Posts Tagged With: hummus

Msabaha – Lebanese Chickpeas (A new twist on hummus)

Msabaha – Lebanese Chickpeas

The best creation since hummus!?  Or at least equal!  Regardless, an awesome, quick and easy summer dish to be eaten alone with warm bread, maybe a salad and then take it the whole way and make it part of a summer feast.  Tables filled with lovely dishes one of my favourite sights, especially in the garden with a shining topping of sunshine.  Come on sunshine!!

BEIRUT BITES

I ate this mainly for breakfast on a recent trip to Beirut.  Warm, with crisp tomatoes and pepper, plus fresh, thin pitta bread, it set me up for days traveling around the fascinating country of Lebanon.  It’s a simple dish and can be ready in minutes.

Msabaha (some spell it Mussabaha, Msabbacha, Mschabeca, Messabbeha but in Lebanon I saw Msabaha, I hope that makes some sense) is a great twist on hummus, containing most of the same ingredients.  This is a really creamy, more-ish way of serving chickpeas, perfect as a picnic mezza.

I was sharing a table with an American one morning and I recommended the Msabaha, he exclaimed “THIS IS THE NEW HUMMUS MAN!!”  I’m not sure about that.  I don’t think it really matters. It’s just Msabaha.  And it’s just amazing.

CHICKPEA LOVIN’

The Lebanese love, I mean love, their chickpeas.  I excitedly ordered a dish in a bar/ restaurants (there are loads of excellent bars and restaurants in Beirut, especially in and around Gemmayzeh.)  What showed up was basically a bowl of chickpeas, dusted with cumin and a splash of olive oil.  It was delicious, but still, just a bowl of chickpeas straight up.

The main challenge with travelling for me is re-creating the dishes that I loved once I arrive back home. It can be a thankless task, we cannot recreate the chickpeas here, for some reason, they taste so much better in the Med/ Middle East. Also the veg, the cucumbers and tomatoes in Lebanon were a constant sensation. We can’t replicate their fertile soil and sun. But we can try and we can get close.

THE BEST SOUVENIRS ARE RECIPES!

The funny-ish thing about travelling is we go away and sample all of these delicious delicacies and local people are unfazed by the adulation.  It’s like a tourist wandering into a Gregg’s and getting worked up about a pasty.  These kind of dishes are what everyone eats, they’re the working persons food, cheap, delicious,  plentiful and ever present.  In Britain, I think things like good chips and mushy peas, or a cheese and pickle sandwich (now back on the menu with vegan cheddar), or maybe even the perfect shepherd-less or apple pie are our equivalent of hummus, falafels, baklava and the like.  Simple food that everyone loves!  It’s just the culture and the local ingredients that change.  But still, my best souvenirs are always recipes and delicious memories.

Art in Beirut – Sursok Museum

THE GREAT HUMMUS DEBATE – WHICH IS BEST?

Basically, don’t go there!!  In Lebanon, hummus is something of an enigma it seems. I’ve encountered this in other countries, everyone has their own little variation, some say add ice and blend, others say only use a hand masher, some say painstakingly remove the jacket from each individual chickpea.

Most people I spoke to said keep it simple. No garlic, no spices. Just lemon, salt and a little olive oil. The hummus we eat in the UK, especially those pale imitations in the supermarkets, are nothing like those in Lebanon and Egypt. Their hummus is super creamy and perfectly balanced, also, the olive oil is normally very fruity. In my experience, never ask a person from the Middle East who makes the best hummus. It can lead to heated debates, people are proud of their hummus traditions and rightly so. It’s a legend!

In Lebanon, the folk I spoke to would never put cumin  in hummus and many would not dream of garlic.  No, no, no, nooooo!  “Garlic!!  Are you crazy Britishman!!”  Direct quotes from a falafel stand in Beirut.  Meant jovially.

Yotam Ottolenghi, our Middle Eastern guru in the UK, says to use creamy tahini and soak your chickpeas well over night, drizzle the olive oil in after blending for bread dipping etcetc.  It’s perfectly simple and brilliantly complex this hummus stuff.  The truth is, its about balance and knowing what your dream tahini tastes like and the texture you want.  Some like it a little rough, some smooth.   I like mine with a little more tahini.  I’m a proper rebel.  What am I talking about hummus for?  Back to Msabaha……

Remember this though, tahini alone, mixed with water, a little garlic and salt, makes for an incredible sauce for many, many dishes.  Can be called Tarator.  You all probably know how I feel about tahini, I won’t go on about it.  But tahini, well, we should all be eating it at least twice a day in my humble opinion.  More at weekends.  Have you ever mixed tahini with jam/ molasses/ something sweet and spread it on warm toast or drizzled it over things like porridge or muesli?  You’ve got to try it!!  It’s a early morning revelation.

