Chickpea Goes Chic

It is that unpretentious dip that you make a beeline for especially when you are on a calorie-crunching diet. The not-so-glamorous chickpea paste aka hummus has often appeared on platters with fresh pita; carrot and cucumber slivers; and even falafel, with a rich pine nut, olive oil and chilli drizzle to woo you in more ways than one. Now the protein powerhouse is undergoing a smashing makeover in modish renditions on the plate.

The legume hummus was born over 2,500 years ago in ancient Egypt and has been gaining rapid popularity worldwide, especially oft late in raring combinations. Chef Vikram Khatri of Hello Guppy, Mumbai, recently spun out a bigger protein powerbank by bringing in soyabean hummus, served up with crunchy sesame lavash. A radical spin on the classic.

“The good old chickpea hummus can be glamorised with the use of basil for a herb count, cauliflower for varied texture, avocado for smoothness and nutrient upswing, and many more,” says Shyam Negi, Executive Chef at Drifters Tap Station, Mumbai, adding, “At our microbrewery, we pair up hummus with other ingredients to ramp up the flavour mix with beer.

One of our signature dishes, Bil Lahme Chicken, combines spicy chicken chunks with hummus, and pita bread served on the side. The slight blandness of the hummus coupled with the spice factor of the chicken marries the flavours very well. Also, try tossing in hummus with raw vegetables in a salad. It is a popular preparation with both vegetarians and vegans.” A viable tip is to pound chickpeas using mortar and pestle to bring out the proper texture of hummus (neither too slack nor too stiff) and its flavour, rather than using a grinder to blend the chickpeas. 

Shilpi Madan for Sunday Standard

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