Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic Hummus


A 23,520 pounds plate of hummus was made in Beirut in 2010 and it holds the Guinness world record for the biggest plate of hummus to ever exist.

I should have been there. Along with Sid. And I assure we would have completely taken on ourselves to polish that humongous plate off.

That's how much we L-O-V-E Hummus.
We LOVE it...
And we LOVE it....



Whipping a batch of Hummus at home is no big deal. But truth be told, whenever I am in Costco, I find myself garbing a tub of Red Bell Peppers Hummus or Roasted Garlic Hummus or both. We totally dig Sabra Hummus. Convenience triumphs!

But even with my sworn loyalty to Sabra, nothing tastes like a creamy batch of homemade hummus. My guests and Sid can vouch for that. But if you are still not convinced, let me tell you,  convenience comes at a price. Homemade hummus is WaaaaaY cheaper than a store-bought tub. Plus, it's preservative free. But what ticks me is the smell wafting from the kitchen. The smell of red peppers and garlic, slowly roasting in the hot oven. Oh my.... Sigh...

Actually this should be the very reason, you should whisk up a batch as soon as you are done reading this post.

And yes.... I am totally combining my two favorite store bought flavors - Roasted Red Pepper and Roasted Garlic. Just wait till you taste this smoky, sweet, garlicky, creamy goodness.....




The texture of  homemade hummus is slightly grainy. It has a slight bite to it and I absolutely adore that. But I have always wondered why it isn't  satiny smooth like the store bought ones.

And then a handsome owner of a Middle Eastern eatery in our neighborhood, taught me a neat trick. To 'shell' the cooked chickpeas before processing.

The fact is, the outer skins (or the membrane) of chickpeas cannot really be broken down, no matter how strong the processor motor is. Peeling every single chickpea is time consuming and tedious.
        Binge watching Netflix helps.
      Pressure cooking the chickpeas till they are super tender also helps. The outer cover comes of very easily.

You don't have to do it. Doesn't alter the taste just the texture. But this extra step it is so worth the effort. The resultant hummus is gloriously smooth, silky and has that 'whipped' consistency.






Cucumber, carrots, grape/ cherry tomatoes, bell pepper strips, radish, crackers, Pita bread, Pita chips, crusty breads, mini baguettes.... the option for dunking in the hummus goes on.

In our house Hummus is just not restricted to after school snacks or a party appetizer. We have slathered on burger buns instead of mayo. Made Pita Sandwiches with falafel and cucumbers for light dinner. And our favorite lunchbox item - the Hummus and Cheese Quesadillas. Or Hummus Sandwich.

So how do you like your hummus - with crudities, chips, bread or the good ol' spoon??? Do let me know.

PS: This post is not an advertisement for Sabra brand of Hummus. I have not received any compensation for my affinity towards the brand. 

Some of my other Favorite Dip recipes:

Recipe Snapshot: Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic Hummus

Serves: 8-10 serving
(1 serving = 1/4 cup)

What I used:
Chickpeas/ Garbanzo Beans (dry) - 1.5 cups
or 
Canned Chickpea/ Garbanzo Bean - 2 (14.5 oz) cans.

Red Bell Peppers - 2
or Jarred Roasted Red Peppers - 1 jar

Garlic Cloves - 6 (or more or less depending on your taste. We love garlic. The more the merrier) 

Lemon Juice - Juice of half a lemon, about 1 tablespoon

Tahini - 2 tablespoons, well stirred

Smoked Paprika - 1/2 tsp

Cayenne or Red Chili Powder - 1/4 tsp

Canola or Olive Oil - just a drizzle to roast the peppers and the garlic

Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 1+1 tablespoon

Salt to taste

What I did:
1. For making a smooth and silky hummus, I prefer using dry chickpeas/garbanzo, soaking them overnight and then pressure cooking them for 20 minutes till very tender. Reserve at least half a cup of the cooking water. It is starchy and can be used in place of oil to act as an emulsifier. 
Canned chickpea/garbanzo can definitely be used. Just drain then and give a good rinse. 

2. A wonderful tip that I got from a local Mediterranean restaurant for silky smooth hummus was to peel the outer membrane of each chickpea. It seems daunting task, but really get done in less than 10 minutes and you can seek help of your kids too. The step is optional though. Keeping the membrane on, does not alter the taste just give a grainy texture.  

3. I prefer to roast my own red pepper and garlic. But jarred ones are fine too. I have done both and there is not much of a difference, except the fact, how wonderful your kitchen smells when you roast your veggies. To roast peppers and garlic: preheat the oven at 450 F. Half the red peppers and remove all seeds and membranes. Lay them cut side down on a aluminium foil lined cookie sheet. Also toss in the skin-on garlic cloves. Drizzle a little canola or olive oil. Roast for 30 minutes or till the peppers are soft and the skin charred. Once the peppers are soft, put them in a zip lock or cover the roasting tray with foil. This will help the peppers steam and skinning them will be easier.

4. Its just a matter of dumping everything in the food processor from now on.

5. Remove the charred skin of the peppers and garlic, once they are cool enough to handle. Give them a rough chop and place them in the bowl of the food processor.

6. Add the cooked (or canned) chickpeas/garbanzo beans, with or without membranes, tahini, lemon juice, smoked paprika, red chili powder or cayenne and olive oil.

7. Process for about 2 minutes, stopping and scrapping down the bowl, every 30 to 45 seconds. If the hummus is too thick, with the food processor turned on, slowly add 1 to 3 spoons of cooked chickpea water until the consistency is perfect.

8. Scrape the hummus in a serving bowl and make a shallow well in the middle. Add a tablespoon of Extra virgin olive oil and a few dashes of smoked paprika. If you want to be fancy, you can reserve a little roasted pepper and garlic. Chop them finely and add to the hummus. 

10. Enjoy on crackers or crudities. Or slather on a tortilla or a toast. Or just eat it will a spoon. It can stay under refrigeration for up to a week, but I challenge you to keep it that long.


Diabetic Platter:
Hummus is high in iron and vitamin C and also has significant amounts of folate and vitamin B6. The chickpeas make it a good source of protein and dietary fiber; the tahini consists mostly of sesame seeds, which are an excellent source of the amino acid methionine, complementing the proteins in the chickpeas. Depending on the recipe, hummus carries varying amounts of monounsaturated fat. Hummus is useful in vegetarian and vegan diets; like other combinations of grains and pulses, it serves as a complete protein when eaten with bread. 

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