Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Some of you must be wondering whether there’s a need for one more Hummus recipe to add to the thousands out there, and I guess probably not. That’s not going to stop me from posting this because I love chickpeas and so I really like hummus. As we all know, it’s also a really good guilt-free dish to eat when the craving for something crunchy and savoury hits you.
And just in case you need convincing about how good Hummus can be for you, here's a list
Hummus or houmous is a dip or spread made from cooked, mashed chickpeas blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic. Today, it is popular throughout the world where Middle Eastern cuisine is well known. Incidentally, Hummus in Arabic means chickpeas.
No one where Hummus originated but the earliest known mention of it is in 13th century Egypt. However, people across Israel, Palestine, Egypt, the Arab world, Greece, other Middle Eastern and Mediterranean countries also claim hummus as their dish.
Apparently, in Israel, people are so emotional about Hummus that there have been huge arguments over where one could find the best Hummus.
Yotam Ottolenghi writes in his Jerusalem : A Cookbook that “Jews in particular, and even more specifically Jewish men, never tire of arguments about the absolute, the one and only, the most fantastic hummusia…it is, like the English fish-and-chips shop, a savored local treasure”
One of the nicest things about Hummus is how you can ‘customize’ it to suit your requirement or taste. Once you have the basic ingredients of chickpeas, tahini (this can be left out), salt, lime juice, a little olive oil and garlic you can add anything else you like to it. Typical additions include red chilli flakes (or even chillies – green or red) or paprika to spice it up, roasted and mashed eggplant or roasted red peppers for a smoky flavour and even grated carrots or mashed beets. It may not be authentic or traditional but the sky’s the limit when it comes to experimenting with flavours.
This version of mine does not use tahini so it’s great if you’re allergic to nuts and seeds, but you can always add some if you really want it in your Hummus. Hummus isn't quite Hummus without a good dose of olive oil, but if you’re watching your calories or need to cut down on fat (olive oil is fat, you know….), then you can cut down the oil in this recipe and I can promise you won’t even miss it.
The not so secret ingredient that makes a difference in this Hummus is the use of Pomegranate Molasses (you can make it at home if you have pomegranates and a little sugar). Of course, you can always leave it out.
The red peppers, the Pomegranate Molasses and the caramelized onions give this Hummus a hint of sweetness, so it would be good to up the lime and the spice a bit to balance it out. Feel free to tweak the amounts of the spices and other ingredients to reach the balance you're looking for in terms of balance of taste and flavours.
My Hummus is also a little low on garlic because that's how we like it. Feel free to increase the quantity to your taste.
- I prefer to roast the red pepper over the open flame. Remove the stem and seeds of the peppers and then lightly brush them all over with oil. Place them, one at a time, on the flame (medium) of your gas stove. Keep turning them so that they’re uniformly charred all over. Let them cool, then using your fingers, peel the charred skin off. You can also roast them in the oven or under the grill, if you prefer.
- Heat the olive oil in a small pan and sauté chopped onion over medium heat until it is soft and golden brown. Let it cool.
- Put the roasted red pepper, the sautéed onion and any oil that’s in the pan, the chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, crushed cumin, chilli flakes and salt in the jar of your blender and run till smooth. Add a couple of teaspoons of water, if necessary, while blending.
- Transfer to a serving dish and add a tablespoon of olive oil to garnish. Further garnish with finely chopped parsley, some chilli flakes and crushed cumin. Serve as a dip with vegetable crudités, thin toast, crackers or flatbreads, and as a spread in sandwiches.