sized cubes
15. 1 red onion, cut into cubes
16. Red chermoula, for marination
17. Salt, to season
18. Vegetable oil, to grill the skewers


Method:


To prepare red chermoula:

1. Put all the spices and the salt in a bowl and whisk well.
2. Then add the garlic, parsley, coriander leaves, lemon rind and lemon juice; mix to combine.
3. Finally, whisk in the oil, water and tomato puree.
4. You can store the excess in an air tight container in the refrigerator for upto 2 weeks.


To prepare the kangaroo skewers:

1. Marinate the kangaroo meat with red chermoula; season with salt if necessary (there is salt in the red charmoula). Keep for at least 4 hours or longer.
2. Soak the wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes to avoid burning.
3. Skewer the meat pieces neatly adding a cube of onion at each end.
4. Heat the grill pan to high, season with oil and place the skewers. Baste with red chermoula once in between.
5. 5 minutes on each side is enough to cook the meat to medium. Cover with foil for another 10 minutes before serving. (Check one piece of meat to ascertain that it has cooked enough to suit your taste preferences. If you like it medium rare, 3 minutes on each side would do).
6. Serve with accompaniments.

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Hummus Bi Tahina (Middle Eastern Chickpeas Dip)

This is the Holy Week and for every Christian including me, this is the time for silent reflection, a time for praise and thanksgiving. A time to reflect on your inner self, your spiritual self. I am not a regular church-goer but I am deeply religious though my idea of religion does not always conform to today’s society and its perceptions of Christianity.

For me, religion is not something to be practiced on a weekend – it is a way of life. It is who I am….my identity, my character, my personality…..

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My religious non-conformity has always made it difficult for me to find the right place of worship/church. I feel lost in the big ones which are run more like corporate organizations than places of worship. I prefer going to a church where I can sense and feel the presence of God even if I am sitting amidst many others, a place which allows me to pray from deep within, a place I feel happy in and a place with a strong sense of community. After coming to Melbourne, we were in search of such a church and have finally found one – a 150 year old church which has stood strong and proud, celebrating the life and passion of Christ. Feeling blessed!

Well, let’s get back to today’s recipe which is a world away (or is it?) from Christianity and the Holy Week. A Middle Eastern staple – hummus bi tahina or hummus is perhaps the most famous Arabian dish that is made and relished around the globe.

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There is no dearth of recipes for hummus and though my mum has been making this one for years, I decided to follow the recipe outlined in the cookbook, ‘Traditional Arabic Cooking’.

The literal translation of hummus bi tahina is chickpeas with sesame seed paste and so the base for a hummus is chickpeas/garbanzo beans and tahina (or tahini/sesame seed paste). Chickpeas is the native or indigenous food of the Levants (Levant is the Eastern Meditteranean region comprising of Israel, Cyprus, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Jordan and parts of Turkey). It is believed that this protein rich beans was used to feed the Arab armies sent out to conquer North Africa.

Hummus is served as a dip and as part of the mezze platter and it is best eaten with pita bread. But these days, it has become a healthy dip that can be paired with vegetable sticks, bread sticks, crackers, meat skewers and even as a spread in sandwiches.

An extremely healthy dish, hummus is also very simple to prepare and can be stored for upto 2 weeks refrigerated in an airtight container.

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Ingredients:

1. Dried chickpeas – 225 gm; soaked, drained and boiled (you can use canned chickpeas also)
2. Tahina (sesame seed paste) – 5 tbsp
3. Garlic – 2 cloves
4. Lemon juice – 3-4 tbsp
5. Salt – to season
6. Olive oil – ½ cup
7. Black olives – to garnish
8. Paprika – to garnish

Note – Tahina is available commercially and is easily found at Middle Eastern food stores.

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Method:

• If using dry chickpeas, soak for at least 4 hours or overnight, rinse and cook till soft and mushy. Drain and reserve some liquid.
• Puree the chickpeas along with garlic.
• Cool and add tahini and lemon juice. Taste and adjust sourness with lemon juice and season with salt. Add the reserved liquid to loosen up consistency if necessary.
• Garnish with olive oil and black olives.

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