Saturday, April 21, 2012

Hummus with Tonir Lavash, Khubz Arabi, Sumac Berry Spice and Pickled Lemon

     This article was edited on 10-16-2014.

     A nice tasting authentic hummus platter!
     Sometimes traditional is best!  When designing a hummus platter, it is best to go with a simple appealing design that is not overly complicated.  When making a traditional hummus platter, old world ingredients and garnishes are best.
     Sumac berry spice is more authentic for garnishing hummus than paprika.  Sumac berry has a nice tart berry wine lemon flavor.  Less lemon juice can be added to the hummus, if sliced pickled lemon is used as a garnish.  Virgin olive oil is nearly always poured over a traditional Middle Eastern hummus.

     The choice of breads for today's hummus platter are rustic.  Small khubz arabi (pita) and tonir lavash are featured.  Whole wheat tonir lavash was the very first lavash recipe!

     Hummus Provides The Nutritional Power Of A Race Horse!
     Beans are power food.  Beans provide Calcium, fibrous carbohydrates and plenty of protein.  These nutritional elements promote a strong healthy physique.  Basically beans are pure horsepower!

     Speaking of horsepower, I happen to be a horse racing fan and I used to make a living by gambling on horse races.  Horse race handicapping is on a par with analytical calculus.  Horse racing is the world's most difficult gambling game.  It is like playing poker with a table full of expert card sharks and cheaters.  The harrows in the hummus for the olive oil should be part of the overall design.  In a way, the harrows on this hummus resemble wet rain soaked harrows on a horse race track.  The oval shape of the hummus resembles a horse track too.  

     Every horseman has a secret racing strategy on race day.  Every horseman leaves no evidence of the racing strategy that is discussed with the jockey and handlers.  Usually the racing strategy is discussed verbally or the plan is scratched in dirt and the evidence is swept away.  Not letting competitors know what is up the sleeve is best on race day.
     There are many strategies going on at the same time in every race.  Sometimes the horse is entered in a race just for exercise.  Sometimes a horse is entered with a betting coup in mind.  Sometimes a sprinter horse is entered in a classic distance race as a rabbit to chase, so the odds of a late closing stablemate winning the race increases.  Sometimes a horse is actually entered in a race with winning in mind!
     Since today's hummus platter looks like a horse race track, one could imaging an Arabic horse trainer, the jockey and handlers drawing the race strategy plan in the hummus.  In this case, it would be a pleasure to eat the racing plan evidence!  I can almost hear an Arabic horseman saying "Quickly Habib!  Eat the hummus before a fool lays eyes upon our plans that we have carved in the hummus, for the racing strategy of our horses in the upcoming Kentucky Derby!  Eat Habib!  Eat quickly!"  Lucky Habib!

     Horse racing is serious business in Arabia.  Horses are highly respected there.  Breeding programs for thoroughbreds and Arabian horses are a top flight art in itself.  Horses have always been part of Arabic life!  
     Arabic breeders, owners and trainers usually have a few fine horses that are entered in the Kentucky Derby each year.  The Kentucky Derby is a highly respected international event, just like the World Cup of Horse Racing that is held in Dubai each year.  Both races attract billions of gambling dollars.  Even though most Arabic people do not gamble, the pride of horse racing is in their blood!

     Like oats for a horse, a good plate of hummus gives a jockey plenty of gas for a long day of racing.  This can be taken in a literal sense too!  Hummus does have a reputation for creating flatulent side effects!  Traditionally, caraway seed or fennel is eaten to reduce the flatulent side effects.  Caraway seeds work like Mexican epazote (wormwood greens) in the digestive tract.  These herbs and spices are effective digestive aids.  

     Chick Pea Hummus:
     This recipe yields 4 to 6 portions (About 3 1/2 cups)
     Hummus can be made the old fashioned way by pressing the chickpeas through a fine mesh sieve, or it can be made in a food processor.  Traditionally the hulls of the chickpeas are removed after cooking.  The hulls of the chickpeas can be retained, when using a food processor.
     Tahini is required.  Tahini is sesame paste.  Tahini can be found in middle eastern markets.  Goats milk can be added instead of water for a sharper flavor.  Olive oil is required and lemon is required.  
     Chile pepper was not a required ingredient, before the western world was discovered.  I do add mild chile pepper, just like most modern middle easterners do.  The spices are optional and they do add a delicate flavor if only small amounts are added.  
     Puree 20 ounces of rinsed cooked chickpeas or rinsed canned organic chickpeas, till the chickpeas become a coarse paste. 
     Add 4 tablespoons of virgin olive oil.
     Add 3 ounces of tahini.  (Tahini is available at middle eastern markets.)
     Add the juice of 1 lemon.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of paprika.
     Add 2 pinches of cumin.  (optional)
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of coriander.  (optional)
     Add 2 pinches of ground cardamom.  (optional)
     Add 2 pinches of powdered fenugreek.  (optional)
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 4 teaspoons of garlic paste.
     Puree the ingredients and add just enough water while pureeing to form a very smooth spreadable paste.

     Hummus with Tonir Lavash, Khubz Arabi, Sumac Berry Spice and Pickled Lemon:
     Spread the hummus on a serving platter.
     Form the hummus into a presentable shape.
     Use a spoon to carve harrows in the hummus for the virgin olive oil. 
     Sprinkle sumac berry spice over the hummus.  (Sumac berry spice is available at middle eastern markets.)
     Pour a generous amount of virgin olive into the harrows on the hummus.
     Cut a pickled lemon into thin slices.  (Pickled lemon is available in middle eastern markets.)
     Cut the thin pickled lemon slices in half.
     Mound the pickled lemon slices on the middle of the hummus.
     Garnish with an Italian parsley sprig.
     Arrange toasted triangle cut tonir lavash bread around the the hummus.
     Arrange warm small khubz arabi (pita) quarter slices between the tonir lavash slices.

     The sunburst presentation of hummus platter has a nice eye appeal.  Toasted caraway seeds or toasted fennel seeds are usually offered on the side.  This is a very tasty and healthy hummus platter!  Yum!

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