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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Chana Dal and Split Fava Lazy Hummus

Hummus = Love
Served with its special man'ouché Lebanese bread and local olive oil, it becomes the most sublime mezze you can possibly be served.
The thing about making very good quality hummus is that it can be very time consuming.  Ok ok.. while the chickpeas are soaking overnight, you are (presumably) sleeping.  While they are simmering away in the crockpot, you are going about your day as usual.  Technically, those are the longest parts, but they are not the most bothersome.  The part I dislike the most about making hummus from scratch is the unsheathing of each and every chickpea.  I usually make big batches and freeze portions, so I end up with many many chickpeas (or favas) to peel.  I once spent about 2 hours just peeling chickpeas!  Don't get me wrong.. I'll do it, and I never regret it, but its not quite as indulging as.. say.. kneading dough, or rolling rotis, or filling samosas or dumplings.  It just feels like work you would give to an intern to free up your skilled little fingers for more important tasks.
For those of you who feel the same way as I do, and don't have an interne to keep busy, I've found the miracle solution to the hummus dilemma!
Use split chickpeas!
Chana dal is just that: a sheathed, split chickpea.  Split favas are sheathed (and split as the name implies) fava beans.
I call this a "lazy" version of Hummus-Ful Bi Tahini  only because the cooking time is reduced and the peeling time is no longer part of the deal.
yield about 3 1/2 cups
1/2 cup dried chana dal, soaked
1/2 cup dried split fava beans, soaked
4 cups water (for cooking)
150g excellent tahini (Al Wadi if you want it to be perfect)
Juice from 1 lime
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
3 garlic cloves
Enough cooking water for the hummus to be of desired consistency
some excellent EVOO for drizzling
black sesame seeds for garnish (I chose black to go with the black salt on my eggplant caviar)
1.  Place the soaked chana dal and split favas in a pot with the water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until the chana are tender.  You may want to regularly scoop the foam off the top.  I'm not sure that does anything, but that is the traditional way and that is how the best hummus is made in its mother land.
2.  Remove the cooked chana and favas into a blender and pulse a few times to break them apart.  Add in the lime juice, garlic, salt, cumin, and tahini and blend, adding some of the cooking water to smooth it out if too dry.
How much water should you add?  Well, at this point it is still hot, so you want it to be a little more "wet" than you expect the finished product to be.  As it cools down, it will thicken, and you don't want your hummus to be dry now do you?
3.  Actually, warm hummus is delicious too.
Serve by making a small well in the middle of your serving dish and drizzling a small pool of olive oil into the center.  Sprinkle some sesame seeds all around and contemplate the beauty.
The hummus is on the left, the eggplant caviar on the right.
So does it taste different than the traditional lengthy hummus making business?
Call me crazy, but I found it to be creamier and more addicting than usual!  
I would have to taste them side by side to really give an honest opinion, but this is one of the best outcomes I've produced so far.  
In terms of time vs quality, this version is the ultimate hummus, even if they call you "lazy" after hearing your secret.
Works well with piment d'espelette olive oil as well.
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