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Hummus Made Easy

Hummus is an Arabic word meaning chickpeas. It is one of our favorite dips that goes well with steamed vegetables such as asparagus and okra, and fish dishes.

I’ve searched the web for recipes. After countless trials, I can confidently say that this version is simple and YUMMY!

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup dried chickpeas (also known as garbanzos)
1/8 cup water
1 clove garlic peeled
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
salt to taste
1/4 tsp cumin powder (optional)
1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO, optional)

PROCEDURE

1. Prepare the chickpeas.

Canned chickpeas may be used. I, however, prefer the dried ones—despite more taxing preparations—as I try to minimize our consumption of heavily processed and preserved foods.

Soak the dried chickpeas overnight then pressure cook them in water (three times the amount of chickpeas) for about 15-20 minutes. If the chickpeas will instead be boiled, it’ll take about 2 hours according to other blogs I came across.

After pressure-cooking, drain the chickpeas and set aside the used water for blending.

Beans often double or triple in size after soaking and cooking. The above 1/2 cup increases to a little over a cup.

2. Toss all the ingredients into the blender except the EVOO. Blend until smooth. For a smoother consistency, add water.

3. Drizzle EVOO upon serving, which I often forget as the dip is already good as is. I don’t readily add EVOO because we store the hummus in the fridge for at most 4 days; this is to avoid the EVOO from solidifying and to make the stored hummus appear more fresh with the newly drizzled EVOO.

My Mom says EVOO aids in digestion but I read mixed opinions; others recommend without oil. Perhaps, it depends on the quality of the oil. On the other hand, I love adding cumin powder but Mom doesn’t. She associates cumin to a smelly armpit. 🙂

I used to purchase our dried chickpeas from Healthy Options. Recently, I’ve found more affordable ones at Fisher Mall Supermarket along Quezon Avenue and Assad Mini-Mart along Jupiter Street.

Fisher Mall Supermarket
Quezon Avenue corner Roosevelt Street
Quezon City

Assad Mini-Mart
Unit 1-A Eurocrest Building
126 Jupiter Street
(near corner Makati Avenue, across the back facade of the Department of Trade and Industry)
Bel-Air Village, Makati City

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Banana Blossom Salad

Banana Blossom Salad

As a child, a banana blossom (BB) dish that is usually cooked in vinegar and spices did not excite me nor does it as an adult. It’s a relief to learn that there is a delectable way to prepare BB.

BB Salad is among the many dishes I learned from a 3-hour workshop on Ayurvedic Cooking with Pio Baquiran. It’s a cold salad that boasts of creaminess from the coconut milk with a touch of tanginess from the lemon juice. Chili can also be added depending on preference.

I’ve been seeing two types of BB in the market, the red roundish which holds true to BB’s Tagalog name, “puso ng saging” (direct English translation is heart of a banana) and the long yellowish one. For this recipe, I use the latter.

It’s rather funny that while a banana is a blossom or flower, it’s a vegetable. And, when it matures, it becomes a fruit. BB is rich in Vitamins A and C, is a storehouse of antioxidants, and alleviates pain.

INGREDIENTS
2 cups boiled and sliced banana blossom
1/3 cup freshly squeezed coconut milk
2 Tbsp diced red bellpepper
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp honey (optional)
Salt and powdered cayenne pepper to taste

PROCEDURE
1. Boil the banana blossom first to avoid discoloration. Then slice it into strips.
2. Mix the sliced banana blossoms with the rest of the ingredients.
3. Put the salad in a fridge for about 20 minutes.

SERVING SIZE
4 to 5 persons.

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Tomatofied Pechay with Walnuts

Tomatofied Pechay with Walnuts

Tomatofied Pechay with Walnuts (in Tagalog, Ginisang Pechay na may Walnuts) is a simple and common dish at home that I’ve veganized. I substitute small shrimps or pork cutlets with walnuts. The walnuts break the leafy-veggie taste and taste sweet against the sourish tomatoes. Instead of sauteing in oil, I cook everything in a small amount of water replenishing as needed to keep it from burning. Then oil is drizzled after removing it from fire.

INGREDIENTS
water as needed
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium-sized garlic, chopped
2 medium-sized tomatoes, chopped
salt to taste
3 bundles of pechay, chopped; separate stems from leaves
a handful of walnuts, roughly chopped
3 to 4 Tbsp of flax seed oil (or extra virgin olive oil)

PROCEDURE
1. Cook the garlic and onion in little water.
2. Add the tomatoes and salt.
3. Put in the pechay stems first then after a minute or so, add the pechay leaves.
4. When the pechay is almost cooked, add the walnuts.
5. Remove from the fire and drizzle the flax seed oil.

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Split Pea-Vegie Soup

Split Pea Soup

I always keep split peas in my cupboard because they are so versatile and easy to cook. They are my “go-to” beans.

Unlike most beans, split peas don’t need overnight soaking and long cooking. About 15 minutes cooking time is all they need to become edible.

They are creamy and can even become creamier if a portion of the beans is blended or mashed. While split peas are great with any vegetables, they can also be cooked with only the most basic of ingredients—minced garlic and diced onion.

So far, I’ve seen two colors of split peas, green and yellow. Greens are more widely available in Manila. They are available in supermarkets and can be found at the dry beans and grains section.

Below is a sample recipe, which can be altered in so many ways or revamped totally.

INGREDIENTS
1/3 cup green split peas
1/3 cup yellow split peas
3 cups of water
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 white onion, diced
A dash of turmeric
Salt to taste
3 Tbsp carrots, diced
2 Tbsp bellpepper, diced
3 Tbsp malunggay leaves
A handful of spinach cut into strips
Grape seed oil (optional)

PROCEDURE
1. Boil the split peas in 1 cup of water for about 15 minutes. Check, if soft, set aside and let cool half of the beans and some of the water. When cool enough, blend and toss back to the cooker.
2. Meanwhile, add the garlic, onion, salt, and turmeric.
3. After about 5 minutes, add the carrots, bellpepper, and malunggay. Add water as needed but don’t add all the water in as it’ll slow the cooking. Just make sure that there’s enough for the ingredients to cook and not burn.
4. After about 2-3 minutes, add the spinach and add the remaining water. The soup should be ready in about 7 minutes or so.
5. Remove from the heat and drizzle some grape seed oil.

SERVING SIZE
3 to 4 persons.