Friday, 25 November 2011

Hummus, the staple of the Middle East

A few years ago we lived in London and bought most of our day-to-day food from a small Marks & Spencer around the corner from our house. Hummus was one of the products we bought regularly there. I had never tasted or even heard about it before moving to London and it was love at first taste. It became our small snack to go with a glass of wine before dinner.
When we moved back home, I tried to make hummus myself but it was not the same and I forgot about it.

Fast forward.

Dubai this September, I went to have breakfast in my hotel and to my surprise I found hummus on the breakfast buffet, in fact I found hummus not only at breakfast but also on the lunch and dinner menus.
Hummus is a real staple in the Middle East. Each country has it own take on the product but the basics are the same: soft cooked chick peas, tahini (sesame seed paste), garlic, salt and lemon juice blitzed to a paste, garnished with olive oil and eaten with a piece of flat bread.

My colleague from Syria gave me a few tips:
Cook the chick peas with a pinch of bicarbonate soda to make them really soft and use tahini from Saudi Arabia (the best). My colleague from Lebanon disagrees, the tahini should be from Lebanon...

Here is a short video showing how hummus is made. This is one of the many variation. Try it and be creative yourself.


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