Humous with Walnut Oil and Cumin

“To create the perfect craters you see in houmous served in Turkish restaurants dollop the dip in the centre of the plate, then use the back of the spoon to spread it around. Rest the spoon on top of the centre of the plate and twist the plate clockwise to create an even crater in the centre: it acts as the perfect moat for the drizzle of oil.”

Frankie Unsworth, The New Art of Cooking

This is really just a tarted up version of ready-made humous (or houmous, or hummus, as some people spell it).

Serve with middle-eastern crackers and a pink vermouth with tonic and ice cocktail.

The best humous to buy

In a recent taste test (2019, by Tony Turnbull in The Times) Lidl, Aldi, and Asda all got four stars for their classic humous, while Waitrose scored three stars; and M&S and the Co-op, just two.

None scored more than three stars for ‘Moroccan-style’ humous. Waitrose was the winner of the red pepper humous category, with four stars.

Other ideas for spicing up your humous

  • a brilliant idea from Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall’s Love Your Leftovers is to whizz up any leftover roast root vegetables (beetroot works especially well) you have and add them to your houmous.
  • another idea is to add some ground turmeric (about ½ tsp) and zest of half a lemon.
  • make a topping with a chopped preserved lemon, half a sliced cucumber, some toasted sesame seeds, sea salt and three tablespoons of olive oil.
  • try munchy seeds, sprinkled over
  • or pine nuts
  • or minced lamb, seven spices mix, and pine nuts
  • with rocket, roasted red peppers, and pumpkin seeds
  • finely chopped preserved lemon and turmeric
  • John Gregory-Smith adds crispy fried lamb to his.
houmous with walnut oil and cumin recipe
houmous with walnut oil and cumin

What to do if you really want to make your own

Take a tin (or a couple of smaller tins) of 800g/1 lb 12 oz chickpeas, 3 cloves of garlic (peeled and crushed with 2 tsps smoked salt), 4 tbsps tahini, and two lemons. Drain the chickpeas, reserving a quarter cup/60 ml of the liquid. Rinse. Whizz the tahini, chickpeas, garlic and salt together. Add the reserved liquid and the juice and zest of one lemon. Whizz again. Taste. If it needs more lemon, then add the juice of half the second lemon, and taste. If it still needs more add the remaining juice.

Jazz up using any of the ideas on this post, the one below being the simplest, but some sort of oil is essential, and a pop of green (coriander or parsley for example) looks good.

Recipe for houmous with cumin and walnut oil

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 150g/5 oz smoked humous
  • 2 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp walnut oil
  • Indonesian long pepper – few grinds

Method

  1. You simply dry fry the cumin seeds and crush gently in a pestle and mortar.
  2. Serve the humous in a pretty bowl, spoon the oil over, grind over the pepper and scatter over the cumin seeds and voilá.
Humous, Hommos
Hommos at the Al dar Lebanese restaurant (sadly now closed) in the Kings Road, London – served in the more traditional way with olive oil and chickpeas.
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