Home-made hummus, pita bread with chicken, tomato and spinach
Quite a mouthful and almost a full recipe in the title. The main part is about the hummus. I have long been thinking about using non-meat proteins in meals for a better balance – note, not as an alternative, I am not turning vegetarian – and a recent television programme I saw in the Netherlands around Christmas put the spotlight on chickpeas, hummus and falafel.
You can buy hummus ready made but it is of course nicer, and cheaper, to make it yourself to your own taste. It is not hard, the main problem can be how to obtain the tahini sesame paste. You can also make that yourself with sesame seeds, but the process of hulling and crushing is a bit messy.
I bought mine at a Lebanese stall on the Saint Quentin market near the Gare de l’Est station in Paris.
I planned to use my blender for the hummus. However, my relationship with my Kenwood FB 920 food processor is about to break apart; most of the time it only blends the lowest one centimetre of what is in the glass container, unless I add a lot of liquid – which you do not always want – and then it tends to leak from the bottom.
This time too, its first attack on the chickpeas was not brilliant. So I switched to an immersion blender – also Kenwood – which works great but you have to be careful your mix does not splatter out of the bowl onto the kitchen walls.
Tahini is good for its omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, copper, manganese, calcium and proteins. Compared to peanut butter it has less saturated fats (the bad fat) and sugar.
Chickpeas contain proteins, folate (vitamin B9), zinc and can help to reduce high cholesterol in blood. The little fat it contains is poly unsaturated (the good fat). For hummus, you add garlic (also good to lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure), lemon juice (vitamins) and olive oil (mono unsaturated fat, which is good).
Above all, hummus tastes very nice.
In my version, I added cumin, sumac and pepper as well as some mint leaves. You can also add paprika (chilli pepper) or other spices to taste. Adding yoghurt would make it even more velvety but add a sour note to the nutty sesame taste. In the Middle East they do not add yoghurt.
- A tin of chickpeas (400g)
- Two tablespoons of tahini
- 60 ml (¼ cup) lemon juice
- 60 ml olive oil
- 120 ml (½ cup) water
- Three cloves of garlic
- White pepper
- Some fresh mint leaves
- Pita bread
- Two breasts of chicken
- Three tomatoes
- Young spinach leaves
- Drain the chickpeas and put them in a large bowl or the blender.
- Add crushed garlic, lemon juice and tahini and start blending.
- I finished by stirring by hand, adding water and olive oil to obtain a creamy consistency. You have more control when you finish it manually. Some purists do not use a machine at all and make the paste with pestle and mortar (after all, the recipe is far more ancient than electrical kitchen appliances).
- Sprinkle some sumac, cumin and pepper over the hummus. Set aside.
- Roast the chicken fillet in a skillet with a little olive oil.
- Prepare the tomatoes, washing, taking out the little pips and cutting or slicing in parts.
- Wash the spinach (or any other greens, the spinach salad was on offer)
- Humidify the pita bread and put them in a toaster.
- Slice the cooked chicken meat.
- When the pita has cooled down a bit, slice it open and put spinach, tomato and chicken on one side and hummus with mint leaves on the other side.
- Serve the pita bread open, or close it to make a kind of pita burgers.