Priya Mahadevan creates seven different takes on the globally popular Levantine dish.
By Priya Mahadevan
This is my first article for Honest Cooking and I thought I should come kickstart my contributions with a dish that has visual appeal and can be simple enough to whip up on a busy week day or a great side for any party or entertainment. The method is really easy and if you like to have fun, like I did trying to create a medley of flavors and colors, then this is the dish for you. It is healthy, gluten free and low in calories – in short a no-guilt recipe :)
Growing up, we did not have any Lebanese Restaurants in India and matter of fact, even now, while it’s over-crowded with eateries of all kinds, this is the one cuisine that has little or no representation at all. I find it surprising considering the flavors of Indian food and Lebanese food do have some commonalities. I first tasted hummus when a friend of mine brought it over for a pot luck party at my house. What’s not to love about the dish with garlic and garbanzos!
I then discovered the best Lebanese restaurant in town. While I absolutely love the fresh and incredible salads and their oh-so delicious baklavas, i found that their hummus was too bland and did not have the distinct taste I associated with it when my friend brought it. This was years ago!. Since then, I have been experimenting with this dish on and off and sort of figured out the flavors that work. My pleasure lies in making a dish from any cuisine the best it can taste on my palate, as in approved by the family – While some may argue that it loses its authenticity, I say, that recipes are meant to be experimented with – or where’s the fun in cooking?
For this post I decided to get all the ones I’ve tried before together to create a virtual hummus fest. And for the very first time I even tried a sweet hummus, which was a runaway success.
The common ingredients in all are 1/2 can of garbanzo beans per type washed & strained –
I interchanged between green & dry red chilies & black pepper for spice – 2 red chilies for most that were not already chili based
I interchanged between tsp lemon juice & 1/2 tsp of tamarind paste for the tartness
I used 1-1.5 tbsp of olive oil for each type – 1 tbsp for drizzling and 1/2 tbsp for sauteing the ingredients.
I used 2 tsp of tahini paste in most except the green chilies & garlic and caramelized onions
The rest of the ingredients are as see in the pictures which I think you will find visually appealing :)
1) Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Read the common ingredients above
1 red pepper
1 tsp lemon juice
1tbsp black pepper
roast in oil & grind
2) Roasted Garlic & Olives Hummus
I used olives stuffed with garlic (about 15-20)
3 Red chilies
Saute and grind
3) Caramelized Onion Hummus
1 Red onion cut long
2-4 red chilies
raost until caramelized and grind
4) Jalapenos & Pine Nuts Hummus
2 Fat Jalapenos
2 tbsp pine nuts
Saute & grind
1/2 tsp Tamarind paste
5) Sun-dried Tomato Hummus
6-8 sun-dried tomatoes -soaked in hot water and softened
1/2 tsp of tamarind paste
2 red dry red chilies
saute and grind
6) Green Chilies & Garlic Hummus
4 green Chilies
2 springs of Thyme
2 cloves of garlic
saute and grind
And last but not least, my piece de resistence!
7) Dates & Honey Hummus
6 dates soaked in hot water
4tbsp of honey
No Tamarind or lemon for this one – keeping it strictly sweet
Priya Mahadevan is a writer and food blogger with a background in journalism & communication. Priya's mission with her food blog is to blow the myth that healthy cannot be tasty. She was a political and feature correspondent for a prominent Indian newspaper in the 90s before moving to the US. She lives in Virginia with her husband and 3 beautiful children. You can find her world of vegetarian recipes at http://priyasnowserving.blogspot.com.