THIS week's recipe is carrying on with the Middle Eastern theme, a classic meze that everyone knows. Hummus or Houmous supposedly originates from Egypt and the main ingredients in it are chickpeas and tahini (a sesame seed paste).
It is popular largely around the world but mainly in the Middle East.
It is an ancient food that can be connected in books to historical ancient figures such as the Saladin. The basic ingredients have been eaten in these regions for a millennia.
Early recipes for thE dish Hummus di Tahini are recorded in a cookery book called The Medieval Cookbook — Kitab Wasf al-Atima — written by Hummus Kasa.
It was published in Cairo in the 13th century — a purée of chickpeas and vinegar, no lemon, and contained many herbs and spices but no nuts or garlic, this probably made the lifespan of the dip last longer.
There was controversy with hummus in 2008 when the Lebanese ministry of economy wanted the dish protected by the geographical status rights.
It is said that hummus is a Lebanese dish and also stated that they were first to export it to the west in 1959.
It was stated that other countries were stealing their dishes along with falafel and tabbouleh and I believe the issue has never been resolved.
Half of the problem is defining what hummus is, its translation of the name means chickpeas. The full name of the modern version is hummus di tahini the two important ingredients that reprise this dish chickpeas and tahini.
The first taste of the modern hummus comes from 18th century Damascus (Syria). There are stories that hummus was forgotten and then reinvented with different ingredients over and over again hence the difficulty in its originality.
Hummus is as old as The Ancient Pyramids of Giza. It is the perfect staple diet for people living in the hot countries, it is filled with every person's nutritional needs — protein, fibre and rich in vitamins and minerals.
It is national hummus day on the third Thursday in May but here is my recipe you can eat it all year round.
6-8 people depending how greedy you are
800g canned chickpeas
3 garlic cloves peeled
4 tbsp tahini (big supermarkets sell it if not Asian ones do)
juice of 2 lemons
2 tsp sea salt
½ a tsp ground cumin
extra virgin olive oil
fresh coriander and pine nuts for garnish
for the pitta bread
7g sachet of dried yeast
1 tsp caster sugar
4 cups plain flour
1 1/3 cup of warm water
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1. Drain the chickpeas, reserving half a cup of the canned juices.
2. Put the chickpeas into a food processor, add the garlic cloves and tahini and then half of the lemon juice and the sea salt, then process until smooth.
3. Taste, add more lemon juice and the reserved canned juice and the cumin.
4. Place the hummus into a dish and then drizzle with the olive oil and garnish with the chopped fresh coriander and pine nuts.
For the pitta bread
1. Place the yeast in the water with the sugar and leave for 10 minutes.
2. Put the flour and salt in a bowl, make a well in the middle, add the yeast mixture and one tbsp oil mix to form a dough.
3. Turn out onto a floured board and knead for 10 minutes.
4. With the rest of the oil, use to oil the bowl and allow to rise for two hours, then knock back the dough cut into 10 small balls. With a rolling pin, roll out into a pitta shape or a round shape. Place onto a board with a sheet of baking paper between them, rest for 30 minutes.
5. Either on a barbecue or a hot smoking griddle pan, place the sheet of pitta bread onto the heat and wait for it to bubble up, about three minutes checking it is not burning underneath and adjust heat if necessary.
You can add more cumin, chilli or more lemon, it is up to your personal taste. Serve with the warm pitta bread.