I love the simplicity of legendary dishes like this, so easy to get very wrong and incredible when mastered. I’m no master, but this is a decent effort I reckon. If you’re from Lebanon, please try it and send me your kind and not-too-harsh feedback.  Chokran!!

Beirut has a few ‘beaches’. Thin strips of sand. This man was enjoying himself with his sound system and hookah (water pipe)

Recipe Notes

If you like a thicker sauce, stir in a few spoonfuls of hummus.  This is perfectly acceptable behaviour.

I ate this with hummus, so I didn’t make it really saucy.  Feel free to add more sauce and get those chickers floaty in creamy, decadent goodness.

Cook the chickpeas until they’re nice and soft, melt in the mouth!

I prefer soaked and cooked chickpeas, better flavour, but tinned will do.

I think this dish is best served warm.

I like cumin, so I put it in.

Don’t be shy on the olive oil.  The Lebanese certainly are not.

A nice twist on hummus!  Mussabaha, Msabbacha, Mschabeca, Messabbeha, whatever you call it, it tastes amazing!!

 

The Bits – Enough for 4-6 as a mezza

550g chickpeas (cooked) – 2 tins

1 teas ground cumin

6 tbs light tahini

1/2 lemon (juice)

5 tbs water (more if needed)

1 small clove garlic (crushed)

Salt

 

Toppings 

Sprinkle of paprika

2 cloves crushed garlic (optional but nice)

1/2 handful chopped parsley (use the soft stems also)

Big glug of extra virgin olive oil

 

Salad

1 green pepper

1/2 cucumber

2 tomatoes (all sliced)

Fresh mint leaves (I used basil)

 

Do It

Cook your chickpeas and drain.  When still warm.  Stir the tahini, water, garlic, lemon juice, cumin and salt together, adding the water gradually to make a thin sauce.  If you didn’t cook your chickpeas with bicarb of soda, use the chickpea cooking broth instead of water.  You can make the sauce in advance if you like.

Gently stir the sauce into the chickpeas.  Top with parsley, paprika and crushed garlic if you like.

 

The incredible Baalbek, Roman and Persian monument, on the border with Syria. One of the most incredible historical sites I’ve visited.  Well preserved and totally empty.

Foodie Fact

Tahini!  Why we love it so, other than it tastes awesome.

Tahini is one the best sources of calcium out there, it keeps your skin and muscles healthy, high in vitamin E and many of the B’s, helps with detoxing, full of minerals like magnesium, potassium, iron and more, a great source of protein (even better than nuts), it is highly alkaline, it is high in unsaturated fats and therefore can help with weightloss.  WOW!

Categories: Breakfast, gluten-free, Healthy Eating, Nutrition, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Side Dish, Summer, Vegan | Tags: , , , | 9 Comments

Pea and Mint Hummus

Pea and Mint Hummus

Pea and Mint Hummus

Now that one half (me) of the BHK is rocking Spain, things are going totally Med for a while.  Fresh, vital, packed with sun, light and easy. Tapas basically. Little plates of flavour explosions that tantalise and don’t make you feel like a stuffed courgette. Perfect summer fare.

This is a nice twist on your standard hummus, plenty of lemon to lift it and enliven and a good hit of mint. It looks so vibrant, everyone will want a dip!  The great thing about peas is they freeze brilliantly and a I used frozen peas here.  When frozen, they don’t lose much of their nutritional value or texture, so its all good.

A hummus twist

A hummus twist

In Spain, the hummus wave is really hitting.  We went out with out mate in Madrid, a cool area and all the bars were serving hummus.  It seems like all the cool kids were at the crudites.  I think hummus is such a staple now in the UK, its nice to give it a twist now and again, although there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a well made ‘normal’ hummus.  I like mine nice and thick and creamy, with plenty of tahini.  I don’t think I’ll ever tire of it.

*Warning* – my posts from Spain may get a little erratic at times.  I’m normally tucked away in one of the the few local bars that have wifi.  There is a heady atmosphere of shouting and laughter and I’m no doubt sipping a ferocious black coffee.

