Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy Lebanese Independence Day!

In 2008, the Association of Lebanese Industrialists threatened to sue the country of Israel for appropriating traditional Lebanese foods including falafel, tabbouleh and hummus as their own on the world market. (They cited as precedent, the European Union’s ruling that gave Greece the sole right to use the name feta cheese.) They were unsuccessful.

Herewith, a recipe for traditional (Lebanese) hummus from Najmieh Batmanglij’s Silk Road Cooking: A Vegetarian Journey.

Baalbeck Chickpea & Sesame Spread

1 c. dried chickpeas
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 1/2 t. salt
5 T. fresh lime juice
2 T. tahini (sesame paste)
1 t. ground cumin
1/4 t. cayenne
1 t. sugar
1 T. olive oil
1 T. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, cilantro, or basil

Soak chickpeas for two hours and drain. Place in a medium-sized heavy bottom saucepan, cover with 6 cups of water, 1/2 t. salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer over medium heat for 1/2 hours of until the chickpeas are tender. Drain and reserve 1/4 c. of the liquid.

Place the chickpeas, garlic, 1/2 t. salt, lime juice, tahini, drained chickpea liquid and mix in the food processor until you have a thick puree.

Adjust seasoning to taste and transfer to a serving dish. Spring with chopped parsley and serve with toasted pita, lavash bread or crostini.

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