Recipe and guide
By Andrea Nuzzi
The Middle Eastern chickpea sauce is now very popular in Italy. But many people still have doubts about how to prepare it and what ingredients to use. Here is the recipe and some advice on how to make the best use of it.
The origins of chickpea hummus are very old. It was originally created in Lebanon and spread to neighbouring countries such as Syria and Jordan. It is now a classic of Middle Eastern cuisine in general, and for years it has also become a trend in Italian cuisine. Perfect for spreading on bread and croutons, or accompanying vegetables or falafel, hummus is a great idea for preparing chic and exotic aperitifs!
- 300 g dried chickpeas (or 600 g pre-cooked canned chickpeas)
- 50 g tahina
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 garlic cloves
- Salt to taste
- 50 g extra virgin olive oil
- Sesame and paprika to taste.
Soak the chickpeas for 12 hours in twice their volume (i.e. 600 ml of water). Then drain, rinse well and cook for about 2 hours (until soft). Keep a glass of cooking water, rinse the chickpeas and remove the small skins covering them with your hands. If you are using canned chickpeas, remember to keep some of the water in the jar of chickpeas. Blend the chickpeas in a blender fitted with steel blades and add the tahina, garlic, oil, lemon and salt. The cream should be thick and without lumps; if you want to make it creamier, you can add a little of the cooking water you have set aside. Serve with a drizzle of oil and decorate with sesame seeds, paprika or parsley. Remember that this cream can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days, preferably tightly closed.
How to prepare tahina sauce at home
In case you can’t find tahina sauce in the supermarket, or if you simply have no way of buying it, you can always make it at home. It’s very simple and only requires three ingredients:
- 100 g sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons of sesame oil
- A pinch of salt
Toast the sesame seeds over a low heat in a non-stick pan. Put them in a blender with the oil and salt and blend until smooth. Add a little water if necessary.
How to use hummus in recipes
Hummus is also perfect on a slice of bread, preferably Arabian or pita bread, but it can also become a great ingredient to make your recipes more tasty and exotic. In pasta dishes it can become an excellent condiment for creaming pasta, or it can be spread on sandwiches as an alternative to mayonnaise, or it can become the perfect side dish for your vegetables. Remember that chickpea hummus is not afraid of cooking: it can also be used for savoury pies, pizzas, panzerotti or savoury dumplings. Are you ready to take a trip to the Middle East?