Tuck In: Hummus
It’s been a long time coming, but hummus has finally reached Poland. In fact, there’s a bit of a hummus craze going on at the moment, in case you haven’t noticed. Hummus-centric cafes have popped up across the country, and even Polish Radio reports that sales of store-bought hummus skyrocketed by 40 per cent in Poland in the first seven months of 2012.
In Krakow, we’ve got our own hummus experts producing kilos of the stuff at Hummus Amamamusi (facebook.com/hummus.amamamusi), not to mention the mouth-watering hummus bagels over at Bagelmama in Kazimierz.
But the best thing about hummus, apart from its incredibly addictive flavour of course, is just how easy it is to make at home. The only challenge is finding a good tub of tahini, but even that can usually be found at most health and world food shops in Krakow.
Many recipes recommend soaking dried chickpeas overnight, but then again many recipes also claim that pinching the skins off of your chickpeas will get a better flavour (no thanks). Somehow I tend not to plan my hummus cravings 24 hours in advance, so a combination of ravenous hunger and general laziness has me using canned chickpeas every time. And it’s delicious.
1 can of chickpeas
2–3 tablespoons tahini
big pinch of salt
1 garlic clove, minced
juice of 1 lemon
1–2 tablespoons liquid from chickpeas
sweet paprika powder
good quality olive oil
bunch of parsley, chopped
pita / bread
Open the can of chickpeas and drain, reserving some of the liquid from the can. Using your trusty immersion blender, blend together the chickpeas, a couple of tablespoons of tahini, salt, garlic, and most of the lemon juice. Add some of the chickpea liquid as you go to reach your desired consistency. Add more tahini or salt if you think it needs it.
To serve, spread out the hummus on a large, flat bowl using a tablespoon. Pour a good glug of olive oil around the edges and squeeze the remainder of the lemon juice on top. Sprinkle on the sweet paprika and parsley.
Pita is the bread of choice for hummus, but unless you enjoy the type of dense discs they stuff multi-coloured cabbage and mystery meat into at Krakow’s kebab stands, you might want to get creative with this part. There’s no shame in digging into hummus with a torn baguette or even a fresh roll.
This is usually the stage where most of the hummus is already halfway down my gullet, but occasionally I take a minute to throw on a topping and really turn the hummus into a meal. Olives are a popular choice and, if you have the patience, buy pitted olives and deseed them yourself – it’s really worth it (unlike the skins of the chickpeas… probably). Get creative – fry up some mushrooms or ground beef, and spice it up with cumin, chilli powder, cinnamon, cilantro, and mint. Easy peasy.