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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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N-Y-T Coco Smoothie

N-Y-T Coco Smoothie

Coconut is one of the wonderful produces we have in the Philippines. Only recently have I consciously appreciated it as I learned that it’s not readily available in other countries.

Coconut can be consumed in many ways and is an essential ingredient in making dishes more delish, especially Bicol dishes, which are my recent fascination. I particularly love drinking its juice first thing in the morning and munching its meat. Well, one munches if the meat is relatively hard. But if it’s on the soft side, it slides in effortlessly. I rather prefer the former for its nutty feel.

If you have leftovers or you simply wish to add a bit of twist, here’s another fantastic way—the Not -Your-Typical Coconut (NYT Coco) Smoothie—to enjoy the coconut juice and meat. I don’t usually measure the ingredients when I make smoothies, but to serve as a guide, I have here rough estimates. Please feel free to change them according to your liking.

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cup coconut juice, frozen
1 cup coconut meat, frozen
1/3 cup almonds, soaked for 30 minutes (may include the water used for soaking; note, the more liquid, the thinner is the consistency)
8 dates, pitted
freshly squeezed juice of half a lemon
1/2 Tbsp ground green cardamon (or cardamom)

PROCEDURE

Toss all the ingredients into a blender. Blend until smooth.

While I’ve been wondering whether a coconut is a fruit or a vegetable, others are considering a third category, a nut because of its name. Coconut is none of the above as it’s actually a seed. Botanically speaking, it’s a fibrous one-seeded drupe, which means a fruit with a hard stony covering enclosing the seed. Loosely, coconut can be a fruit, a nut, and a seed (The Library of Congress).

The coconut juice is packed with simple sugar, electrolytes, minerals, and enzymes that aid in digestion and metabolism. Although high in saturated fat, its meat is rich with enzymes that are essential for better health and is an excellent source of manganese (this particularly), copper, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. It is also a very good source of B-complex vitamins (Nutrition-and-You and Self Nutrition Data).

An ingredient that probably stands out for Filipinos like me is cardamon (also known as cardamom). It originates from Southern India and is at present also grown in Sri Lanka. It is aromatic with a lemony undertone. It is rather pricey but a small amount goes a long way, so use it sparingly. In India, it is considered as a “festive spice,” and is often added in sweets and drinks.

Back in the old times, Egyptians chew cardamom seeds as a tooth cleaner while the Greeks and Romans use it as a perfume. Arabs, on the other hand, attach aphrodisiac qualities to it and features it regularly in Arabian nights. Ancient Indians use it as an antidote to obesity and to date has been regarded as a digestive (The Epicentre).

Cardamon is available at Assad Mini-Mart, which is located at Unit 1-A Eurocrest Building, 126 Jupiter St., Bel-Air Village, Makati City. Wondering where exactly along Jupiter, it is a few meters away from Jupiter St. corner Makati Avenue, across the back facade of the Department of Trade and Industry. Telephone number is 897-2543.

REFERENCES
(1) Library of Congress http://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/mysteries/coconut.html
(2) Nutrition-and-You http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/coconut.html and Self Nutrition Data http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3106/2
(3) The Epicentre http://theepicentre.com/spice/cardamom/

The recipe draws inspiration from a drink mixture that was taught in Pio Baquiran’s Ayurvedic Cooking Class.