Saturday, April 3, 2010

Colour my hummus

Hummus is an middle eastern spread made from chickpeas and ground sesame paste or Tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. It's pretty easy to make but balancing the flavours can be tricky as you don't want the flavours to overpower the main ingredient: chickpeas. Some variations of hummus have pistachios or walnuts to add a little nuttiness to the spread. Nice. Others have yoghurt in the mix: very creamy and super rich.

Recently I found a recipe for a beetroot hummus that not only looked beatiful but tasted divine. Really. You can trust me because I don't like beet root on it's own. I know it's really healthy (among other things, beetroot is said to reduce blood pressure and is used as a treatment for a variety of conditions particularly illnesses relating to digestion and the blood) but I haven't found a recipe that has made beetroot anywhere near tempting. By the way, it also contains no fat, has very few calories and is a great source of fibre.
Till I found this hummus recipe in the Women's Weekly cookbook on Veggie Food: low-fat and delicious.

The first thing that strikes you about the beetroot hummus is it's bright, vibrant colour. A gorgeous milky pink, it's like a raspberry sorbet, almost. Surely anything so pretty has to taste great!

The beetroot actually adds a little sweetness to the hummus, which is odd because on its own, the red root vegetable is quite earthy.  It's great as a dip and also a spread in sandwiches.

The first step in making the beetroot hummus is making the tahini (sesame seed paste). You can buy tahini off the shelves but its frightfully expensive -- almost RM20 or more for a bottle! I decided to make my own, and it's so easy I don't think I'll ever by the stuff.

Making Tahini

8 Tablespoons sesame seeds

4 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup tepid water

Blend, adding the water gradually.

Now that that was done, I started with the Beetroot Hummus

1 medium beetroot, peeled and roughly cut

2 cups chickpeas, boiled.  (reserve cooking liquid)

1 tsp chopped garlic

1/2 tsp lemon juice

2 tsp tahini

salt and pepper to season

Method: Cook beetroot on a lightly oiled skillet/saucepan, covered, for about 15 minutes or till the crunchy cubes become soft. Ad the beetroot and all other ingredients in blender and blend. Blend. Blend till smooth.


  1. If that tahini recipe works, I will be in your debt forever. Thank you. I will try both recipes this weekend.

  2. Red Beets,

    ... here is an easy and very delicious way to eat them:

    Wash and peel beets (under running water) cut into wedges
    Wash and peel same amount of (preferably golden) potatoes cut also into wedges.
    Sauté thinly slices ginger and sliced onions in butter or olive oil over medium low heat in a heavy pan until onions are softened.
    Add some honey and enough water to keep the pan bottom "moist".
    Add beets and cook over medium heat, checking regularly for moisture level.
    After 15 minutes add potato wedges an top of the beets and cook until the potatoes are done.
    As long as you don't stir, you will end up with nice golden potatoes with red edges and beautiful red beets. Add salt an pepper to taste before serving.

    That is all there is to is
    ... the fresh ginger mellows the red-beet taste into something truly wonderful

  3. thanks for the recipe...will give it a go.

  4. I wish I could munch on some of this right now!

  5. i love beetroot and i love hummus ... seriously can't wait to make this!!

  6. beetroots are sweet and they taste delicious on their own. choose the smallest ones available and boil them until a knife goes in easily, peel, cut into wedges, let cool, squirt with lemon. they're a great snack veg as they're firm. or you can make a raita: after boiling, grate them and add yoghurt, s&p, squirt of lime/lemon, pinch of roasted cumin powder. serve with something spicy like curry or use as a dip.

  7. Made the beet friends loved it and want the recipe. Still have yet to make the Tahini (found a partially used can), but have already passed on the recipe! THANKS. Polly

  8. That's an amazing post. Thanks a lot


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