Monday, June 24, 2013

Chickpeas, 2 Ways - IHCC Got a pulse?

In the few years since my eldest daughter has become a vegetarian, dried beans, peas and lentils have taken over my pantry. I do try to keep on top of them by cooking and freezing in bulk but I'm not always that organized. With a 1kg bag of chickpeas taking up precious shelf space, and I Heart Cooking Club's Got a Pulse? theme this week with featured chef Yotam Ottolenghi, I knew what I was cooking!

I decided to make Balilah from the book Jerusalem. A Palestinian street food, it's a simple dish of cooked chickpeas flavoured with parsley, lemon and cumin. When I saw that the recipe called for fresh lemon segments, I thought it was a perfect opportunity to catch up on last month's IHCC community recipe and make and use Quick Pickled Lemons instead, a fantastic tasting condiment worthy of the rave reviews it's received.

Quick Pickled Lemons
We loved the fresh flavours of the balilah and wished it were available here as a street food! I'm sure it's delicious made with fresh lemon segments but I think the pickle added more complex and more intense lemon flavour. Typically, this is served at room temperature but it was also delicious chilled, as part of a packed lunch.
As suggested in the recipe notes, I turned a portion of it into a salad, adding tomatoes, cucumber, more lemon pickle(!) and arugula to serve with grilled fish. It was very good this way but I preferred it in its original, undiluted, form.

Balilah Salad
 Hummus, the IHCC community recipe for June, provided a perfect way to make an even larger dent in that bag of chickpeas. 

Basic Hummus

Perfect, except for the fact that I'd never made hummus successfully and had virtually given up trying to recreate that lovely smooth, creamy texture of store-bought. Following Ottolenghi's recipe for Basic Hummus, I made my first successful batch!

I did adjust some of the ingredients to personal taste, reducing the amount of tahini and salt, increasing the lemon juice, and adding some cumin. It was unbelievably smooth and the perfect consistency to use as a dip or spread. And the much better than anything I'd ever bought. I served it with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of sumac. Loved it!

All recipes are from the book Jerusalem, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi.
The recipe for Basic Hummus can also be found here


kitchen flavours said...

Hi Zosia,
Wow, what a delicious meal! Balilah looks so good, and having it with the pickled lemons sounds yum! I am not cooking with lentils or beans often enough, and this week I am so looking forward to turn that around!
Hopefully I'll be able to make some hummus these few days!

Kim said...

Awesome! I have been really curious about the balilah recipe. I'm so glad to see that you've shared it here. It really does look delicious (and your preserved lemons look delicious)!

However, it is your hummus that is winning over my heart right now! Makes me feel like making hummus again this week:) It looks so creamy and delicious. So glad that you liked this version.

Michelle said...

The texture of your hummus looks perfect. We enjoy chickpea dishes and I especially like the freshness of lemon and parsley. I'm very interested in trying the Balilah dish.

Deb in Hawaii said...

Both look wonderful--that hummus looks so creamy. I have been wanting to make the balilah salad dish too. Great picks!

Couscous & Consciousness said...

I don't know how I haven't noticed the balilah in the book so far, as this totally looks like my kind of dish, and I love that you used the pickled lemons in it - they are so good. I also love the way you turned it into a meal with the fish.

Your hummus looks wonderful too - I couldn't believe how smooth it became, and I love just the drizzle of olive oil and sprinkling of sumac at the end.

Lisa said...

This looks delicious. I love hummus! And I've never heard of pickles lemons. Cool!