Sunday, May 07, 2006

Yet More Khumes

I Insist that the universe needs yet another khumes recipe. Two details of this recipe are learned from my friend Gil, who decorticates every chickpea (Or gets his children to do so) and uses brine from hot Hungarian cherry peppers instead of the traditional lemon juice. I throw one of the cherry peppers in as well.

I relieved the cooked chickpeas of their coverings by scooping up a handful in my right hand, and then pinching each one gently between the thumb and forefinger of my left hand, catching the decorticated pea in the fingertips of my right hand and moving it to the done pile, and dropping the seed coat from my left hand into the peel pile. You will understand that I am unable to provide a photo. You can skip this step and still have some wonderful khumes; I usually do. I just had to try it once, that’s all. Oh, whom am I kidding? I’m gonna decorticate the little blighters every time from now on. It’s a slippery slope, folks.

Yet More Khumes

¾ cup dried chickpeas
salt, about two teaspoons
5 cloves garlic (more or less)
½ - ¾ cup tahini
½ - ¾ cup brine from a jar of pickled Hungarian cherry peppers or other hot peppers (Traditional recipes call for lemon juice)
1 pickled hot Hungarian cherry pepper, stemmed and seeded
Several tablespoons of your loveliest olive oil
A dusting of sumac, and a dusting of paprika or Middle Eastern red pepper

Place the chickpeas in a pan of cold water and bring to the boil. Allow to boil for two minutes. Drain the chickpeas and discard the water. Pour fresh cold water over the chickpeas and set them to soak in the refrigerator overnight or up to twenty-four hours. If you need to leave the chickpeas soaking more than 12 hours, give them a fresh change of water. When ready to cook, drain the chickpeas and discard the water. The alert reader will note that we have now discarded two or three batches of water. Place the soaked chickpeas in a slow-cooker or saucepan with three cups of fresh water. Set them up to simmer for two to five hours—chickpea-cooking times vary widely.

When the chickpeas are very tender remove them from heat. Drain the chickpeas but this time reserve the liquid. You will have about two cups of cooked chickpeas. If desired, decorticate each chickpea.

Drop the peeled garlic cloves into a processor or other device and grind or mince fine. Add salt, pepper brine, a stemmed and seeded pepper, and the tahini. Blend everything well. Last of all add the chickpeas and their cooking liquid. If you have decorticated the chickpeas, you might not need all the liquid. Blend to the desired consistency, bearing in mind that the khumes will thicken further as it rests.

Turn the khumes out onto a shallow plate or platter. Use the back of a spoon to swirl eddies and ridges in the center and drizzle olive oil over all. Dust with sumac or paprika or both.

Head to Weekend Herb Blogging for more delights and curiosities of the garden.

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21 Comments:

Anonymous lindy said...

I will say not one word with respect to decortication. A person who insists on peeling almonds rather than purchasing blanched almonds, and then preparing them,salted, in a time consuming manner suggested by Elizabeth David (whose Eygptian cook did it for her) is in no position to make fun.

I was wondering, however, whether you are opposed to adding a pinch of baking soda to chick peas to help them soften up? I have done this and thought the result not too shabby. Certainly the cooking time was down by several hours.

What do you think? I suspect there is probably some reason why this is an appalling thing to do.

10:06 PM  
Blogger the chocolate lady said...

Lindy, you are welcome to make fun of me any old time, and I hope very much to read more about your time-consuming almond-salting technique.

I had not previously known about the baking soda practice. Paula Wolfert tells us (Grains and Greens, 95)that Julie Sahni told her that you may not under any circumstances add baking soda or salt to the water when cooking the tiny little chickpeas, which perhaps implies consent as far as the regular-sized ones. That was the first I heard of it. So, I guess I have to reluctantly admit, pending further research, not having a strong opinion either way.

No; that's my official answer.
OK, here's the real skinny: I share your suspicion that "there is probably some reason why this is an appalling thing to do." What is the MATTER with me?

12:09 AM  
Anonymous countrymouse said...

what about pressure cookers for chickpeas? is this appalling as well (beyond the PTSD trigger for people who have been involved in pressure cooker explosion incidents)?

9:01 AM  
Anonymous lindy said...

Hmm. Re almond technique-I'm pretty sure I posted about this ritual some time ago-I will look for the link.

12:50 PM  
Anonymous lindy said...

P.S. As to the almonds: http://www.lindystoast.com/2005/07/
armada_cocktail.html

4:07 PM  
Blogger Kalyn said...

I have learned several new words, not to mention heard some strong opinions on the proper way to cook chickpeas. I can only imagine the pressure to be this authentic in making a recipe. Laudable though.

8:20 PM  
Blogger the chocolate lady said...

Countrymouse, I know lots of people who swear by pressure cookers, but not having learned how to use one yet, I am every day less likely to try. I think the black box cooking just wouldn't satisfy me; I always want to peek, stir, sniff, listen to the sizzling.

