Tag Archives: Tahini

Hand Mashed Hummus

Hand Mashed Hummus

  • Servings: 1-2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Hand Mashed Hummus








This is such a delightful and fun recipe, I am surprised that I didn’t discover it sooner.

It is getting very hot where I am so I prefer simple, light dinners. For instance, some hummus and crackers (with some red wine, of course!) and I am done.

For this recipe to work, the chickpeas have to be meltingly soft. In other words, while this way of preparing hummus is quick and easy, I think it will only work if you soak and boil the chickpeas. Canned chickpeas tend to be a bit firmer so I don’t think they will be malleable enough to be hand mashed. I could be wrong and if you have made hand mashed hummus using canned chickpeas please do share your experience in the comments section below.

I have read some food bloggers discuss the merits of peeling chickpeas when making hummus. Personally, the skin doesn’t bother me so I didn’t peel them. Also, I feel that if you remove the skin, you are losing some valuable nutrition along the way. But if you prefer, feel free to remove the skin. If the chickpeas are cooked till very soft, the skin will come off easily.

fresh, chunky, homemade hummus for the summer soul

You can enjoy this with some pita bread or crackers or on toast or with crudités. Will stay good in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days.


1/2 Cup uncooked chickpeas

2-3 Tablespoons tahini

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 Head of garlic

Juice of 1 lime or lemon

Salt to taste

Paprika (optional)


  1. Soak the chickpeas for 4 to 8 hours.
  2. Boil them in plenty of salted water. You can also boil them in a pressure cooker if you like, five pressures on high and you are done. The end result should be wax-like soft chickpeas.
  3. Drain the chickpeas reserving about 1 cup of the cooking liquor.
  4. Peel and crush the garlic.
  5. Juice the lime or lemon.
  6. Once the chickpeas are cool enough to handle, mash them with your hand OR the back of a large spoon OR potato masher.
  7. Throw in the grated garlic, juice of lime or lemon, olive oil, tahini and a bit of salt to taste (not much since the chickpeas have been boiled in salted water).
  8. Add about 1/4 cup of the cooking liquor.
  9. Mix well and check for consistency. Add some more cooking liquor if needed.
  10. Transfer to a serving bowl, sprinkle some paprika if you like and chill for a couple of hours before serving or you can even enjoy it while it is still a bit warm.


Avocado & Chickpea Spread

Avocado & Chickpea Spread

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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Avocado & Chickpea Spread








a union of of guacamole and hummus

This is a really easy, quick and delicious recipe which can be used as a sandwich filler, in a wrap, on crackers or toast.

Bread is an occasional indulgence for me. For last night’s dinner, I had spread this on some crusty roll which I also filled with shredded iceberg and sliced onion doused in Tabasco Chipotle. Heavenly!

The chickpea were soaked and boiled but use canned if available for an instant, wholesome spread.


1 Medium, ripe, avocado

1/2 Cup boiled chickpea

1 Head of garlic

Juice of half a lime or lemon

1 Tablespoon tahini

Salt to taste


  1. Coarsely mash the chickpea with the back of a large spoon. Don’t worry if all of them don’t break down, you can leave a few whole for texture.
  2. Peel and grate the garlic.
  3. In a bowl, add the mashed chickpea, grated garlic, juice of lime or lemon and tahini. Mix well.
  4. Now wash and peel the avocado.
  5. Finely cut the avocado and add it to the chickpea mixture.
  6. Break the chopped avocado with the back of the spoon while combining it with chickpea and other ingredients. Once again, if a few pieces remain whole, not a big deal.
  7. Add salt to taste.
  8. Have immediately or if you plan to eat it later, keep refrigerated.


  1. I have posted a recipe for homemade tahini here.

Couscous with Aubergine Stew

Couscous with Aubergine Stew









Don’t you just find it frustrating when you start your day early (like 5.00 in my case this morning) and you are through with your morning ritual and at your desk by 6.00 am thinking smugly to yourself, “oh look at me, I am so good, I am going to start my work day early today” only to find that there is some problem with the internet connection. I know, I know – I should learn to live without the internet, the internet is not the be all and end all, that I should go get a life. But internet is critical for my work and so whenever it goes down, specially first thing in the morning when I get to my desk as happened today, I find it freakin’ frustrating!

