When talking about 'culture and Palestine' food is an imortant subject the MUST be included. We'd like to tell you a little about the important condiment belonging to our meals: Hummous.
"Hummus" is derived from the Arabic word for chickpea, in Latin America it is Garbanzo, in India Bengal gram
- Theres nothing quite like hummus, that famous Middle Eastern appetizer. Found on every mezza table throughout the Arab world, the delectable dip, simply made from pureed chickpeas, garlic, lemon and sesame taheena, is all the rave in the United States.
Many American grocery stores, health food stores, and gourmet shops sell already-prepared hummus to eager shoppers hooked on this exotic Arab appetizer. Not only is hummus a tasty and addictive dip, but it is also a healthy alternative. Hummus is a good source of protein, niacin, vitamin B1, iron, and zinc.
Would-be chefs have already made their mark on the hummus craze, adding their versions to the hundreds of hummus recipes already in existence. It seems these days everyone has his or her own unique recipe for hummus that adds a little extra something. There are recipes for tomato-basil-hummus, pesto-hummus, fat-free hummus, eggplant hummus (not to be confused with baba ghanooj), extreme garlic hummus, turbo hummus, red pepper hummus, spicy hot hummus, spicy orange hummus, roasted garlic hummus, black soy bean hummus, and olive hummus, and those are just to name a few.
Most Arabs, however, prefer to stick to the traditional and original Arabic recipe for hummus, using chickpeas, lemon, garlic, and taheena. Among Arab families, cherished hummus-bi-taheena recipes are passed down through generations. These recipes sometimes include cayenne pepper, black pepper, cumin or sumac, depending upon tastes. After hummus is made, it is sprinkled with olive oil, paprika, ground red pepper, and a few garbanzo beans and fresh parsley are usually added on top for added flavor and decoration. Hummus is served with pita bread, fresh vegetables, olives and pickles. It can be eaten with pita bread or used as a dip for vegetables. Hummus is also sometimes used as a spread for sandwiches.
Hummus is easy to make. It can be prepared with dried garbanzo beans or canned chickpeas. For those short on time, canned chickpeas may be more convenient. Fresh lemons should be used as well as freshly peeled cloves of garlic. Taheena is a major ingredient in hummus and is a paste made from sesame seeds. It can be found in most Middle Eastern and specialty stores, although it is quite fattening. Each tablespoon of sesame taheena has about 8 grams of fat and 90 calories. However, the amount of taheena used in hummus can always be reduced in the recipe to make the dip less fattening. Taheena is also used to make the delicious taratoor sauce for fish, meat, and vegetables. Taratoor sauce is made of taheena, lemon, garlic, water and salt.
The word hummus is derived from the Arabic word for chickpea (garbanzo beans). In Latin America, the word for chickpea is Garbanzo; in India Bengal gram; in Turkey Nohud and Lablabi; Ceci in Italy; and in Ethiopia it is Shimbra.
The chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) is an ancient pulse crop and a member of the Leguminosae family. Pulse crops consist of a higher amount of protein than most plants. The chickpea was first grown in Turkey around 7,000 BC and India about 4,000 BC. Chickpea is usually grown in semi-arid regions in India and the Middle East.
Chickpea is a good source of protein, fiber, and iron and an excellent source of folate. In fact, many believe the consumption of chickpea can increase energy and sexual desire. There are two main types of chickpea, the desi and the kabuli. The desi, which means local in Hindi, has long been produced in India. The kabuli, which is named after the capital of Afghanistan, are larger, and believed to originate in the Mediterranean and were brought to India by way of Afghanistan.
Chickpeas are widely used in Middle Eastern and North African cooking, from stews to casseroles. Spicy chickpea batter is used as a base for another uniquely Arab specialty, falafel. The falafel batter is shaped into balls and deep-fried in oil. Falafel is eaten wrapped in pita bread with vegetables and taratoor sauce or hummus spread.
India produces 90 percent of the worlds chickpea supply. Major importers of chickpea are Spain, Algeria, Iran, Libya, Lebanon and the US. In the US, the majority of chickpea is produced in California as well as parts of eastern Washington, Idaho and Montana.
By Anayat Durrani
August 09, 2001