29 May 2017
6 min read
I love my carbs and am always up for exploring new ways of enjoying them. And that was how, a few years ago, I stumbled upon hummus. My friend had ordered it for lunch, and when I joined her, I dug into the dish with my all-time favourite naan and simply loved the combo. A few studies I conducted made me understand hummus' nutritional goodness and how easy it was to make. Continuing with the goodness of legumes from the previous issue's article, I would like to talk about this super-healthful spread--hummus. And to help me out on this is nutritionist and fitness enthusiast Maya Thapa, whose homemade peanut butter and hummus have been very popular amongst her gym buddies and clients.
A staple of the Middle Eastern cuisine but enjoyed by foodies around the world, hummus is a dip or a spread concocted out of cooked chickpeas (kabuli/yellow chana), tahini (sesame paste), lemon juice, garlic and olive oil. It is not something that most of us in Nepal are familiar with, but considering our love for chana, I don't see a reason why we should not be making more of this.
Hummus for the Nepali kitchen
Although kabuli chana is the preferred and popular core ingredient used to make hummus, we decided to 'Nepali-fy' the recipe and made our hummus instead with ghode chana. In addition to the ease of preparing it (it is not at all time-consuming), Thapa states that its nutritional content and subsequent benefits will make hummus a favourite part of your meals. According to her, these are some of the nutritional benefits that you can get from hummus:
- It is rich in protein (about 17.1g/100g), phosphorus, calcium, iron and fibre.
- Its high-fibre content improves your blood-sugar level and lowers cholesterol and also lowers the chances of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart diseases.
- Because it is rich in protein and fibre, it is a healthy snack for people trying to lose weight.
Yellow vs brown chickpeas
"Most of my homemade hummus orders are made of yellow chickpeas. It is essentially up to the client regarding what they want to use, but you should take note of certain things while preparing hummus from ghode chana, since it will be different from the typical hummus dip you get at a restaurant," says Thapa. "Compared to brown chickpeas, hummus made of yellow chickpeas is creamier, and is visually more appealing as well. Even if you play with a variety of ingredients, the chickpea dip will come out beautifully as chickpeas have a very subtle taste and will blend well with the added flavours. Brown chickpeas, on the other hand, are the exact opposite of what yellow chickpeas represent--it has a stronger and nuttier taste to it that overpowers the flavours of other ingredients, and due to its dark colour, the typical hummus colour does not really pop out too. For example, if you want to make a roasted-tomato hummus, it would be wiser to use the regular yellow chickpeas, as opposed to the brown ones, to make it more appealing and appetising."
This is Thapa's renowned homemade Spicy Brown Hummus recipe.
Spicy Brown Hummus
- 2 cups cooked brown chickpeas (ghode chana)
- 1 1/2 cups chickpeas water (add more if you like it runny)
- 2 tablespoon (tbsp) white sesame powder (since tahini is unavailable here)
- 1 medium fresh chilli
- 1 teaspoon (tsp) chilli flakes
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1⁄2 tbsp cumin powder
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp olive oil
1⁄2 tsp salt
- Blend all the ingredients except the chickpeas in a food processor or a blender.
- Add the chickpeas and blend again. Add more water if the mixture is not processing properly.
- Add in more salt, chilli flakes and lemon juice according to your preference.
- Serve in a bowl, and drizzle with olive oil and chilli flakes.
- Add plain unsweetened yoghurt (3 tbsp) if you want your hummus to be creamier.
- Do not discard the water that you boiled the chickpeas in (you can use it for the hummus).
- Excite your palate by experimenting with different ingredients. Thapa recommends adding veggies to the hummus.
Hummus is best paired with
- The easiest way to include hummus into your diet would be to have it as a dip for carrot and cucumber sticks, plain crackers and/or plain chapattis.
- Spread it on your sandwich instead of high-calorie mayo or ketchup spread.
- Use it as a salad dressing!
This is Thapa's go-to healthy dressing. Dilute the hummus with some water and/or olive oil until you get the consistency of a regular salad dressing. Squeeze half a lemon and add salt to taste. Mix well with your greens and dig in!
(Thapa donates some of the proceeds from her product sales to the KAT Centre. If you want to order some hummus from her, you can contact Maya D Thapa through her Facebook profile)