Thursday, September 27, 2007

Hummus with Cilantro Pesto

Here is a lovely version of hummus with a little cilantro pesto and roasted cumin seeds for an Indian touch! Serve with the traditional pita triangles, toasted bread, or crisp vegetables including Romaine Lettuce hearts.


Cooked Chick Peas, Lemon, Tahini, Garlic, Cumin, Cayenne & Salt


1 cup dry Chick peas (garbanzo beans)
4 or 5 cloves of fresh Garlic
1 large Lemon, or to taste
1 tsp Cumin seeds
1/8 tsp ground Dry Red Chili (Cayenne) or to taste
1 tsp Salt
1/4 cup Tahini (Sesame Butter)
Chopped fresh Cilantro, for garnish
Extra virgin olive oil, Paprika or Cayenne for sprinkling on top (optional)


Sort the chick peas to remove discolored peas or other organic matter such as little rocks. Rinse the chick peas well and soak in plenty of water to cover overnight or at least 5 or 6 hours. If you are in a hurry, pour boiling water over the chick peas and let them soak for 2 hours. Drain the soaked chick peas by either method and cook in water to cover (about four cups) with a pinch of salt until they are very soft; this might take at least an hour or a little more. A pressure cooker greatly shortens the time of cooking as well as conserving fuel. Let cool.

Peel garlic and trim off the stem ends. Toast the cumin seeds in a dry skillet until fragrant. Transfer immediately to a saucer to cool. Cumin seeds may be used without toasting as well. Finely grind the cumin seeds using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder. Grinding the cumin can be omitted if you are using a blender for making the hummus; the seeds don't get pulverized enough in a food processor. Squeeze the Lemon and discard the seeds and rinds.

You may have to make the hummus in small batches depending on the blender/food processor. Place the garlic, cumin, salt and tahini into the food processor container fitted with the metal blade or a blender container. Transfer the cool chick peas with a slotted spoon to the blender/processor container; set aside the cooking liquid to use as needed during processing. Add the lemon juice and process to a smooth puree scraping down the sides occasionally. Add the cooking liquid from the chick peas or cold water as needed to moisten the hummus to desired consistency and process until smooth.

Combine the batches of hummus and adjust salt and lemon to your taste. Do not be concerned if the hummus is a bit runny; it thickens upon standing. Chill until ready to serve.

Place the hummus in a serving dish (if it is too thick, thin to desired consistency with a little of the cooking liquid or cold water). Swirl a spoonful or two of the cilantro pesto into the hummus for a marbled effect. If desired, drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle a little paprika or cayenne and chopped cilantro.

Serve at room temperature with fresh warm pita bread, naan or chapati triangles, tortilla chips or your favorite raw vegetables including Romaine lettuce hearts.

Serves 6 to 8

Variations: Roasted vegetables such as carrots or red bell pepper are good processed along with the chick peas. Adjust the amount of chick peas used depending on the amount of roasted veggies. Also adjust the seasoning to your taste. The traditional pesto with basil could be substituted for the cilantro pesto.


Anonymous said...

The pictures are as great as the taste of the foods presented here. I have tasted all of these recipes and they are great...Use me anytime to check out the recipes before you post them.

Just a few uggestions: How about starting a 'Kitchen Joke Corner' where you can post some jokes about food. Laughter is the best medicine, you know...

How about posting some information about some beneficial/medicinal effects of some of the vegetables, spices etc. People might find that interesting. Perhaps a 'Did you know?' corner.

Invite people to send you anecdotes about healing experiences from different kinds of food e.g some teas may have a beneficial effect on an upset
stomach etc.

Where did some of these Indian recipes come from? Were they considered balanced with enough 'protein'?. This is a big concern with vegetarians. Are they documented in any of the ancient Indian scriptures? Have the ancient sages of India recommended certain cuisines for specific benefits? Do you or any of your readers have any specific experiences?

Geetha said...

Hi Great Pumpkin: Thank you for your comments. I'd be honored to have you taste test all the recipes :). Welcome anytime! You have great ideas - I'd love to have all those; so do send me some experiences and comments you have. I am sure everyone will want to see them. I'll look forward to comments from everyone :)