Give peas a chance;)

2016-05-09 17.23.45

The Bits – Makes one big bowlful

480g chickpeas

275g peas

1 tbs dried mint

1 big handful fresh mint (finely sliced)

150ml olive oil

4 tbs tahini

1 1/2 medium lemons (juice)

2 big cloves garlic (crushed)

1 teas salt

50ml chickpea cooking broth

 

Do It

Place all ingredients into a blender and blitz until nicely smooth, drizzle in the chickpea broth (or water) until you get the consistency you like.  Remember that the hummus will thicken up in the fridge.  Check seasoning and served with a crazy array of chopped vegetables, flatbread slices, oat cakes, whatever tickles your fancy really.

View from one of the local interent hubs/ bars

View from one of the local interent hubs/ bars.  Life’s a long beach!

Categories: healthy, photography, Recipes, Snacks and Inbetweens, Summer, Travel, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , | 7 Comments

Cashew Hummus (Raw)

Raw Cashew Hummus

Here’s a quick little pot of goodness, so rich and so healthy. I love making hummus, mainly because it is so easy and tastes so much better homemade than out of a plastic tubs from a plastic shops.  You can get to play around with the flavours and really tailor your hummus to your taste.  And as we all know, hummus is important!

This hummus requires a little preparation, you do need to soak the chickpeas and cashews overnight, but its well worth it.  It’s healthy hummus.  Most hummus has alot of fat, due to the large amounts of oil used, this hummus uses a little oil (possibly none) and loads of raw cashews and chickpeas that are jam packed full of good things.

The chickpeas just need to be plump (and well rinsed) to use.  They don’t need to sprout, if they do, that’s a bonus!

You can make this with just cashew nuts (just double the quantity of nuts) but I like it with the chickpeas.  It’s slightly more traditional and after a night in the fridge, it takes on a lovely ‘cheesy’ quality.  ‘Cheesy’ is the best way I can describe it, basically, it matures nicely and gets more flavoursome.

Cashew are a real gift from nature, one nut grows on the end of a fruit (called a cashew apple, see below) and they’re really difficult to harvest.  The tree gives off toxins, it doesn’t want to let go of its precious nuts!

Cashew apples growing in Wat Suan Mok Monastery, Thailand

This will make a decent tubful:

The Bits 

1 cup cashews (soaked in filtered water, they will swell a little overnight, rinsed), 1 cup chickpeas (soaked overnight in filtered water, rinsed), juice of 1 lemon, 3 nice tablespoons of tahini (unroasted is milder, roasted is full on), 2 cloves garlic, 1/2 teas cumin, 1/2 teas paprika, pinch of rock salt, a little water/  oil to form a nice paste.

Do It

Place all ingredients in a sturdy blender, blend until smooth, adding water/ oil if needed.  You may need to stop a couple of times and scrape the mixture back into the centre.

Serve

As you like your hummus, we had ours on chicory leaves, which make a great little ‘boat’ for dips and the like.  They also look cool.  In a warm wrap is something quite special!  We suggest topping it with a little more oil, especially if it’s been in the fridge for a while.

We Love It!

This hummus has added lovely richness to our raw salad meals.  Always a brilliant addition to add a different texture to the plate.

Foodie Fact

Although high in fat, cashews boast mono-unsaturated fats, meaning in moderation they’re good for you.  Cashews are packed with soluble dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and numerous health-promoting phyto-chemicals that help protect from diseases and the big ‘C’.

 

Categories: Raw Food, Recipes, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Raw Hazelnut, Rosemary and Lentil Hummus

Day two of raw June and I’m feeling good. We have been eating quite a bit of raw food recently, so I wasn’t expecting wonders. Later in the month, who knows, maybe I’ll be sprouting!

I am working in a kitchen at the minute and its the middle of ‘silly season’, so its hard graft. I am finding no problems with the energy and when I eat healthy I find I need less sleep (which is a real help in the catering industry). It does have its advantages, I wont be missing cooking this month that’s for sure!  I am also surrounded by temptation, nice looking chips and slabs of cheesecake. It’s a good test. Most of my colleagues think I’m mad, but I’m used to this (for one reason or another). I am definitely eating less and not feeling hungry, I don’t even fancy a coffee anymore, which is rare behavior.

Many people comment that raw food sounds ‘boring’. This recipe is anything but and I find most raw food to be fascinating in its complexity and creativity alone; never mind the health benefits.

This is a real gourmet raw hummus. I thought I’d start as we mean to go on. It contains a lot of ingredients, but it is much more than a dip. This will be the main part of dinner tonight, with an orange, sweet potato and red cabbage salad.

