After a couple of visits to the liberal UAE, I got introduced to the Arabic food. Sitting here as an outsider, I always guessed that desert food can b easily summed up with strong flavours of meat nuts and minimal use of water. Well, it wasn’t entirely wrong, but there was more to it. Anyways I can never summarize dessert food with the cosmopolitan nature of UAE. There it is less about the real food of the land but more about the western influence it’s got.
Dubai has very little to offer which is its own. The western influence on that part of the desert is so great that u will get everything that could travel from the northern hemisphere. Be it Starbucks or Phat Burgers, u will surely get all sorts of fast food. The few restaurants which strive to provide the indigenous fodder, they falter by hiring expats mainly from South East Asia, who know nothing about the culture and their food. The wrong information and pronunciation led to a lot of confusion in my head. And that is the reason why this post was delayed this long!!
But now that I have a clear idea, let me tell u an amazing dip that I figured out of all this. The incorrigible foodie in me couldn’t stop myself from buying a bottle of fresh tahina sauce from a local grocery shop there (even at the cost of paying extra at the airport to make up for all my purchases..). Though I never really knew what it was, still the thought of carrying something new back home was amazing. It is now that I realized that it can be so easily made here itself!! Tahina is just a fancy name given to a paste of lightly roasted sesame seeds. So all of you who want to try out this amazingly simple recipe of humus can either make tahina at home or try to find it in the gourmet section of your grocery store.
The recipe is fairly simple. But you need to plan ahead.
The ingredients are:
- A fist full of chick-pea or garbanzo beans: these have to be soaked overnight so plan ahead!!
- 3 – 4 tbsp of tahina paste (roasted sesame seeds, made into a paste with the help of some olive oil)
- 2 – 3 tbsp thick curd
- 5 to 6 cloves of garlic crushed
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- Red chilli powder according to taste
- Sugar, it is one of my additions… What I do is I give a little more lemon and then balance the taste with a little sugar. For our Indian palette it goes well. But if u want to make it the way it shud b… then forget about the sugar.
- Water, another of my additions, but trust me its required!
Boil the beans in a pan or a pressure cooker, until it becomes soft. U can even have it raw as once made into a paste, the taste will not vary much. But I like my beans boiled and hence I always boil it before.
Now take a processor/mixer and put everything apart from tahina in and give it a good mix. Add in a tablespoon or so of water to help you get a nice dip like consistency. Once u see that the beans are nicely minced into a runny paste, add tahina. Tahina will thicken the solution so according to your wish, add a little water if need be. The end result should be a nice and creamy thick mix which can be held in a flat plate.
Oh and of course, decoration is very important, so go wild and do whatever you like. I love to decorate my humus with some chopped cilantro and olives. I also put a little olive oil on top. It serves two purposes, one it keeps the humus nice and moist and second it makes my plate look really gourmet. Try it and let me know how it tasted with your chips or fresh cut cucumber slices.