Fortunately, there is nothing frustrating about cooking couscous. Each time I cook this easygoing grain, I wonder why I don’t do so more frequetly. It is hassle free in that you can prep it in a matter of minutes even after the sauce or the stew accompanying it is made.

if couscous was a musician and not a grain, it would probably warble I’m easy

Ass Kicking Chillies for Couscous with Aubergine stewFor today’s couscous recipe, I made an aubergine stew with peppers and onions enveloped in my totally kooky sauce. Having never cooked with tahini before (only used it for dressing or in hummus), I wanted to experiment with it during the actual cooking process. Match that with my recently discovered love for tomato ketchup and some hot chillies and you get one creamy yet fiery sauce which totally works with the meek and mild couscous. Toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds provide the lovely – and much desired – nutty and crunchy texture to finish off the dish.

There are plenty of different varieties of aubergine out there. I used the long and slim purple ones. As for the chillies, my greengrocer has got some red chillies which he sold to me a couple of days back. They look harmless (I am told that the big, fat ones are usually mild compared to the skinny ones which are supposed to be wild) but these beauties know how to kick ass!

If you don’t have couscous, you can try the stew with plain rice.


1 Cup dry couscous

150 Grams aubergine

1 Green Pepper

2-3 Hot chillies (adjust quantity according to personal preference)

1 Tomato

2 Onions

1 Tablespoon tahini

1 Tablespoon tomato ketchup

A generous pinch of smoked paprika (optional)

1 Teaspoon sumac* (optional)

8-10 pitted black olives

1 Tablespoon mixture of sunflower and pumpkin seeds

1 Tablespoon dukka* (optional)

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Salt to taste


  1. Peel, wash and finely chop the onion.
  2. Wash and slice the chillies.
  3. Wash and finely dice the tomato.
  4. Wash and finely chop the green pepper.
  5. Split the olives into two. If you have the unpitted variety, remove the stone.
  6. In a bowl, combine the tahini, tomato ketchup, black olives, paprika (if using) and sumac (if using). Add about half a cup of water and mix well. Set aside this sauce mix.
  7. Heat a frying pan and once it becomes hot, toast the sunflower and pumpkin seeds for a couple of minutes till they turn a light shade of brown. Be careful not to burn them.
  8. Once the seeds are nicely toasted, remove them to a plate.
  9. Return the frying pan to heat and pour the oil.
  10. Once the oil beomes hot, add the chopped onions, tomato, green pepper, chillies and salt to taste. Mix well, cover, lower the heat and let the vegetables cook for 10 minutes.
  11. While the onion mixture is cooking, wash and chop the aubergine.
  12. After 10 minutes, uncover and add the aubergine along with the sauce mix. Stir everything together, add some more water if you think it is needed, cover and let the stew cook for 10 minutes after which time take the pan off the heat.
  13. While the stew is resting, cook couscous according to instructions on the packet.
  14. Plate the cooked couscous with stew over it.
  15. Sprinkle with toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds and dukka (if using).


  1. Dukka is a versatile Jordanian spice mixture made with roasted sesame, wheat and coriander. It can be used as a seasoning, as a marinade or even in dips.
  2. Instead of sumac, you can use a teaspoon of cider vinegar or red wine vinegar. I wouldn’t recomment lemon or lime juice for this recipe as it would become too sour. You want just a wee hint of tartness.

Warm Salad of Barley, Beans & Vegetables in Garlicky Dressing

Warm Salad of Barley, Beans and Vegetables in Garlicky Dressing









today’s salad is very comforting and flexible

Barley, beans and vegetables enveloped in a garlicky tahini and yoghurt dressing provides a very comforting one pot meal.

Ingredients for Warm Salad of Barley, Beans and Vegetables in Garlicky DressingFlexibility is offered by way of additions, deductions and substitutions.

My recipe involves unhulled barley, kidney beans, broccoli, yellow pepper, cherry tomatoes and onions.

You can use chickpea, broad bean, cannellini or any other variety of beans you have handy. I used raw kidney beans which were soaked and cooked before being added. You can use canned beans if it is easier.

Similarly, you can use hulled, pot or pearl barley. Even quinoa or other grains would work well.

As for vegetables, the possibilities are endless. Use whatever is seasonal, fresh and cheap. Most vegetables would make a suitable match for the dressing.