It is rich with the nuts and oil, but does not have the smooth texture of a normal hummus. The flavour is a knockout though and like with alot of health foods, you have the piece of mind that it is doing your body good and providing you with some super nutrients.

We used sprouts here due to the fact that our sprout corner is going mad. At the minute we have a variety of receptacles holding all sorts of seeds and beans. We’ve mung bean, sunflower seed, buckwheat, wheat grains, quinoa and green lentil all in various states of soak and sprout. The mung beans are a staple here, but most of the other ones we’ve either tried and failed with or are completely new to. It’s a great little experiment and the right weather for sprouts. We found it difficult in the winter to get them going and our airing cupboard seemed too warm. Now we have the happy medium of summer (ish) temperatures in Wales.

Sprout Central

We have been soaking our nuts overnight, this helps to release the enzymes and nutrients.  They are also softer, better for blending.  Hazelnuts are one of the good nuts, peanuts, pistachios and brazil nuts are not goodies.  We will still be eating them though, just a little less than before.

It’s worth spending a little more on a good almond milk, the cheaper varieties are thinner and not as creamy.

So here’s our first attempt at a raw hummus:

The Bits
1 cup of hazelnuts, 1 cup sprouting green lentils, 1 cup sprouting chickpeas, 1 handful of dried rosemary, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil (evoo), juice and zest of 1 lemon, 1 tbs raw tahini, 1 tbs flax seeds, 2 cloves of garlic chopped, salt and pepper if you like (I used a dash of Braggs Liquid Aminos instead, it contains naturally occurring sodium and loads of good amino acids).


Do It

This is the easy part, put it all into a blender and blitz until smooth, roughly five minutes should do. If it is sticking or dry, add water as you are blending. This should loosen things up.

Serve

Great as a dip of course, or with a salad. We will be mixing it into chunky chopped vegetables tomorrow.

We Love It!

We Love sprouts!  So anything they are in, we are happy about.  This recipe is bursting with flavour, the hazelnuts and rosemary work together so well.  It has a nice creamy, richness to it, but is low if fat.  Hoorah!

Foodie Fact

Sprouting Chickpeas (Garbanzos/ Giggle beans to some) are packed full of protein.  They contain more protein than milk!  Many vegans and raw food types are asked about how they add protein to their diets, the truth is protein is available in many plant based foods.  Nuts and seeds mainly, but sprouts are also a good source.

Chickpeas are full of carbs, but low in fat.  A small serving of chickpeas contains around 50% of your daily Vitamin C requirement.

Raw Hazelnut, Rosemary and Lentil Hummus

Categories: Dinner, Healthy Eating, Healthy Living, Low G.I. (glycemic index), Nutrition, Raw Food, Recipes, Snacks and Inbetweens, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sweet Onion Hummus

Sweet onions (with a touch of celery)

This is a staple wonder paste at the B.H.K.  I make hummus at least once a week and in my many experimentations with pulverized chickpeas, I can say that this is our fav.
It is nice and simple, lightly spiced and has the lovely sweetness of well-stewed onions.  Not your conventional hummus and I don’t like to use loads of oil, I use the chickpea cooking juices and this makes the hummus lighter and lower in fats.

After tasting this recipe, the hummus from your local supermarket will seem salty and stodgy in comparison, and expensive!

We make a big batch that lasts us a few days.

Gigglebeans in the sun

The Bits
Approx. 3500g dried chickpeas (soaked for a day, then cooked in slightly salted water on a low heat for at least an hour until tender. You can use canned, but their texture is not quite as good), 2 onions (organic if you can, finely chopped), 1 teas cumin, 1/2 teas coriander seeds, 1 teas paprika, 1 teas turmeric, 1 teas thyme, 1 teas rosemary, 2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped), 1 cup of olive oil, 1 big tbs dark tahini, zest and juice of 1 lemon (unwaxed of course!), s + p.
Do It
Good glug of oil in a frying pan, gently fry onions for 10 mins, season, then cover and lower heat.  Do not colour, gently cook.  Leave for 45 mins, stirring occasionally, then take off lid and add spices and herbs, cook for 15 mins more until golden and most of the juice has gone.
Take your cooked and cooled chickpeas and place them in a blender (you can do this by hand, but you need big muscles), add onions, garlic, lemon and tahini, season with s+p.  You should add around 1 to 2 cups of the chickpea cooking liquid here, use more later to make smoother.
Begin to blitz, adding a steady stream of olive oil as you go.  Stop regularly, taste, adjust seasoning, add more lemon, spice, s+p etc, get it just right for you. Remember that the flavours will come together when left in the fridge for a while, getting more intense, also the texture will stiffen so make it a little runnier.  A splash of water or chicpea stock is recommended to lighten your hummus.  You  know how you like it!  I like to be able to taste the lemon and tahini over the spices.

