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Hummus: A humble journey of a chickpea

While the origin of hummus may be debatable, there is no doubt that the subtle flavoured serves as a favourite and versatile dip.

more lifestyle Updated: May 11, 2019 13:05 IST
Anjali Shetty
Anjali Shetty
Hindustan Times
Hummus,Middle East food,Lebanese food
A humble journey of a chickpea.(Unsplash)

World Hummus Day is celebrated on May 13 every year. The celebration began as a fun experiment seven years ago, as a way to enjoy the versatile and flavourful dip all day. While the debate of its origin is still now, there are number of different theories behind the origin of hummus and it is believed to be originated from Middle East and some theories state Egypt

Tasty, healthy and can be paired with just about anything is how Mehdi Nirooman, owner Shisha Cafe describes hummus. Arindam Bhattacharya, executive chef, Le Meridien Mahabaleshwar Resort and Spa shares, “This has always been a controversial question as there are many countries that claim it as their own - the Greeks, Arabs and even Israeli’s. But it’s safe to say that it originated somewhere in Middle East or Egypt as chickpeas grew in abundance in that region.:

Popularity across the globe

The term hummus comes from the Arabic name of chickpeas and its popularity has risen over centuries. Gautham Samel, head chef, The Sassy Spoon feels it is its subtle savoury flavour which can be had along with any kind of carb that makes it a versatile dip.

Chefs suggest that the fact that it can be enjoyed in a variety of ways makes it very popular. It can be consumed as a dip with chips or veggies, as a spread in sandwiches and even as a salad dressing. It particularly a great dish/ snack for vegans as they can use dairy based spreads such as mayo or cheese.

Praduman Bisht, executive chef, Marriott Suites Pune shares, “It’s popular all around the world because of its easy use, which is very similar to that of other available spreads and dips that were familiar to the western culture. What gives it an edge over its counterparts is its health benefits and actively fresh and unique flavour.”

Packed with protein and best enjoyed with pita bread and barbecued meats, this Middle Eastern staple of hummus with tahina can be a meal in itself.

Prashant Chaudhri, owner, Fable, says, “Apart from the fact that hummus is an accompaniment, its low levels of saturated fats and high levels of fibre and protein makes a healthy and good option for people who are conscious about what they are eating.”

Monaz Irani, co-founder and chef, Plate & Pint, says, “Hummus has a rich and creamy flavour along with being a healthy dish which makes it ideal to be paired with other vegetables and meats for a thoroughly satisfying meal.”

Health benefits of hummus

Chickpeas are known as a rich source of protein and fibre. It’s a great source of plant based protein for vegans and vegetarians. Apart from that its also rich in iron, zinc and phosphorus. It helps fight inflammations and promotes good digestive health as well. Sabyasachi Gorai, chef, Mineority by Saby points outs, that hummus promotes digestive health, helps control blood sugar levels and also weight loss.

Kunal Jagwani, owner, Cafe Arabia lists benefits such as super nutrition, gut healer and high in fibre. Nikhil Ganacharya, chef, Le Cafe, says, “Its nutrition value is high as it is known as one of the best source for protein and it is also high in fibre with a low glycemic index which helps to control blood sugar.”

Hummus in daily cooking

As a dip, side dish or as toppings on numerous dishes, such as toast, burgers or even grills, hummus goes well with it all. Gorai adds that it’s a good substitute for mayonnaise and sour cream. It can also be used as salad dressing.

Niroomand adds, “Hummus is very much a part of our culture at Shisha Cafe, however we eat it almost everyday as an accompaniment to our main meals in the day and at snack time too. We don’t usually use it in cooking/cooked food dishes but rather use it as a side dish to our dishes.”

Ganacharya adds that one can also use it like a spread instead of mayonnaise and mustard or pair it with vegetables for a healthy meal. “You can get creative and make fish hummus or stick to original and have it with your falafel.”

* Hummus in daily cooking

Sandwich spread

Use it instead of mayonnaise to spice up your sandwich or roll. It combines well with sliced meat and veggies too

Pasta salad dressing

Toss it in bowl of pasta or salad and enjoy a subtle flavour of hummus with veggies and pasta.

Meat

Drop a dollop of hummus on grilled/barbecued/ fried chicken and enjoy a warm bite of goodness.

By Chef Deepu, The Barkhana wakad

* Recipes

Simple hummus recipe

Ingredients: 1 cup chickpeas, 1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste), 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 4 cloves garlic, salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, 1 tablespoon ground cumin or paprika, juice of 1 lemon, chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish

Method: Soak the chickpeas overnight in cold water. Cook them till soft. Put everything except the parsley in a food processor and begin to process; and make a fine paste. Taste and adjust the seasoning Serve, drizzled with the olive oil and sprinkled with a bit more cumin or paprika and some parsley.

By Mineority by Saby - Chef Sabyasachi Gorai

* Hummus variations

Traditionally, made with chick peas but can be made with avocado, baba ghanoush which is made from eggplant, black bean hummus and cilantro hummus. It can be made with a lot of other variants too like Garbanzo beans, Eggplant, Beetroot and even Rajma. Today flavours and variations in hummus are very normal and although there are more than 50 variations used worldwide some of the more common ones are Sun Dried Tomato, Beetroot, Red Pepper, Basil Pesto, Harissa Jalapeno and Olive Tapenade.

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First Published: May 11, 2019 13:04 IST