In my recent trip to Jordan, no meal was complete without Hummus. A derivative of Levantine cuisine, hummus is present throughout the Middle East in various forms. Hummus occupies place of pride in any mezze platter. I'm quite convinced that at the end of my 6 day trip to Jordan, I had a fair bit of hummus coursing through my veins. Made from cooked chickpeas, it is 100% vegetarian and mostly even vegan and gluten free, thereby a friend of anyone on a restrictive diet.
Rich with the taste of tahini, the tanginess from lemons and the flavour of garlic, hummus in Jordan was a silky smooth paste served with piles of fresh-out-of-the-oven Khobz bread. Of course, I had to do my own twist on the hummus and since I had piles of pumpkins waiting for me from my kitchen garden, I put them to good use.
If you prepare pumpkin hummus, you'll realise it is delicious and a little different from the regular one. If your kids love hummus, which most kids do, it's a sneaky way to include some more veggies in their diet. So, WIN WIN!
If you don't have pumpkin or couldn't be bothered to sneak in a veggie into the hummus, then by all means avoid it, and reduce the salt by a pinch. It will taste every bit as amazing!
- How to prepare chickpeas for hummus: Soak 3/4 cup dried chickpeas overnight in plenty of water. Drain, add fresh water to cover chickpeas and pressure cook for 2 whistles and on sim (lowest flame setting) for 8 minutes. Open cooker when cool, drain chickpeas and use for hummus. This can be done in advance and kept refrigerated in airtight container. Reserve the cooking liquid to thin down hummus if required.
- To prepare pumpkin for pumpkin hummus, peel 300-400 gram of yellow pumpkin. Dice into large cubes and either pressure cook for 2 whistles with 1/2 cup water or dice into smaller cubes and boil in a little water until soft. Keep aside.
- In a food processor or mixer jar, blend the garlic, salt, lemon juice, tahini, cooked pumpkin cubes, half the olive oil, until you get a puree. Add the cooked, drained chickpeas (reserve a few for garnish), and blend for 2-3 minutes stopping 2-3 times to give it a stir. It should turn into a very smooth puree. If the consistency is not very smooth, add some of the cooking liquid or water and blend some more.
- Remove into a bowl. Sprinkle parsley, paprika and sumac to make the bowl look pretty. Smoothen out the hummus, making a well in the centre. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over this, and garnish with a few cooked chickpeas.
- Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.
This hummus is mildly sweet because of the pumpkin puree. You can either avoid it or add 2-3 slices of jalapeno or green chillies to add a bit of heat to combat the sweetness. Adding pumpkin to hummus not only gives it a unique flavour, a lovely colour but also adds to its health quotient.
How to use hummus?
- You can use hummus as a dip to go with veggies like carrot and cucumber cut into sticks or with pita bread, either toasted or as it is.
- Hummus also makes a healthy sandwich spread.
- Spread some hummus inside a tortilla or paratha. Top with cooked or raw vegetables and roll into a wrap.
- A thinned down version of hummus can be used as a salad dressing.
*Hummus without Tahini
A lot of times, people don't make hummus at home because they don't have tahini. Tahini is nothing but white sesame seeds ground to a paste until it gives out sesame oil. You can either leave out the tahini or first blend 2.5 tbsp of toasted white sesame seeds with 1 tsp olive oil until you get a smooth paste and then proceed to blend in the rest of the ingredients.