Sunday, 9 September 2012

Red Pepper Hummus with a Spicy Topper

Humus is always a good stand by, take the time to make a topper for it and you transform the lowly humus to something that delivers far more complexity.

I have a pressure cooker and I must admit these days it only gets taken out to cook pulses that have been re hydrated by soaking. While I have a large jar of dried chickpeas in my cupboard I like to think I could feed myself for a while with little else. Tinned chickpeas are always an alternative but soaking chickpeas overnight then cooking them until tender is far cheaper. It's also true that in order to make good felafel you need to use soaked but uncooked chickpeas and not the tinned ones that are already cooked.

You will need:

For the Humus

350g of chickpeas (dry weight) soaked in a litre of water overnight
1 tablespoon of Tahini
The juice of one lemon
200g of roasted red pepper, if you can find the Polish ones in a jar they are actually cheaper than buying fresh peppers and going through the process of roasting, de-seeding and peeling them.
1 large clove of garlic grated
2 tablespoons of good olive oil

For the Spicy Topper

100g of the soaked & cooked chickpeas
1 small onion finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 chilli finely chopped
1 red pepper finely chopped (seeds removed)
1 tablespoon of tomato pureé
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 teaspoon of black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon of sweet paprika
1 teaspoon of powdered sumac
1 teaspoon of sherry vinegar

To make the humus:

Cook the soaked chickpeas until tender, this takes 10 minutes in a pressure cooker and about 40 minutes on a low simmer. The chickpeas do need to be tender so do cook them until you have achieved this. If you are using tinned chickpeas, drain and put 100g to one side to use in the topper. Reserve 100ml of the cooking water.

Place all but 100g of the cooked and cooled chickpeas in a food processor along with the tahini, lemon juice,  roasted red pepper, seasoning and garlic, process until you achieve a smooth paste. You may need to add a little of the cooking water if it appears too dry and thick, but remember the addition of the olive oil will loosen up the humus significantly so add sparingly. Finally drizzle in the olive oil through the funnel of the food processor while the motor is still running. Set to one side.

To make the topper:

Fry the seeds in the olive oil on a gentle heat until then begin to pop. Add the finely chopped onion, red pepper and chilli  and continue to cook on a gentle heat for 2 minutes. Add the garlic, the sumac, paprika and tomato pureé, cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the chickpeas, sherry vinegar and the reserved cooking water and simmer for 5 minutes. season to taste.

You can vary how chilli hot you make the topper.
The sumac does add a delicious, subtle sour note to the finished dish, so it's worth finding, Asian supermarkets often have it.


  1. I have been trawling your back posts and just discovered this magnificent creation. I will be making this topper for my Christmas hummus and can't wait to smear it all over my home made Turkish garlic bread and laden it with avocado, perfectly ripe tomatoes and all sorts of delicious salad leaves from the veggie garden. Being vegan isn't the curse that it used to be ;)

  2. Hello again, I find making a topper for the humus does transform it into something more special and having been to enough aging hippy parties where someone decided to bring a bucket of humus, it's a very welcome development. Whereas our Christmas here in the UK is about using a lot of preserved foods, dried or otherwise, it will be nice to think that in other parts of the world there are people able to enjoy the bounty of their gardens. A very Happy Christmas, Tôbi