Sunday 20 March 2011

A dip solution!

                        A pool of hummus                  photolibrary
This has been a very busy week for me, as I am about to launch my Supper Club (Watch this space! More details will follow this week, after this post). I looked into my kitchen cupboard to try and get some inspiration and found these dried chickpeas I bought a while ago. As I still have some frozen whey left from the labneh I made last week, I decided to follow up the Middle Eastern theme. I am making hummus today. 

This is actually a homage to Rose, who is an old and dear family friend. She asked me recently if I had a good hummus recipe. She often makes it, but it doesn’t turn out quite like the ones she used to eat when she was young. I remember as a child going around to her house to have cooking play dates with her daughter Ryvane. We both had this small little toy oven that used to bake, for real, mini-cakes. That was to me the quintessence of a cooking device.

I also have another friend, Roy, who is a hummus lover, and he finds it quite tricky to get the right consistency, texture and flavour when making hummus at home. 

I hope this recipe works for Rose, for Roy and for you.

The ingredients for the hummus
The ingredients for the spicy pitta chips
My hummus served with olive oil, paprika, sumac and chickpeas
Hummus tahini- the nourishing method

Serves 6 ( as a starter) 

Hummus is the type of dip that is always handy to have in your fridge. You can eat it with some vegetable crudités, use it as spread on your bread/toast, serve it in a mezze or simply lick it from your finger. It is packed with protein and dietary fibre. This method of cooking the chickpeas is a bit time consuming but is worth it! It is a very easy recipe, though. The result: a very smooth hummus.

Chickpeas (and beans, other legumes and grains), contain a substance called phytic acid, which binds with minerals preventing your body to fully absorb them in the intestinal tract, inhibiting digestion. The traditional methods of cooking these foods are either soaking, sprouting or fermenting them, as these processes "pre-digest" them (neutralizing phytates and enzyme inhibitors) so all their nutrients are better absorbed by the body. Adding whey to the water when soaking chickpeas helps to neutralize these inhibitors. Whey also has the benefit of providing friendly bacteria, which help to start the pre-digestion process for you.


200g dried chickpeas or 400g organic pre-cooked cans of chickpeas
2 Tablespoons whey liquid (or juice of a lemon) - or  3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda + 1/2 tsp
120-150g tahini paste (or to your taste)
Juice of a big lemon (or to your taste)
1 clove of garlic (or more, if you like very garlicky food)
2 ice cubes (optional)
Extra virgin olive oil
Paprika (optional)
Sumac (optional) this is a purple-red spice powder, made from the berries of a bush that grows wild in the mediterranean area, which is widely used in Lebanese cuisine. You can find them in major Lebanese shops or in here
Fine sea salt to taste


Soak the chickpeas with water and whey for at least 8 hours up to 24hrs (keep it in a warmish room temperature). Cover them. Drain and rinse.

Place the chickpeas in a saucepan and cover with double volume of water. Add 1/2 tsp pf bicarbonate of soda. Bring to a boil and skim. Simmer on a low heat for about 50 minutes to 1 hour or until they’re so soft that you can mash them easily. Add more water when necessary. Towards the last 5 minutes add a pinch of salt. Drain but retain the liquid. Peel off the skins as this will make your hummus creamier.

Put the chickpeas in a food processor; add the tahini, lemon juice, garlic and salt. Add the ice cubes as it will help to make the hummus creamier. Blitz it until very smooth. Add the liquid and blitz again (if using the canned ones, warm them with its liquid first then put it in the food processor and carry on with the process). The mixture should be almost runny but with a good consistency. Taste, and season if you like.

Spread the hummus in a plate making a circle in the centre and drizzle the olive oil. Sprinkle some paprika or sumac. Serve with warm pitta chips (see below)

Spicy Pitta chips


4 pitta breads
2 tbsp Olive oil
½ tsp Cayenne pepper
¼ cumin powder

Preheat oven to 180°C.
Cut the bread in halves (in a horizontal way). Mix olive oil with spices brush it on the bread. Cut it in triangles and bake it for 10 mins.

The main ingredients and their functional properties

Chickpeas or garbanzo (Cicer arietinum): it is the most nutritious of all the legumes. It is very good for your pancreas, stomach and heart. It is high in protein, fat and carbohydrate. Contains very good levels of iron (more than other legumes), calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc and B vitamins, and especially folic acid (B9). Sprouted chickpea contains vitamin C and enzymes.

Tahini/sesame seed (Sesamum indicum): lubricates the intestine, heart, stomach, pancreas, liver and lungs. Helps to relieve cough, tinnitus, low backache and headache. It is a good aid for mothers who have insufficient breast milk. It is high in iron, magnesium, calcium, vit B1 and vit E. The most nutritious type of sesame seeds is the un-hulled one! Caution: avoid it if you are having diarrhoea or loose stools.

Till Next week! 


  1. What amazing surprise, dear Margot! It's an honour having a homage from you, publically in this marvelous blog! Besides that, receiving this recipe that have a special meaning for me. Thank you, sweet heart! You're very kind...(of course, as your parents teached, as I know). A very big hug!!!

  2. Dear Rose, It's my real pleasure! Thank you for always saying lovely things to me and for you support. I hope you can now succeed with your homemade hummus again. As I said, it is a bit more time consuming (just for the lenght of it) but it gives a lovely result. All my love!

  3. Margot, sou sua conterrânea e amiga da Rose. Adorei seu site, sua receita, e vou passar a incrementar minha pasta de grão de bico com suas sugestões! Fiquei muito feliz que tenha homenageado Rose, uma pessoa realmente sensacional! Parabéns pela escolha de Londres, cidade que eu ADORO, para morar! Beijinhossssssssssss...

  4. Querida Georgina, seja bem vinda! Muito obrigada pelo carinho. A Rose eh uma pessoa muito querida na nossa familia, ela merece muito mais! Tambem amo Londres, mas sinto muita falta de estar num lugar mais quentinho:) Estar em contato com as pessoas da terra, como voce, alivia um pouco as saudades. Bjs

  5. Não sei porque todo mundo que mora em Londres se queixa do frio! kkkkkkkkkkk...
    Acredito que seja bem desagradável, mas posso te garantir que, quando a passeio, nós nem sentimos. Já peguei 19° abaixo de zero em New York, e estava bela e fagueira! Que bom que o verão já vai chegar para você, não é? Quando eu for a Londres ire iprocurá-la! Beijosssssssss...


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