Saturday, 8 June 2013

DIY: Spicy Chickpea Dip

Hummus, a popular Middle Eastern chickpea dip, was always served in my university dormitory alongside the guacamole and I usually use it to replace butter and mayonnaise for my sandwiches.  This low-fat dips were so good and delicious that I even used it as dressings for salad to give that extra edge.  After so many years, I missed having hummus as part of my meals and just wanted to re-live that moment.

Initially, I wanted to make hummus but I soon realized that I actually don't have one of the key ingredient - the tahini or ground sesame paste.  So, what I did instead was to slightly improvise the hummus recipe to come out with my own version of the chickpea dip with some hotness.

So, here it goes.

Must-have:  2 cups of cooked chickpeas, 4 cloves of garlic-chopped, 1 lemon - juiced, sesame oil- as much as you wish
To adjust:  Water
May omit:  Minced ginger, Chilli flakes
To taste:  Black pepper, Salt

To make this chickpea dip, it is very easy.  All you need is a decent-working food processor to do the job.

Just start by processing the cooked chickpeas, lemon juice and sesame oil until smooth.  With the food processor still running, add in the garlic, ginger and chilli flakes, as well as pepper/salt to taste.

The only troublesome part is to continuously observe the texture of the processed chickpea mixture because chickpeas tend to absorb a lot of water, and sometimes, it is difficult to prescribe the amount of water needed to get that right consistency.  So, just follow your intuition.  From time to time, slowly add in water until you get the right consistency.

Once done, transfer to a clean bowl/container, cover and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes, just to let the flavors settle and blend in.

Yummy!  A healthier but tasty snack, packed with protein and dietary fibre - perfect if you're planning for a weight management program.

For the chickpeas, if you're feeling lazy, there are always canned chickpeas readily available in the supermarkets.  However, as with any processed food, these are usually less healthy due to the high salt contents.  Not to forget, a higher price tag too.

The alternative, like what I did, is to get dry chickpeas instead.  Trust me, it was at least 1/5 of the price of the canned chickpeas.

Preparing the chickpeas at home is not as tedious as they seem.  This was my second time cooking dry chickpeas and they are super easy.  Of course, just time consuming.
  1. First, give the dry chickpeas a quick wash and discard any dark-coloured or dull chickpeas.
  2. Then, soak the dry chickpeas with a lot of water because these cute little chickpeas will absorb a lot of water in order to expand to twice its size.  Just leave them sitting in the fridge, covered, for around 8 hours or overnight.  If possible, try changing the waters a few times as the chickpeas releases some gas/sugar.
  3. Before starting to cook, discard the water and rinse the chickpeas with fresh water.
  4. Fill the pot with a lot of water and throw in the chickpeas.
  5. Boil it for 10-15 mins.  During the process, there will be white foam appearing on the surface.  Don't worry, they are nothing but substances produced from the chickpeas (apparently, some complex sugar or protein).  Just scoop the foam out.
  6. Finally, transfer the chickpeas and the hot liquid into the thermal cooker and let the chickpeas slowly cook.  I prepared it before leaving for work and by the time I'm home, the chickpeas are nicely cooked and soft.  Another alternative is to put into a slow cooker.
  7. Strain the water away and they are ready to be used for any recipes.

It does take up a lot of time, but definitely worth the trouble as home-cooked chickpeas have a nuttier flavour and you can manage the level of crunchiness by adjusting the cooking time.

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