If there is one thing I can’t get enough of, it has to be hummus. The traditional hummus may look all beige and uninteresting, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who fell completely in love with this incredible dip. The taste is simply beyond compare: an exotic blend of chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice and tahini with a comforting smoothness and a warmth of spice. I swear, the first person who ever decided to crush chickpeas and mash it together with sesame paste deserves a statue (if he or she hasn’t already)!
Although hummus is originally an Arab dish, over the past few years this wonderful dip has become a family favourite in many Western households as well and everyone secretly has a pot of hummus stacked away in the fridge to bring comfort in times of distress.
Hummus is hot. And when a certain type of food or dish gets really trendy, variations on the traditional version tend to follow. I personally really enjoy a smoked paprika hummus, or a peanut butter hummus, but the one that I’m truly digging is this wonderful beetroot variation.
I always like a bit of colour in my food and I have to say that this shocking fuchsia version of the classic hummus is by far the prettiest thing I have created so far! Doesn’t it just look so extravagantly girly? The taste on the other hand is far from frivolous – on the contrary- it is a kick-you-in-the-balls, gutsy dip that sure as hell packs a punch! The secret to avoiding a bland hummus is spicing. You can’t just throw some chickpeas and beetroot together and hope for the best. Oh no, you have to put your heart, soul and –more importantly- culinary brain into it! Think garlic (lots of it!), cumin(lots of it!) and plenty of salt and pepper. Then finish it all off with a good splash of sesame oil and a generous squeeze of lemon juice. And there you have it: the best hummus on the planet.
I served some incredible oriental carrot fritters alongside it. The spices and herbs from the fritters work so well with the earthiness of the beetroot hummus, I daresay that if this combo doesn’t make you hmmmm for some hummus, there is definitely something terribly wrong with you.
For the beetroot hummus:
• 200gr can of chickpeas, drained
• 120gr cooked beetroot
• 2 cloves of garlic
• Juice of half a lemon
• 1 tsp sesame oil
• 1 tsp ground cumin
1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with some toasted almond flakes.
For the oriental carrot fritters:
Ingredients (serves one)
• 4 small-medium size carrots
• Handful of chopped coriander
• ½ long red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
• 2 spring onions, finely chopped
• ½ tsp ground coriander seeds
• ½ tsp ground cumin
• ¼ tsp fennel seeds
• 1 egg
2. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
3. Grate the carrots and mix them with all the other dry ingredients. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Add the egg and stir well.
5. Form the carrot mixture into fritters on a prepared baking tray. I prefer to bake them in the oven rather than in a pan with lots of oil because I find they hold their shape better in the oven than when you try to flip them in a pan. (Moreover, when you bake them in the oven you don’t have to use any oil whatsoever, so it is much much healthier this way!)
6. Bake them in the oven for 5-10 minutes and then turn them over and cook for a further 5 minutes.
7. Serve the fritters on some salad leaves with toasted almonds and of course with the all-important beetroot hummus