Ingredients for the Garlicky Dressing

100 Grams plain yoghurt

1 Tablespoon tahini

1 Pod garlic

Salt to taste


  1. Peel and crush the garlic.
  2. Whisk the yoghurt and tahini till they are blended.
  3. Add the crushed garlic and salt to the yoghurt and tahini mixture.
  4. Mix well and refrigerate.

Ingredients for the Salad

250 Grams brocolli

10 Cherry tomatoes

1 Yellow pepper

3 small onions

3 – 4 tablespoons cooked beans

2 – 3 tablespoons cooked barley

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Juice of 2 limes or lemons

Salt to taste


  1. Wash and chop the broccoli into medium size pieces.
  2. Wash, de-seed, de-core and chop the pepper into medium size pieces.
  3. Wash the cherry tomatoes.
  4. Peel, wash and halve the onions.
  5. Put all the vegetables, beans and barley in a container which has tight fitting lid.
  6. Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pour this marinade over the vegetable-bean mixture.
  7. Mix well, cover and let this sit for 4 to 5 hours.
  8. When you are ready to cook, heat a wide based non-stick frying pan.
  9. When it is hot, add the vegetable-bean mixture along with marinade juices.
  10. Cook on high heat for 7 to 10 minutes till the vegetables are cooked through.
  11. Take off the heat and after about 5 minutes, add the garlicky dressing.
  12. Mix well ensuring that the dressing coats all the vegetables, beans and barley.
  13. Serve while it is still warm.

I had soaked and boiled the unhulled barley in a pressure cooker. Drank the barley water!

Cooked Unhulled Barley  Barley Water









The garlicky dressing is very simple to make and would make a yummy dip.

Garlicky Dressing









Easy Homemade Hummus

Homey Hummus









Wishing my kooky readers a very Healthy and Happy 2014.

The theme of our New Year’s day menu was Persian. For starters, I served a healthy plate of crudités with hummus I made at home. Now I am not sure whether Iranians eat hummus but I thought it went with the given theme!

Here’s my low-fat version of the popular chickpea dip made with homemade tahini (of course, you can substitute with shop bought one instead).


1 Cup uncooked chickpeas

2 – 3 Tablespoons tahini

1 Head garlic

Juice of 2 limes or lemons

1 Tablespoon olive oil (for when pureeing chickpeas)

1 Tablespoon olive oil (to drizzle on hummus when serving)

Salt to taste


  1. Soak the chickpeas for 8 to 10 hours. If you are short of time, you can use this method to speed up the process.
  2. Boil the chickpeas in salted water till very soft.
  3. Drain them and retain about a cupful of the water.
  4. Peel and chop the garlic.
  5. In a food processor or a blender, make a puree of the boiled chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and a pinch of salt.
  6. If you find the mixture too firm, add some of the reserved water till you get a smooth paste like consistency.
  7. Transfer to a plate and drizzle with olive oil before serving.

I had served hummus with some raw cauliflower, carrots and mooli.

Crudités with Homey Hummus









Homemade Tahini: Quick, Pure & Economical

Homemade Tahini









New Year party preparations are in full swing in our house. There will be plenty of cooking happening over the next couple of days as we say farewell to this year and welcome in 2014.

In the process of making a couple of spectacular dinners, we are happy to cut cost and go the homemade route if it means not compromising on quality or even enjoying better quality.

Dry sesame seeds
Dry sesame seeds (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tahini is one such example. While we need some for one of our recipes, I didn’t see the point of spending money on a whole jar which is imported and therefore expensive in a silly way. So, I looked up a few recipes on the internet for homemade tahini and this is my result.

easy, wholesome, pocket friendly and tastes as good as ready made

In fact, this is so good that now I wish I had made it sooner!

Any leftover can be stored for a good few months.


100 Grams white sesame seeds

1/4 Cup good quality olive or sesame oil

A pinch of salt


  1. Pour the sesame seeds in a frying pan.
  2. Place the pan on the lowest possible heat option on your burner.
  3. Roast them for 10 to 12 minutes.
  4. Keep stirring constantly so that the seeds roast evenly. The idea is to get them nicely roasted (but not brown them in the process).
  5. Once the sesame seeds are roasted, transfer them to a plate and let them cool down.
  6. Put the cooled roasted sesame seeds in a food processor or a blender and powder them.
  7. Once they are finely powdered, add the salt and oil.
  8. Blend them till you get a smooth tahini paste.
  9. Transfer the tahini to a screw top glass jar.