I started to write a long-ish post about starting to settle in here in Cairo, and what it's like being an expat in a Muslim country over Christmas, but then I started to get long-winded about advent calendars, and I remembered that what I really wanted to talk about was not those little chocolates behind paper doors but hummus. HUMMUS. Oh wait, none of you are surprised?
I couldn't really figure out how hummus and the holidays went together, so I figured just screw it, let's talk about the hummus. As I've mentioned probably a bazillion times before there's a LOT of ways to serve and eat hummus, way more than you probably know about. But one of my favorite ways is called hummus musabaha. Hummus musabaha is basically warm hummus with chickpeas and a bit of hot water stirred into it until it becomes a sort of spoonable concoction. It's not the sort of thing you find in a fancy restaurant, but it's one of those things you might find at a corner shop or in your mom's kitchen.
I often make hummus musabaha right after I've made fresh hummus. I take the still warm hummus, thin it with some of the hot chickpea cooking water, and stir in a handful of fresh cooked chickpeas. You stir the whole soupy delicious mass together like a thick stew, and then you top it with lemon juice and tomatoes and herbs. It's warm and smooth and nicely lemony, and total comfort food. Which I guess does make it right for the holidays after all.
Though I may lose my cooking bonafides for saying this, you can make hummus musabaha from purchased hummus and canned chickpeas, which makes it a snap to whip together. The hummus needs to be very good quality though - I find most US grocery store brands taste disturbingly of citric acid and preservative. Try to find one that doesn't (Oasis is a decent brand), or buy your hummus from a local Middle Eastern grocery or take out place that makes their own.
2 cups prepared hummus, room temperature
2/3 cup boiling water
1 cup warm cooked chickpeas (I prefer the Whole Foods no salt brand for canned chickpeas, or cook chickpeas from scratch)
chopped herbs (parsley or scallions or mint, or a mix)
Aleppo pepper or sumac for sprinkling
1. Place your hummus in a very large bowl. If our hummus is cold from the refrigerator, you can microwave it or place the bowl over boiling water to take the chill off.
2. Pour in the hot water. Very carefully and slowly mix the hot water into the hummus until smooth. Adjust the consistency with more hot water or more hummus as desired. You want it soupy but not runny. Fold in the chickpeas. Squeeze half a lemon into bowl, add salt to taste, and mix together.
3. Top the hummus with your choice of tomatoes, herbs, and spices. Eat warm, with a large spoon.
** Please excuse the paltry photos, my camera and phone are on the fritz, and we have yet to set up home internet in Cairo, so my apologies if posting are a little slim.**