Sunday, March 11, 2007

Hummus and Pita Chips

My office is very close to a Moby Dick's, a local kabob chain, which serves some pretty fabulous hummus. As my luck would have it, the Washington Post did a feature on the local chain with a quick hummus recipe. While the recipe called for canned chickpeas, we decided to take the long road, and try our hand at soaking the beans ourselves, using the printed recipe as a guide. I must say, using dried beans does make a difference in taste, and is well worth the time to soak and cook. Many cooks use baking soda in their soak water to quicken the soaking time, but according to this site, adding baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) to your soak breaks down B vitamins like thiamin in the final product. These are important things to consider, especially if you are vegetarian. The resulting hummus was so flavorful, and a good amount thicker than the hummus from Moby Dick's. I suspect more olive oil, and using some of the bean cooking water would have helped thin it out, but the hummus was so tasty, we opted to just stick with our thick hummus creation. Instead of plain pitas for dipping, we toasted up some simple garlic pita chips. They are so cheap, tasty, and easy to make, I can't justify spending money on the packaged pita chips.


1 lb dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons tahini
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup olive oil
kalamata olive and paprika (optional garnish)

Pick over chickpeas to remove any shriveled or broken ones as well as foreign matter such as dried soil or pebbles, then rinse and drain.
Place chickpeas in a large bowl, and cover with water, enough so that the beans are about 3 inches below the water surface.
Soak chickpeas overnight. Drain and replace water halfway through soak.
Drain chickpeas and place in a large pot. Fill pot with water enough so that the beans are at least 5 inches below the water surface.
Bring the pot to a boil and let boil for a few minutes.
Lower heat and let the beans simmer for about an hour and a half (or until they are soft, and fully hydrated).
With a food processor or immersion blender, pulse the garlic until it is coarsely chopped.
Drain the chickpeas. Add the chickpeas, tahini, salt and lemon juice and process until smooth. With the motor running, add the olive oil in a steady stream until well combined. Add more salt to taste, if desired.
To serve, transfer to a bowl and top with a sprinkle of paprika and the olive, if desired.

Makes a little more than 4 cups of very thick hummus.

Pita Chips

3 large thin pitas (largest, thinnest you can find)
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Mix olive oil, garlic powder and salt in a small bowl.
Brush the olive oil mixture on both sides of a pita. Cut pita into wedges or whatever shape you want your chips to be.
Lay them on an ungreased baking sheet.
Bake in oven for about 4 minutes, turn the chips over, and return to the oven for 4 more minutes or until toasted and crunchy, but not burned. (Thinner pitas may take less, thicker pitas may take more)
Repeat with the brushing, cutting, baking with the other 2 pitas.

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