Is it still hummus if it’s got no garlic, no lemon juice and no sesame seeds in it? Or is it just a chickpea dip? Does it matter when it tastes as good as this does?
Today, I cooked up an enormous amount of chickpeas and built up quite a craving for hummus and veggies – only to discover the calamitous absence of fresh garlic in my kitchen. What’s one to do? Improvise, of course! And what an improvisation this turned out to be – a sweet and sour and hot hummus with Indian spices that I’m definitely making again.
Now, one drawback of improvised recipes is that you don’t know how good they are until you’ve finished making them, so sometimes you can’t be as definite about quantities as you’d like to be. So do feel free to fiddle around with the quantities a bit to get just the right taste for you.
Here’s a trick that I think helps my hummus get all smooth and creamy – I soak dried chickpeas overnight, rinse and pressure cook them in a moderate quantity of water until they’re very soft, almost falling apart. And I turn them into hummus while they’re still warm, using the cooking liquid as well. If using chickpeas I cooked earlier, I warm them before processing into hummus.
You will need:
- Chickpeas, cooked – 400 gms (Keep the cooking liquid as well.)
- Seedless dates, chopped – 1 tbsp
- Tamarind – 2″ piece or 1 tbsp paste
- Coriander seeds – 1 tsp
- Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
- Hot red chilli pepper – to taste (I used 3/4 of a mundu chilli.)
- Salt – to taste
Soak the chopped dates in hot water for at least half an hour. If you’re using tamarind pieces, soak these in a separate bowl. Dry roast coriander seeds and cumin seeds in a tiny hot skillet or frying pan, adding the red chilli pepper right at the end. You want the spices to get just a shade or two darker, and aromatic.
Add the chopped dates, soaking liquid and all, to your mixing contraption. I use the wet grinder jar of mine. Mash the tamarind pieces a tad and pour them through a strainer. You might want to rub the the bits against the strainer to get all the pulp out. Pour this in as well. Add chickpeas, salt and toasted spices. Process until smooth, adding water as needed.
I didn’t have rock salt on hand, but I bet it would make this dip taste even more like a chutney! Next, time, I’m substituting half of the regular salt for some rock salt.