Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Is it hummus?

It's not quite yet the first of the month, which means I've not quite yet received a paycheck.

This means that my cooking experiments are limited to the items currently in stock in my kitchen.

I have a few tupperwares of cauliflower karhi (a variation on the potato karhi I invented earlier, although slightly less good) to pack as lunches, but Blue cannot live on karhi alone.

Right now, my kitchen currently contains:

3 pieces of (frozen) naan
1 can of chickpeas
1 lb (or so) of urad dal
1 box of peanut granola bars
1 box of crackers
1 jar Priya lime pickle (almost empty)
1 jar Priya mango pickle (mostly full)
About 2 cups of basmati

That's it.

So, wanting to avoid the urad dal for as long as possible (if anyone has a favorite recipe for the stuff, please share), I grabbed the can of chickpeas.

I tempered cumin, mustard seed, garlic, and red pepper; added the chickpeas, heated them up for a while, put in just a little bit of tamarind paste, and then grabbed my roommate's potato masher.

The result? Something that is not quite like hummus. In fact, it's rather unlike hummus but I think that is probably the closest thing to a name for what I created. (It lacks the sort of cucumbery-tahini taste of *real* hummus, not to mention that it is much, much heavier.)

I ate it on a piece of naan with a bit of lime pickle.

To its advantage, it's extremely filling. To its disadvantage, it's fairly bland and without the lime pickle would have been pretty tasteless.

I suppose that's why y'all invented lime pickle. ^__^ You just wait... by the end of the week I'll be slowly stirring it into my last cup of (otherwise unadorned) basmati.

As soon as I get paid, of course, I'm making rasam.


hm said...

Why do I have a feeling that whoever who suggested Rasam might be a South Indian? :)

Rasam is so easy to make if you have Rasam powder (which you can purchase from Indian stores). If not, here's a link to find some malayalee version of Rasam recipe.

amrit kaur said...

A can of tomato paste and a small bag of onions will go a long way in making any Indian dish enjoyable! It shouldn't cost you more than $3 and will carry you through several dishes... happy cooking!

Anonymous said...


Does your kitchen run to onions now? If your chickpea paste thingy has leftovers, you could add diced onions to it - will vastly improve the taste. Or use some of your karhi - add the chikpea mixture to it - will give you a new version of karhi :-)

Do you have a blender? If so - here's a recipe for urad dal...unfortunately not many recipes call for much urad dal...

- soak a cupful of urad dal for about 2 hours.
- grind in blender with as little water as possible - make sure the blender doesn't overeheat and burn up - u.dal is notorius for doing that to blenders.
- the final batter should be smooth enough to feel "soapy" between your fingers, and hopefully, not runny.
- Add salt to taste. If you have any curry leaves or green chiles, add that (chopped), if not add any spices you're in the mood for (you can also leave off spices completely, and stick with the salt)
- If your blending/grinding was optimal, you should be able to take up globs of this batter in a spoon or between your fingers and drop them into hot oil - will make a variant of vadas (grinding urad in a blender does not allow for proper vadas, with a hole in the middle) - try pan frying them if the batter is too runny.

Good luck.


Blue said...

Thanks to all (and all the people who emailed me, concerned about my nutrition!).

HM: I've seen rasam powder in Namaste Grocery and I'm going to be so there next week.

Amrit Kaur: Thanks. ^__^ Do you use only part of the tomato paste and refrigerate the rest?

Bitterlemons: I have some onion powder that I use when onion is absolutely necessary (like the Middle East dal project). The dal recipe you sent sounds fantastic, but I don't have a blender. V. disappointing.