Monday, March 23, 2009

Experiments in Hummus

I usually make my own hummus as: a) I don't like the taste/texture/calories of tahini and b) hummus without cumin seed is not hummus in my book. Restaurant hummus usually fails on both counts. Besides, hummus is one of those ideal foods that doesn't require one to cook (if you can push the button on a food processor you can make hummus) and it takes all of 2 minutes to go from thought to finished product.

I like to experiment with different types of beans and liquids to get the desired consistency. There's no law that says hummus has to be made with chickpeas (garbanzo beans). Today's batch went like this:

  • One can of cannellini beans--yes, it's better to think ahead and soak your own beans, but sometimes laziness wins. Be sure to rinse well to reduce the sodium content of canned beans.

  • A small clove of garlic--too much garlic tastes good the first day but becomes overpowering if the hummus lasts longer than that.

  • Good spoonful of cumin seeds.

  • Dash of paprika to add a bit of colour and heat. Hot sauce works well too if you have it.

  • A good squirt of lime juice as I felt like lime today. Was probably 2-3 tablespoons worth.

And today's experimental ingredient: 2 big dollops (about 1/2 cup) of low-fat ricotta cheese in place of additional liquid. I figured a good source of calcium and protein couldn't hurt. Everything went into the processor and I pushed the button until it looked smooth and hummus-y.

Note: when you make your own hummus, start with a few tablespoons of some liquid so the beans can process. Don't add too much and let it process for a minute or so. If it really is too dry, the beans won't whirl and you can add about a tablespoon of some liquid to get things moving. If you add too much at first, you'll just end up with watery hummus.

And I was delighted with the results. The ricotta produced a lovely velvet texture and added a creamy taste that went well with the lime. Surprisingly, nothing curdled, which was good. Will definitely be using ricotta again.

Bon appetit!

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