Lindy, Found your lovely almond post, thanks--I had searched you site for almonds, but I must have overlooked them the first time through. I like that triple-orange almond cake too--perfect for passover.

Kalyn, Well, I'm less interested in authenticity than in something else but I'm not sure I have a name for what that something else might be--the Platonic Hummus/khumes?

8:37 PM  
Anonymous paz said...

What a lovely presentation!

Paz

7:57 PM  
Blogger ramya said...

Hi, saw your post in Kalyn's post.
Very informative post.May I know which brand of chickpeas do you use frozen dried or fresh dried.?

7:28 AM  
Anonymous sher said...

Oh my gosh--this is so similar to what I've been doing for a month--peeling favas. So, I will have to do this with chickpeas. It will drive me crazy if I don't do it at least once.

1:16 PM  
Blogger the chocolate lady said...

Paz, Thanks!

Ramya,
I used dry chickpeas.

Sher,
"It will drive me crazy if I don't do it at least once."
I know JUST what you mean! Sorry I missed you in Davis--I'll have to come again!

6:37 PM  
Blogger Debbie said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:51 AM  
Blogger Debbie said...

I have admired your blog a couple of times when I landed here by chance. You can never have too much hummus, except at Pesach. But I've burned holes in the bottom of too many chickpea pots because I was off somewhere reading. So now I use my microwave, and it works pretty well.

Presoak the chickpeas 30 min or until they swell up, nuke 10 min in water to cover by an inch or so (pyrex mixing bowl or a 2.5-qt microwave container with a lid), then let the bowl sit covered half an hour in the microwave. Nuke and hot soak them again, then test to see if you really need to go a third round. You can freeze them and reheat to tenderize a really tough batch.

But yes, with my knack it is still entirely possible to burn through the bottom of the bowl in a microwave. A couple years ago I set the timer for 5 minutes--so I thought--and it added a zero that I didn't notice. I came down 30 minutes later...you don't even want to know. So double check before walking off.

2:16 AM  
Blogger the chocolate lady said...

Thanks for dropping by, antiwrinkle cheesecake. I use a crock-pot or slow cooker for chickpeas and other beans. Good results so far.

10:35 PM  
Anonymous Bambi said...

For all who wondered - there probably is something terrible about baking soda, such as the chances for ulcers etc. but nonetheless it is widely used by nearly every self-respecting Palestinian hummus place in Israel, so authentic it is. BTW - if you buy the really small, organic ones that are available in NYC (the most common are Arrowmills) there is no need or baking soda - they become very soft within 2-3 hours every time.

11:33 AM  
Blogger Ido said...

A blog in Yiddish ...THATS GREAT! (and it’s a great blog as well :-)
I am ever so thankful for your comment on the "hummus blog" for introducing me to you.

Lindy - I came across various restaurateurs in Israel that use baking soda and the results have been very satisfactory. Just don’t tell anyone you used it :-)

Anyhow here is – yet another – hummus recipe.
http://divinetastes.blogspot.com/2007/07/every-country-has-some-sort-of.html

5:18 AM  
Anonymous Ore said...

Nice recipe - "Khumes" - I've never seen it spelled like that.

2:10 PM  
Anonymous Waleed said...

There is a trick, that will keep you from decorticating your chickpeas. Put them in the food processor first, and start the procssor. Let it go for a minute, then add the lemon juice in like you would oil for a mayonaise. Doing it this way you'll get a creamy hummus. Then add your tahini, and olive oil if using in a steady stream as well.

I buy cooked chicpeas from a local chickpeas stand. They have huge pots with chickpeas cooking all day. I asked them, they don't use baking soday. The answer was this: I soak them for hours, and let them cook for about 10 hours, so I don't need to use soda.

I like the point about using smaller chickpeas which cook quicker, and softer. Thank you.

5:45 PM  
Blogger Linda said...

About 20 yrs ago I learned from Israelis how to make awesome hummus which always got rave reviews..and the chickpeas were CANNED!! Imagine my delight when I finally got my non-decorticating-type self to use dried, soaked, cooked ones! I (in India now) got my cook to soak & pressure cook them for me. (Just had a PC disaster 2 wks ago with an explosion of grains all over my kitchen, so it's her job.) But the hummus is needless to say, better than ever. Any suggestions on making your own tahini? My cook said she would if we didn't find it at the store but I panicked as it's one of God's greatest gifts, not to be mucked with!

12:25 AM  
Blogger irenew said...

I love the sound of your recipe and am going to try making it tomorrow! When you say Decorticating, do you mean removing the skins? I have started doing this and find my Irritable Bowel Syndrome no longer plays up when I eat Hummus.
I believet the Baking Soda is to remove the wind producing properties in the Chick peas, but I've also heard it can remove nutrients from them.

4:10 AM  
Blogger onesmartcookie said...

Thank you for your recipe. I have taken over the duty of making Khumes in our household. I can't wait to try your recipe with the brine of the hot cherry peppers. I will also start to slow cook them.

Alan, in San Francisco

8:31 PM  

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