I spent the summer after my first year of university desperately trying to intern at whichever agencies would take me. Luckily, my mom who’s something of a PR maven helped set up a good few interviews (never underestimate the power of a connection or a “ wasta ” as we call it in Bahrain). In the interim, I spent a lot of time at her office working on my portfolio and sending out applications, and since my mom rarely ever takes a lunch break I quickly became very familiar with the take-out menus in her desk drawer.
One afternoon we ordered Lebanese – I decided on a spinach and cheese saj (I was still vegetarian at the time), tabbouleh and under the recommendation of one of my mom’s Lebanese colleagues, hummus Beiruti. “What’s the difference?” I asked “Bit shoufee.” (you’ll see) she said.
When the food arrived, I went straight for the hummus, armed with freshly baked piping hot Arabic bread – and let me tell you, it did not disappoint. It was so incredibly creamy and garlicky with just the right balance of fresh herbs and a spicy kick. After much deliberation my mom and I were certain it had been made with labneh and or toumiyyeh (garlic sauce).
So when I found myself with half a tub of probiotic soy yoghurt and a pot full of freshly cooked chickpeas waiting to be pulverised, I got to work re-creating a vegan version.
- 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas + 1/4 cup cooking or reserve water
- 2 level tbsp of tahini
- Juice of 1 lemon + citric acid to taste
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1/2 tsp salt (or more to taste)
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp soy yoghurt or vegan labneh
- 1-2 large cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
- 1/2 a green chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend, scraping the sides down frequently until well incorporated. Drizzle in reserve water to thin out as needed -note that you may not need as much with the addition of yoghurt which adds moisture.
Making this in a blender will yield a really smooth and authentic texture but you will sadly lose some hummus to the bottom blades (unless you unscrew and attack with a spatula like I do). If you do decide to use a blender make sure your chickpeas are pre-warmed and prepare to add more liquid to blend as needed and consequently adjust seasoning
Serve with a pinch of cumin or cayenne, chopped parsley and a drizzle of olive oil.
Delicious with crudites, raw crackers and on pretty much everything, as usual.
This may look pretty similar to classic hummus, but the extra herbs and spices definitely pack an alternative punch. Whether it’s authentically Lebanese as the title suggests, I’m not sure but I can confirm this is a guaranteed crowd pleaser – but really, what’s not to love?