Today world leaders have finally called on the lion to step down. Let’s hope he does, and without delay although I am not holding my breath. Anyhow, it is a significant development and to celebrate I decided to give you a recipe from my favourite restaurant in Damascus, Khawali, for one of the best hommus ever. The Syrians don’t put garlic in hommus and if they do, they also add chopped parsley and call it hommus Beiruti. At Khawali they have the regular version and their own hommus Khawali to which they add pepper paste and pomegranate syrup.
The charming manager at Khawali explained to me how their hommus was prepared but he was not able to give me exact measurements. After a few trials, I think I have perfected a version that is almost as good as theirs. Mine is not as creamy but that is because I don’t peel the chickpeas. I could if I wanted to but I can’t be bothered. In fact, we recently had a lengthy discussion on twitter following Felicity Cloake‘s article on how to make the perfect hommus on whether to peel them and whether to cook them or use canned. Peeling them does make a difference and the easiest way to do this is to run cold water over the cooked chickpeas and rub them gently to losen the skins. As the water runs, the skins will float to the surface at which point you can either skim them or pour them off. Even if you manage to peel only half, you will notice a difference. As for cooking them, I no longer do. Instead, I use those preserved in glass jars with only salt and water and no preservatives. A little more expensive but a real time saver without any compromise on the quality.
After that it’s a cinch. All you have to do is put the chickpeas in a blender together with the pepper paste (the best you can get; I bring mine back from Aleppo or Gaziantep!), pomegranate syrup, tahini and lemon juice and whizz until very smooth. You will not need any salt if you use the chickpeas in a jar. And if you cook your own, remember not to add salt until the very end otherwise they will not cook properly!
1 x 660 g jar chickpeas (425 g net weight)
100 ml tahini
juice of 1 1/2 lemons, or to taste
1 ½ tablespoons pepper paste
1 tablespoon pomegranate syrup
fine sea salt
for the garnish
Aleppo pepper for garnis
Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Put in the food processor. Add the tahini, lemon juice, pepper paste & pomegranate syrup and process until very smooth.
Transfer to a mixing bowl. Add salt to taste. Mix well. If the hommus is too thick, thin it by adding a little water, or a little more lemon juice, if it is not already tart. Taste and adjust the seasoning.