When I can, I love to make food from scratch in the kitchen. I really enjoy tweaking recipes and experimenting with flavourings. Last time I tried to make hummus (or houmous) however, it just didn’t taste nice, no matter how much lemon I added. An old jar of past-its-best tahini was to blame and I didn’t bother try again for a while. Fresh hummus is a regular feature at the deli where I work, and so, also wanting to make lots of the recipes from Rachel Khoo’s Sweet and Savoury Pates, I decided to give it a go again.
First up, the tahini. This is a paste made from sesame seeds, and the basic recipe can be applied to make any nut or seed butter (see my almond butter recipe here). The amount of oil required will vary depending on the type of seed used, the condition of the seeds bought and the efficiency of your food processor. A tahini wants to be runnier in comparison to a nut butter; it should be just pourable. Once you have a rough idea of how much oil is required, you can make as much as little as required.
To sterilise jars and containers, wash in soapy water before drying and placing in a 120’C oven for fifteen minutes.
Ingredients (to make 300g)
- 280g sesame seeds.
- 4-5 tbsp sunflower or olive oil.
- Pinch of sea salt (optional, or to taste).
OPTIONAL: Preheat the oven to 180’C/gas mark 4 and spread the sesame seeds on a baking tray. Toast for ten minutes, before allowing to cool slightly.
In the food processor, blitz the seeds into a fine powder, adding a couple of tablespoons of oil and the salt. Continue to blend, frequently stopping to scrap the sides down, until a smooth paste forms. Add the rest of the oil as needed. The blending process can take anything between 10 and 20 minutes, so be patient! When you are happy with the consistency, decant into a jar or airtight container, and store in the fridge. In the Middle East, sesame seed paste is also used in making pastries as well as hummus. It also can be made into a dressing for salads and vegetable dishes.
- 200g tinned chickpeas.
- 1/2 garlic clove, peeled and crushed.
- Squeeze of lemon juice.
- 2-4 tbsp olive oil, organic and virgin if possible.
- 1 tsp tahini.
- 1 tsp ground cumin.
- Sea salt.
- Cracked black pepper.
Add 1-2 tablespoons of a pesto, or sundered tomato paste. Reduce the olive oil content as needed.
The above photos show a lemon and coriander variant, and a sundries tomato pesto hummus. It is really easy to adjust the recipe based on what extra ingredients that you have to hand.