In recent years I have found myself inspired by the unmistakable flavours and spices of the cuisine from North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean. Following a family holiday in Morocco a few years back, I was so impressed with the aromatic flavours and subtle combinations that I was determined to find out more about this enchanting cuisine when we got back home. However, finding a contemporary culinary script was not going to be a straightforward task. More recently I find that we are truly blessed to have a number of amazing authors who provide us with an insight into a culinary and spicy journey along the North African coast of the Mediterranean and beyond into Israel, Lebanon and Turkey.
In particular, I love to dip into one of my favorite books – MORO by Samuel & Samantha (Sam & Sam) Clark (2001), as it shares a style of food I have loved from back in the day when my parents had a home in Andalucia for over 30 years. Classic, simple, balanced dishes, which are culturally true and influenced by the invasion of the Moors’ from North Africa and their 700 year occupation of Spain. MORO is a must for those who love the classic cultural cuisine of Andalucia. Sam and Sam Clark have since released additional books to their MORO series: Casa Moro (2011) and Moro East (2011) and Morito (2014).
I would be a tad surprised if you haven’t already heard of the legend that is Claudia Roden. Her beautiful book Arabesque (2005), a tribute to the culinary histories and contemporary food of Turkey, Lebanon and Morocco, is also one of my favorites. Claudia, born in Egypt, is an established culinary legend; a recognised expert in her field and a multiple Glenfiddich Awards winner. Claudia’s first book “A Book of Middle Eastern Food”, published in 1968 revolutionized Western attitudes toward the cuisines of the Middle East.
Then ………. along came Yotam Ottolenghi.
Born in Jerusalem in 1968, Yotam’s unlikely culinary association and collaboration with Palestinian (Jerusalem) Sami Tamimi rocked the culinary world when “Ottolenghi The Cookbook” was published in 2008. Since then we have been served up with “Plenty”, “Plenty More” and “Jerusalem”. What really floated my culinary boat was Yotam’s great DVD “Mediterranean Feast & Jerusalem on a Plate”. This is where my love for making proper, home made Hummus (Israeli) came from.
It’s maybe not a question of what makes great hummus, rather what does not. A sound piece of advice provided by Yotam is about the positive impact of using good quality Arabic Tahini (Sesame) paste – critical to the outcome of a great dish. Also his hit list of HUMMUS DON’Ts includes: don’t use olive oil (except for drizzling over just before serving), don’t use Greek yoghut and definitely DO NOT use tinned chick peas. For his in depth take on the great hummus debate, just take a few minutes to read the following link from ‘Articles’ on the Ottolenghi website.
So ….. enough of this chat. This is Yotam’s recipe – pure and simple. I felt that including a recipe by the Humm-meister would be a great inclusion to my blog page. I have tweaked the recipe just a tad to put my own twist on it. I have experimented with the method and have come up with something that will work well in your Thermomix TM31 or TM5.
Before you start preparing this recipe, please read COOKING TIP at the bottom of this page.
Serves 6 or split into 3 or more grazing bowls, adding your own individual style to each.
- 250 g dried chickpeas – cooked
- 1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 270 g light tahini paste
- 4 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 cloves of garlic – crushed (according to taste)
- 1 good pinch of ground cumin
- 100 ml ice cold water
1. Place the dried chickpeas into a bowl, cover with cold water and wash thoroughly, drain off the water through a colander or strainer. Place the drained chickpeas into a large bowl, cover with cold water – around twice their volume, add one teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda, cover with cling film and allow to soak overnight in your fridge, preferably for 24 hours.
2. The next day, drain the chickpeas. Place a medium sized saucepan on a medium-high heat and add the drained chickpeas and the remaining bicarbonate of soda. Cook for about three minutes, stirring constantly.
3. Add 1½ litres of fresh cold water and bring to a boil. Cook, regularly skimming off any foam and skins that float to the surface. The chickpeas can cook for anywhere between 20 and 40 minutes, depending on the type and freshness, sometimes even longer. Once done, they should be very tender, breaking up easily when pressed between your thumb and finger, almost but not quite mushy.
4. Using a colander or sieve, thoroughly drain the liquid off the chickpeas. You should now have approximately 600 grams. Pour the drained chickpeas into your TM bowl and process Speed 4 until you get a stiff paste – this will only take a few seconds
5. With your Thermomix still running on Speed 4, add the tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic and 1½ teaspoons of salt. Finally, slowly drizzle in the iced water and allow it to mix until you get a very smooth and creamy paste, about 2 minutes. If you want to make a courser hummus, then mix for only a few seconds until you reach your desired consistency. Scrape down the sides of the TM bowl with a silicone spatula and blend for 5 seconds / Speed 4.
6. Transfer the hummus into a bowl, cover the surface with cling film and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. If not using straight away, cover with cling film and refrigerate until needed.
7. Make sure to take your hummus out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before serving.
N.B. This recipe will produce approximately 1 ltr basic humus.
Thermomixing with Malcy TIP:
a) COOKING TIP: I do NOT cook my chickpeas in the TM bowl, as once they are boiling, the foam, skins and liquid will rise and flood out of the hole in the lid. Steaming your chickpeas in the simmering basket on Varoma setting is an option.
b) Try adding some finely chopped preserved lemon and either sprinkle over the hummus or stir into the hummus before serving.
c) Add a little more cumin if you like just to spice things up a bit more.
d) Drizzle some good quality olive oil over your hummus before serving.
e) You can also sprinkle the end product with paprika or za’tar. Za’atar, used extensively in Middle Eastern cooking is a spice blend containing sumac, thyme, roasted sesame seeds, marjoram,oregano and course sea salt.
f) Tahini (or “sesame paste”) is a prominent food ingredient in Lebanese and Mediterranean cuisines. It represents an integral part of more than twenty different Lebanese dishes consumed worldwide including “Hummus” and “Baba Ghanoush”.