Oatcake anyone?

Serve
On anything!  Warm pitta of course, I normally finish it with another glug of olive oil and a dusting of paprika, maybe some sesame seeds if you’re feeling flash.

We regularly have it as a side with a main dish, it adds great richness and creaminess to anything it touches, especially when added to stews (normally just before serving).

Foodie Fact
The mighty Garbanzo (U.S.), Giggle bean (Germany) and Chick pea (other places) is a super legume. It is incredibly versatile, makes great flour and very good for us. What a natural beaut!
Chick peas are full of fibre, they actually lower our cholesterol and are full of antioxidants.  They are colon friendly having a lot of insoluble fibre. Love your colon!

Categories: gluten-free, Healthy Eating, photography, Recipes, Sauces, Side Dish, Snacks and Inbetweens, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Butter Bean and Celeriac Hummus

I loveto make hummus and pastes.  They are so rewarding in their creaminess and intense flavours.  Hummus is normally full of salt and saturated fat if you buy it at the shops, best homemade.  This hummus is rich, but nice and low in oil.

Just using a blender (I’m quite old-fashioned so this is a relatively new thing) is a real treat.  So quick and clean.  Although we do miss out on the old muscle-building mash-up.

Butter beans (or Lima Beans) are a real gift, when puree’d they are so creamy and have a lovely subtle flavour.  Adding certain beans to stews and soup, can add creaminess, without using dairy.

Jane recently went to Panama and I asked for some beans.  We now have a fine stash of the tasty legumes in the cupboard, some of the varities I’ve never even seen before.  I’m looking forward to some experimenting.

But why call it hummus?  Its one of those things, it’s not technically a hummus, but paste sounds so bland.  Dip doesn’t really do it justice either.  I’m sticking with hummus, it’s a great word and more will follow…

I thought that the light, sweet celeriac and a hint of lemon would make a cracking hummus.  Spread on warm oat bread (see Beetroot Oat Bread recipe) it was a real hit.

I used Halen Mon Celery salt (http://www.halenmon.com/) here and it added to the flavour.  It’s local salt and excellent quality.  I’ll be writing more about it in the future.

This recipe will make a nice big bowl full of whipped up beans.

The Bits

2 cups of cooked butter beans (or two tins, dried beans are always better and cheaper), 1 1/2 cup of cooked celeriac (chopped), 1/4 cup of good olive oil, zest of 1 lemon (chopped), 2 tbs fresh thyme, s+p.

Do It

Soak beans overnight, cover with water (1cm above) and bring to the boil, add two bay leaves then cover and cook for 45 minutes, until tender.  Allow to cool a little.  (It’s good to make hummus and dips when the ingredients are still warm, it helps the flavours blend).  Drain the beans and keep around 1/2 cup of the cooking juice, save the rest for soups or stews.  Bean juice packs loads of flavour (top tip!).

Heat a pan, add some oil and gently fry off the chopped celeriac, until slightly coloured and soft.

Add all to a blender, including the reserved bean juice.  If you don’t have a blender, roll your sleeves up now!  Blend until creamy.  Check the seasoning and lemon levels, the lemon flavour will fade a little with time and the hummus will dry slightly in the fridge, so make it slightly too runny.  However you like it!

Serve

This hummus will add richness to stews and soups and can be used in all the other ways of the hummus.  I normally add a splash of olive oil to get it going again, try not to eat it straight out of the fridge.  Let it warm up a little first, get the flavours going.  Grab a carrot or some warm bread, add to a glorious sandwich.  Relax.  Enjoy.

We Love It

Butter beans are one of our favourites.  Especially when Panamaian.  This hummus is so creamy and should have a nice hint of thyme and lemon.  It’s rich, without gallons of oil and the celeriac makes a great mash and adds its unique flavour to the mix.

Foodie Fact

Butter beans, like all legumes are high in fibre, which helps the digestive system, stabilises blood sugar levels and lowers cholesterol.  They are also a great source of fat-free, quality proteins.

Butter beans contain almost all of your daily ‘Molybdenum’ needs, an enzyme that neutralises sulphites.  With more sulphites being added to our foods (especially deli salads, bagged supermarket salad) more people are becoming sensitive to it.  Eating these beans will help to sort that out.

Panamanian Beans

Categories: gluten-free, Recipes, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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