Once more, I will express my undying love for chickpeas: I Am M.A.D About Chickpeas! After all, how can one not succumb to such a delectable and pulsing love affair!
The chickpea, belonging to the protein food group, is such a versatile and wholesome leguminous pulse. You can make anything out of it; falafel, all kinds of hummus dips, veggie burgers, bread, and it’s also a perfect addition to stews, curries, salads… I could go on and on. And, if you needed any more reasons to love it; the chickpea has significant nutritional advantages since it is high in protein, a good source of folic acid, iron, zinc, magnesium and fiber. Because of its high source of fiber it is believed to help lower cholesterol and improve blood sugar levels.
Hummus is perhaps the most popular way chickpeas are appreciated. In Lebanon and around the Middle East, there are numerous varieties of hummus.
Firstly, I think it’s important to know that hummus is the Arabic word referring to chickpeas with the word hab, or grain, adding more specification. So, hummus is in fact the name of the actual chickpea. The dish is then elaborated on more, for example, hummus b’ tahini which is the most widely known version of hummus and refers to the creamy, rich, velvety smooth version that includes Tahini. Then there is also hummus balila, Hummus Beiruti, hummus awarma, hummus b’ lahme, fatet hummus, and so on.
As the big chill fell upon us, I found myself craving hummus b’ Awarma, which is hummus b’ tahini with the addition of preserved lamb meat. My father makes his own awarma yearly by preserving the lean minced lamb meat in salt and a certain sheep fat obtained from the tail of fat-tailed sheep. Perhaps not the healthiest but absolutely scrumptious nonetheless. So, I opened my cupboard only to realize the jar my father had sent last year was sitting there empty- reminding me to place my order. I had a craving that needed to be satiated quickly, so I made due with regular minced lamb.
Hummus b’ lahme can be served as part of a mezza or alone as a fulfilling, comfort meal with loads of warm Arabic bread. I love adding pine nuts for texture and crunch and finishing it off with a hint of pomegranate molasses really helps to add a beautiful zing to the meat.
- 500g hummus b’ tahini
- 250g lean minced lamb
- 1 teaspoon 7 spices
- 20g pine nuts
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced
- 1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon of duck/goose fat or butter
- Fresh mint- optional
- Melt the fat in a saute pan over medium flame then add the onions and cook for about 2-3 minutes till soft and translucent. Then add the pine nuts and then the garlic and cook for a further minute, stirring often.
- Quickly, add the mince meat and add the seven spices stirring continuously and till all the meat is loosened. Cook it for about 4-5 minutes and then add salt and pepper to taste. Finish it off with the pomegranate molasses.
- Spread the hummus b’ tahini on a serving dish
- And then cover with the lamb and chopped fresh mint.