(above: inaugural trip to Israel: leg 1 of the hummus story)
Call me sacrilegious ; I’ve put heavy cream in this hummus. It’s an affront to vegans who blindly trust this garbanzo staple as animal-free protein. It’s an offense to the many cultures who claim hummus as their own; to the history of the dip itself. But… I had heavy cream in my fridge, and I’ve been thinking a lot about food and story, and the things that make us shake things up at the kitchen table. So hear me out.
Hummus is a dish of dubious origin. A google search yields anything from Lebanese to Greek, and the earliest mention of hummus heralds from Egypt. Hummus is beloved around the world, including in modern-day Israel, where it joins falafel as a controversial borrowed (and “national”) dish of the country’s Arab inhabitants. Fun fact: hummus just means “chickpea” in Arabic).
(ever present at an Israeli meal: ft. Katya in Israel)
Like all dishes of dubious origin, hummus is a shape-shifter. In Lebanon it’s a side-dish. In Israel it takes front and center, eaten with raw onions like they’re a spoon. In Turkey there’s rumored to be the addition of butter. In New York’s trendy SoHo neighborhood you can get hummus on your Chobani yogurt.
I’m not the only one playing here. And despite the fact that this recent hummus-venture was inspired by a cook-from-your-cookbooks New Years resolution, I decided to take some liberties with the written word. The original calls for dried chickpeas boiled with baking soda, but for the sake of time, Goya it is.
Quick-cooking lentils replace fava under the same guise (time! resources!) and Meyer Lemons add a sweet burst.
And the cream? I’ve got half a carton in my fridge from last week’s cooking adventure; blintzes, a New York comfort food that hints more at places missed than the Middle East. Every dish has its context, and on the night I made hummus mine was steeped in the hunger of a long day, a small blender, and the leftovers from a search for Slavic solace below the Mason Dixon line.
So find your own story. Search your fridge and your imagination and revel in the way that it changes a recipe. Replace the lentils, replace the chickpeas, cut the cream or go Turkish and heap some butter in the mix. Find your right conclusion.
(hummus ala hbo)
Hummus with Fake “Ful”
Adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi
“Ful” is the translation for “fava” and “hummus and ful” refers to hummus topped with a sort-of fava stew. This is basically nothing like real ful, but its an easy nod to the concept of legumes topped with legumes; filling and delicious!
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 cloves of garlic, smashed
3/4 C tahini
1/4 C lemon juice
1/4 C heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
1 C lentils
1 1/4 C water
5 cloves of garlic, smashed
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/3 C lemon juice
salt and pepper
- Combine all hummus ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Adding more cream if it gets too chunky, or more tahini if the cream is overpowering. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Cook lentils in 1 1/4 C of water or stock, bringing to a boil and then simmering on low heat. When the lentils are soft, rinse them under cold water and drain.
- Toast smashed garlic for ful in a cast-iron or non-stick pan, over low heat. Add cooked lentils, lemon juice and spices (a sprinkle of saffron is another great addition, if you happen to have it lying around). Keep on the heat for 5-7 minutes. Remove and re-plate, so the garlic doesn’t burn.
- Assemble your hummus and “ful.” First – hummus on the plate, topped with your lentil “ful.” Keep it going from here; you can add anything from greens, to roasted vegetables, to a simple drizzle of olive oil and some more salt and pepper.