Recently, I watched a great show on tele entitled Make Hummus Not War. It was about how Lebanon is suing Israel for claiming hummus is an Israeli national dish. Lebanon claims that right, as does Palestine and, I am guessing, every other country in the region. I knew about Lebanon’s obsession with hummus but not Israel’s.
I can remember one of my first days in Lebanon at a restaurant in Byblos ( the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, the home of the Phoenician alphabet and the source of the word bible). I ordered hummus, to which the waiter replied, “Of course“. It goes without saying, you will want hummus in Lebanon.
But I didn’t know Israelis are virtually obsessed by it. They have cafes galore that only sell hummus and they are the hip places to go.
In the show, the Lebanese spokesperson showcased all the variations of hummus on offer in Lebanon. That there was such variety didn’t surprise me as much as it may had I not read the Mezze chapter in Salma Hage’s The Lebanese Kitchen. She has recipes for: hummus; hummus with pine nuts; hummus with lamb and pinenuts; hummus with beet; hummus with chili oil; hummus with pumpkin and cilantro; hummus with red bell pepper; and hummus with fava beans.
I decided to make the hummus with red bell pepper (capsicums).
I usually make my hummus with dried chickpeas and make enough at one time for many months. I freeze it in little containers for later use. But, when the freezer is bare and guests are nearly on the door step, an instant dip is called for and a can of chickpeas is the go. This recipe, literally, requires you put the ingredients into a blender, give it a burl, taste it and adjust, if necessary. How quick is that?
- 400g can of chickpeas
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 tbs* tahini
- 2 roasted capsicums, drained (as we are talking speedy, we are talking commercial roasted capsicums that you get in a jar at the supermarket. If you have more time, by all means, roast your own.)
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp salt
- extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
*These are 15 mil tablespoons
- Drain and rinse the chickpeas, reserve the can juices.
- Put the chickpeas, garlic, tahini and the capsicums in your food processor and process for a few minutes.
- Add about ¼ cup of reserved can juices and ½ the lemon juice and ½ the salt. Process until smooth.
- Taste and add more lemon juice and salt if you like.
- Put the hummus into a serving dish. Drizzle generously with olive oil. Decorate with a little roasted capsicum and serve.