Published

Good Mediterranean recipe combo

I’m trying to do a tiny bit more meal prep on the weekend so that I don’t default to something beige or unhealthy. Last weekend I came across a great recipe combo, things that are pretty easy to manage all at once on a Sunday afternoon.

* The baba ganoush recipe is fabulous, but I’d recommend either cutting back on the garlic or mincing the garlic directly in to the lemon juice and letting those chill together for at least 10 minutes so that the garlic flavor mellows out a little.

Some tahini is trash, and that makes a huge difference in the resulting hummus or baba ganoush. Good tahini should taste nutty and silky, ideally not overly bitter, and never sour or pungent. It’s not a great sign if it is separated, that probably means that it’s been sitting out for a while. Tahini goes rancid pretty quickly, so the fresher the better and keep it in the fridge.

The best tahini I’ve ever had was Al Nakhil brand (Lebanese, comes in a beige jar with green writing and a green lid) from The People’s Supermarket in London. I don’t think I’ll find that in SF so have been trying whatever I can find. The Whole Foods 365 jar I got recently was ok so I’ll rely on that in a pinch. The jar of Tarazi I had before that was great, but very pricey from the grocery nearest to me. I’ll probably try to do a big shop at Samirami’s on Mission and 26th since I hear they’ve got great tahini and it looks like they do a lot of bulk spices and dry ingredients.

The above dishes combined with diced cucumber, diced ripe tomato, and a little bit of hot sauce is just lovely, great for multiple meals during the week. With falafel it’s even better. We used Ziyad box falafel mix and it was pretty great, but I’d love to try one of the Serious Eats falafel recipes some time. They’ve got a good food lab post on falafel. The Hilda’s Kitchen falafel recipe also looks really good.

If I didn’t have a wildly out of hand mint plant, I’d probably make the Serious Eats Israeli-style tahini sauce.

Edit 2 September 2020: Added notes about baba ganoush recipe and tahini.

Published

A+ hummus using one can of chickpeas

I finally cracked it. The madness is in the method. To make good hummus using one 14.5oz/400g can of chickpeas:


Put 4 tbsp lemon juice and 1 clove of garlic in a food processor and blend until the garlic is finely chopped. Let it sit in the food processor during the next step so that the garlic flavor chills out.*

Next, check the firmness of your chickpeas. Some tinned chickpeas are quite soft, most are very firm. I seem to remember that Tesco’s own brand is weirdly good?! YMMV. Open and rinse 1 can of chickpeas, then pop one in your mouth. Try to squish it between your tongue and the roof of your mouth. If it doesn’t give super easily, then you’ll want to soften them a bit to get a better final texture.

If you do need to soften your canned chickpeas, dump them in to a pot with enough water to cover and ½ scant tsp baking soda. Bring to a boil and then simmer until they get pretty soft and the skins are separating from the legumes, about 20 minutes. When ready, drain them and allow them to cool. If you want to use them immediately, carefully rinse them in cold water.

Now, add the fats gradually along with a little water. The goal is to emulsify the fat in to the liquid without causing it to separate. Put 4 tbsp tahini in the food processor with the lemon / garlic mixture and blend just until you get a smooth paste. Next add 2 tbsp cold water and blend until very smooth. With the addition of the water, it will get more pale and fluff up a little.

Add your chickpeas, a good pinch of ground cumin, and about ½ tsp sea salt to the food processor and blend until smooth. Taste it and add more salt or lemon juice as necessary. Add a bit of cold water if you like it more fluffy.

To serve, drizzle with good quality olive oil and optionally garnish with smoked paprika, za’tar, chopped coriander, toasted cumin seeds, kawarma, extra chickpeas, etc.


No messing around with dried chickpeas or peeling (!) legumes. I can make this amount of hummus in the tiny food processor attachment that came with my stick blender. Related, the Super Kim can opener by Nogent is the only can opener that should exist.

* Allicin is responsible for that intense sulfur flavor in raw garlic. Allicin is one of the things that gives garlic its health qualities, but it can also put too much of an edge on some dishes. Mincing or blending raw garlic directly in to lemon cuts denatures allinase, one of the compounds in garlic that creates allicin. Read more about this on The Garlic Farm blog.

Edit 1 09 2020: Increased tahini amount and added baking soda technique inspired by a recipe by Ottolenghi and Tamimi and a Cookie & Kate recipe.