If I’m cooking Middle-Eastern inspired food I obviously had to include a hummus recipe, but choosing one was a tough call. I prefer dips when they are served individually as I’m not a big fan of the big bowl of dip in the middle of the table whilst having a few pre-dinner drinks. I find dipping straight into the bowl with your strip of flatbread (or crudités if you’re out at your healthy friend’s house) messy and confusing. Once you bite off the dipped end what do you do with the rest? Dip again? Eat it dry? If you’re expected to spoon some out onto your own plate from the main bowl then why not serve them as individual portions in the first place?
Anyway, I settled the Hummus Kawarma with a lemon sauce from Yotam’s “Jerusalem” cookbook. This recipe made the cut because not only does it give you a fantastic basic hummus recipe but it elevates it even further with the additional topping of spiced lamb and an unusual, zingy lemon sauce. It’s more of a lemon water than a sauce to be truthful though!
I find this makes a great starter, served in individual small bowls, obviously, with a toasted or griddled flatbread on the side. However its even better eaten socially whilst standing around the kitchen island with a glass of wine in hand, still in individual bowls though.
The original recipe that follows is taken directly from Yotam Ottolenghi’s “Jerusalem” Cookbook, but I made the following changes to the ingredients…
*I used Tahini paste rather than Light tahini paste, because I couldn’t source it here.
**I used 6 tbsp of lemon juice, as opposed to 4, in the hummus as I thought it needed a bit more zing.
***I couldn’t get neck fillet of lamb so I used lamb steaks and trimmed off all the fat.
250g Dried Chickpeas
1 tablespoon Baking Soda
1.5 litres water
*270g Light Tahini Paste
**4 tablespoons freshly squeezed Lemon Juice (approx 2 lemons)
4 cloves of Garlic, crushed
100ml Ice-cold Water
1½ teaspoons of Salt
10g Flat-leaf Parsley
1 Green Chile, finely chopped
4 tablespoons freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
2 tablespoons White Wine Vinegar
2 cloves of Garlic, crushed
¼ teaspoon Salt
***300g Neck Fillet, finely chopped by hand
¼ teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
¼ teaspoon freshly ground White Pepper
1 teaspoon ground Allspice
½ teaspoon ground Cinnamon
good pinch of grated Nutmeg
1 teaspoon crushed, dried za’atar or oregano leaves
1 tablespoon White Wine Vinegar
1 tablespoon Mint, chopped
1 tablespoon Flat-leaf Parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon Salt
1 tablespoon unsalted Butter or Ghee
1 teaspoon Olive Oil
Chopped flat-leafed parsley
2 tablespoons Pine Nuts, toasted
Make the Hummus:
The night before, put the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover them with cold water at least twice their volume. Leave to soak overnight.
The next day, drain the chickpeas. [Keep 4 tablespoons to the side for garnish later]. Place a medium saucepan over high heat and add the drained chickpeas and baking soda. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the water and bring to a boil. Cook, skimming off any foam and any skins that last to the surface. The chickpeas will need to cook between 20 and 40 minutes, depending on the type and freshness, sometimes even longer. Once done, they should be very tender, breaking up easily when pressed between your thumb and finger, almost but not quite mushy.
Drain the chickpeas. You should have roughly 600g now. Place the chickpeas in a food processor and process until you get a stiff paste. Then, with the machine still running, add the tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic, and 1½ teaspoons of salt. Finally, slowly drizzle in the iced water and allow it to mix for about 5 minutes, until you get a very smooth and creamy paste.
Transfer the hummus to a bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap, and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. if not using straightaway, refrigerate until needed. Make sure to take it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before serving.
Prep the Kawarma:
Place all the ingredients apart from the butter or ghee and the oil in a medium bowl. Mix well, cover, and allow the mixture to marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Make the Lemon Sauce:
Place all the ingredients for the lemon sauce in a small bowl and stir well.
Cook the Kawarma:
Heat the butter or ghee and the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the meat in two or three batches and stir as you fry each batch for 2 minutes. The meat should be light pink in the middle.
Divide the hummus among 6 individual shallow bowls, leaving a slight hollow in the centre of each. Spoon the warm Kawarma into the hollows and scatter with the reserved chickpeas. Drizzle generously with the lemon sauce and garnish with some parsley and the pine nuts.
This recipe has been taken from “Jerusalem”, by Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi
Jerusalem Cookbook: https://ottolenghi.co.uk/books/jerusalem-shop
Ottolenghi Website: https://ottolenghi.co.uk
Ottolenghi Store: https://ottolenghi.co.uk/shop-online