Has there ever been a more middle class title than The Lazy Girl’s Hummus? I suspect not, but I’m too fond of it to change it: besides, I have herbs on the windowsill and am ordering a sofa from IKEA. I couldn’t deny the charges if I tried. I am both middle-class and lazy, and I love hummus with the same unexpected and pleasing passion I feel for yellow roses. I didn’t expect to love yellow roses, or hummus, but I do. Fortunately, both are easily acquirable.
I have a houseful of slightly wilting yellow roses, and all the things necessary for hummus: I am also significantly too lazy to leave the house and think of anything else for supper. So, hummus it is.
For Christmas Tall Man gave me Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem (and Sami Tamimi- people are always ignoring Sami Tamimi- why?), and in it he calls hummus the “most explosive of subjects”: I like to think that both the Israelis and the Palestinians would be equally horrified by the things I’ve done to their national dish/es, but this really is a) very good, b) very easy and c) very quick. This is very loosely based on the hummus from that book, and scattered over with the za’atar I learned to love at school in Dubai, and also sharply lemony, because I am a lemon fiend. It makes me happy. I hope it makes you happy, too.
The Lazy Girl’s Hummus
Serves ~6 with pittas. Quite good for you, if you don’t mind olive oil, and in any case, olive oil makes you have plump soft skin. Which is nice.
Prep time. 30 mins.
|400g chickpeas, canned
Tahini- sesame paste- ~four big tablespoons.
2 big lemons
4 fat garlic cloves
2 tbsp olive oil (maybe more, keep the bottle by you.)
Drain the chickpeas into a bowl; cover with cold clean water. I know, I know. I promised you quick hummus. I did. But this is how to make your canned chickpeas taste a little bit less canned, a little bit less…cat-foody. You need to soak them, and then, when you’ve soaked them soft for maybe fifteen minutes (you can chop the garlic finely while you wait, and squeeze your lemons dry, and grate a little zest, and watch a little Iron Man), you need to drain them, and then sit them in back in the bowl, and bring the whole damn thing over to your lap. In the Tiny Flat we have this concept, born of ultimate laziness, known as a “chable”: it’s a chair table. Of course it is. Set yourself out a chable, with the bowl of chickpeas, and the bowl for the food processor, or blender, and a bin, for the skins. Skins! For good hummus- for really good and still quite lazy hummus, because it can be done from the sofa- you need to pop the little skins from every little round bean. I know. I know. I’m so sorry, but I promise, it’s both worth it, and not really that difficult. I read about skinning chickpeas over at Smitten Kitchen a long time ago, and forgot until I started to make hummus: it’s worth it. It’s actually rather meditative.
Take a chickpea between finger and thumb, and squeeze lightly: the skin, a pleasing little shrug of a thing, will pop off. Like separating lentils from ashes, there is a zennish quality to it. Cinderellabell, if you will: my stepmother, a long time ago, used to call my sister and I her Cindies. That was a long time ago, and everything is different now, but still I think of that and smile, while I’m shelling chickpeas: my wicked stepmother. I have a strange respect for the wicked stepmothers. Like wicked witches, and all wicked women, they are beholden to nobody: wicked women are mannerless and strange, and wicked women live alone, and wicked women sleep all day and read all night. Wicked women and lazy girls have a great deal in common. I would share this hummus with a wicked witch. By the time you have thought all this, the chickpeas will be shelled, and you can tip away the water, and tip the chickpeas into the blender, and blitz them until they are crumbs, fine crumbs. Keep it running; add the tahini, little by little, add the lemon, and the garlic. Keep it running; add a little cold water. Keep it running; add a little oil. Keep it running; add rough salt, and taste. Keep it running. It will seem too thick. Add more cold water. Keep adding cold water. Keep on adding cold water, and tasting, until it seems like the sort of hummus you like. I would have kept blending mine, but the blender started to smoke, so I stopped. When the hummus is done, or the blender threatens to give up the ghost, spoon thickly into a bowl, and cover. Chill for as long as you can bear it. At least half an hour, I think, although Ottolengi suggests fifty minutes. Ottolenghi also wants you to soak the chickpeas from dried, overnight. Ottolenghi is not a lazy girl, or a wicked witch: he is a genius.
Drizzle with olive oil- mine, pleasingly, is garlic-scented- and scatter with za’atar, or dukkah, or simply and easily paprika, or chilli salt. Pittas, toasted, warm. Yellow roses. Lemons. Laziness. Love.
(A Variations On A Lazy Theme: The Laziest Laziest Girl’s Hummus
Two 200g cans chickpeas.
Four big dollops of peanut butter.
Lots of cold water.
Four minced garlic cloves.
Two whole lemons, squeezed.
This is a passable hummus, and you probably have everything you need for it in the house right now, and requires literally no effort from you whatsoever, except chopping the garlic very finely, which you can do in front of Chicken Run (which I love), and squeezing the lemons, which you can also do in front of Chicken Run. Drain the chickpeas; dollop them wholesale into the blender. Blitz. Blitz. Add the peanut butter. I know, right?! Peanut butter. Mad. Nigella does it and all. Nigella! Blitz. Add a splash of cold water. Blitz. Add half the garlic. Blitz. Add half the lemon juice. Blitz. Add half the garlic. Blitz. Add the rest of the lemon juice. Blitz. Add a splash of olive oil. Blitz. Cold water, through the top of the blender, until consistency. Taste. Olive oil. Salt. Black pepper. Za’atar, if you have it. Scoop, with fingers, from the blender, in front of Chicken Run. You just made hummus with peanut butter. You do not need a fork. You do not need bread. You need nothing but your fingers, and satisfaction.)