Friday, 3 January 2014

Houmous: Food of The Gods.

I made houmous once before from a kit, and you wouldn't render your walls with it. That's all I'm going to say about that.

But I resolved one day to try my own. I did, last night. Here is my made-up recipe WHICH WORKED.

Regarding the ingredients, these are the rules:
- The amount of chickpeas and tahini is set.
- You can add more olive oil if you like, but I wouldn't advise less as it really gives it the creaminess you desire.
- This amount of garlic suited us, but you might want to prep more than you need and add it as you go along, to taste. We like garlic.
- DO NOT be tempted to leave out the oat or soya cream in chasing some kind of crazy 'low-fat houmous' nightmare. The cream is what changes it magically from somewhat earthy separate ingredients to creamy, eyes-closed garlicky fused-together bliss.
- The amount of salt is up to you, but don't leave it out; you DO need it. Taste as you go along.

A blender is crucial.

You will need:

• One 400g tin of chickpeas, unsalted and with no added sugar
• 2 tbsp freshly-squeezed lemon juice
• 4 garlic cloves, crushed or finely sliced
NOTE: this method uses raw garlic. You can cook the garlic gently through in a little oil till transparent before adding but DO NOT BURN it or make it crispy.
• 100ml or three tablespoons of tahini (sesame seed paste)
• 4 tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
• Salt
• 3 tbsp oat or soya cream
• 1 tsp paprika (smoked is best) - to finish

Do this:

Drain the chickpeas and rinse really well. Save a few whole chick peas for putting on top when you serve.

Blend the chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic, salt, tahini, and oil in a blender, to a creamy purée.

Stop the blender and taste it!
At this point, add the cream.
Blend again till well creamy but without sacrificing all texture - you know what houmous looks like. Aim for that.
Taste again, add more lemon juice, garlic, or salt to taste if you need to.

Dump your precious load into an attractive large bowl, put the saved chick peas on top, sprinkle with the paprika and drizzle with with extra virgin olive oil. You can even bob a few black olives on top.

It's nice served warm, so if you want to do that, heat it through VERY gently without bubbling, and keep stirring.

Eat with fresh bread. I served mine with some hastily knocked-up gram flour flatbreads and served it with some steamed oily greens.

*Postscript: just tried a version with cooked garlic, just gently cooked through till transparent in olive oil. It definitely knocked back the garlic flavour, so if you prefer a garlic kick, shove it in the blender raw!

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