The real beauty of hummus as far as I’m concerned (apart from its taste of course), is that it’s just so quick to throw together. Even if you’re going the no-tahini-from-a-jar route. A can of chickpeas, some sesame seeds, garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice. Blend. Eat. Lick. Do as you do. This basic recipe as good though as it is, is also very versatile: roasted tomatoes, beets, carrots, and one that I came across recently – chocolate! I’m not sure I’d want to try that, but it just goes to show how the humble hummus is the perfect vehicle to carry so many distinct flavour combinations.
Roasted pumpkin is my favourite way to eat pumpkin. Slow roasting really brings out its mild sweetness and the bold hit of harissa counters that perfectly in this recipe. Harissa I’ve talked about before: the fiery North-African paste the main ingredients of which are garlic, roasted chilli peppers, spices, and herbs. Calling it punchy would be an understatement.
I like to use dried chickpeas in my hummus, not just because of the inferior quality of the tinned stuff you find here in Chennai (also, chock full of preservatives), but because the dried beans give it a better, almost slightly nuttier flavour. Agreed that you’d have to soak them overnight and cook them after, but It’s a compromise I’m willing to make.
Quick tip here: if you have a pressure cooker, that’s ideal to cook the chickpeas in. If not, use a teaspoon of bi-carb (per 500 g of dried chickpeas) to the soaking water. The rationale behind this method I am unable to fathom, but it’s a time-honoured trick for getting them to cook faster. It really works.
With so few ingredients, it’s imperative to get the flavours right; under-seasoned hummus is vile. Make sure to add the ingredients gradually until the spiciness of the harissa and the acidity from the lemon juice work for your palate. Taste, taste, taste as you go along. I like to top it with toasted pumpkin and sesame seeds, fresh mint or parsley, a sprinkle of paprika, and finish with a good glug of extra virgin olive oil. Not only does this add to the flavour and texture, but it also makes you look very competent. Small victories.