Humming About Hummus

Wow, not that many years ago, most people hadn’t heard of hummus, let alone ever tried it. Thanks to companies like Sabra, Tribe, and Athenos, hummus has become ubiquitous in the supermarket. In fact, an article in the Wall Street Journal on April 29, 2013 says that the growing popularity of hummus is creating a run on chickpeas, grown mostly in the Northwest, and that former tobacco farms in the South are being turned over to chickpea cultivation. How is that for turning a negative crop into a positive one?! You can read about the health benefits of chickpeas and other legumes in Bean Briefs.
Despite the fact that ready-made hummus is everywhere, I still prefer to make my own. Sometimes I cook up dried chickpeas — my favorites are the small chickpeas sold by Kalustyan’s in NYC or Yaranush in White Plains, NY. Most times I’m not that organized and I use chickpeas from the can. A few weeks ago, one of my friends served hummus using a recipe from Jerusalem, by Israeli-born, London-based chef Yotam Ottolenghi, and it was amazing. My friend Alix Furer and I adapted it for canned chickpeas and then created an Indian-inspired dish to enter into a hummus contest at our synagogue. We didn’t win but the recipe truly is a winner!

Channa Hummus
15-oz can chickpeas, half the liquid drained off
1/3 cup tahini
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic
1 tsp curry powder
Salt to taste

Vegetarian curried chickpeas (in the Indian section of the market)
Chopped tomato
Minced cilantro
Plain yogurt
Mango chutney

Blend together the chickpeas and remaining liquid, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, curry powder and salt in a blender or food processor until very smooth. Place in a bowl or spread on a plate and top with any or all of the toppings. We served it with Flamous Falafel Chips to keep the chickpea theme going and meet the needs of our gluten-free friends.

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