This Levantine dip is very simple to make. Hummus can be found at almost any Middle East table. In these days the popularity of this simple meal extends beyond its region of origin and it is enjoyed all over the world. During my study stay in Israel, I was surprised, how much of this spread the locals are able to consume. The recipe below is traditional but you can also experiment with different flavours and different spices. Spices such as cumin, coriander seeds, sweet pepper, dried chilli or zaatar (this spice mixture is frequently used in Israeli and Palestinian cuisine) could be used. You may also stumble upon hummus mixed with red pepper, dried tomatoes, and even beetroot. You can flavour it according to your taste and also according to the desired therapeutic effect.
Basic hummus recipe:
2 x 400g cans of chickpeas (reserve a few chickpeas for garnish)
4 tablespoons of tahini paste
2 garlic cloves
extra virgin olive oil (roughly 6-7 tablespoons)
lemon juice (approx. 3 tablespoons)
dried red pepper, coriander or parsley leaves for garnish (optional)
Put the chickpeas into the food processor or into the bowl if using the hand blender. Add the tahini, crushed garlic, salt, lemon juice, olive oil and blend until smooth. Transfer the mixture into the serving bowl and decorate it with a few whole chickpeas and a few drops of olive oil. Sprinkle with red pepper powder and chopped coriander or parsley.
From the TCM point of view:
The chickpea is balanced, slightly warm in nature and sweet in taste. It benefits the spleen, stomach and heart. It contains a large amount of iron and unsaturated fatty acids and it is also much better digestible than other legumes. In most cases, it does not cause any flatulence.
Tahini paste is made from sesame seeds. Sesame has a balanced nature and a sweet taste. It has the ability to form fluids and blood, strengthens the kidneys, liver and moisturizes the intestines. It is generally tonic. Removes blockages caused by wind and therefore it is used to treat rheumatism, constipation, and dry cough. Sesam is very useful in any yin weakness. It increases the production of breast milk and can be used, for example, in chronically ill or old cachexic patients. Sesame is also suitable for people suffering from anorexia or anaemia. Sesame seeds contain a large amount of calcium, which is absorbed better when consumed as tahini paste. However, the tahini paste itself can be difficult to digest, so it is better to combine it with other ingredients. People suffering from chronic diarrhoea should consume sesame with caution.
Hummus is a very balanced and toning-like meal. It can, therefore, be consumed in all seasons. If we want to adapt it to cold winter months, we can do so by adding warm spices such as cumin, by adding fried onions, parsley and the like. In the summer it is good to consume hummus with a salad of cold vegetables such as radish, lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes etc.
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