The first Mediterannean food I ever tasted was hummus and pita bread. Maybe I hadn't acquired the taste then and I found the hummus too pasty and strange. Pita bread felt more like a naan / kulcha, and I wondered what all the fuss was about.
A few years later when I tasted it again, the texture of hummus felt surprisingly nice and the warm pita went so well with it. Not sure the cook did a great job or I just developed better taste buds !
I started making it at home much later and my eight year old seems to really enjoy this now. I have made hummus only with chickpeas, though I have heard of sweet potato hummus and basil hummus, which I will get around to making soon enough
I am usually tempted to buy all these exotic ingredients when I see them, but now I stop myself. There are enough number of spices that I have picked up and trashed after a couple of years because of the expiry date and I would have used it just a couple of times, or perhaps just once when I felt inspired enough. I was very keen on picking up tahini, but thankfully better sense prevailed and I used my own substitution which turned out pretty good. I did however pick up bottle of za'atar spice, a mix of sumac, sesame seeds and some dried herbs.
Warm pita and hummus drizzled with olive oil can make for a really nice starter. Here's the recipe for the hummus I made.
What you need -
1 cup dried chickpeas (soaked in water for 6-8 hours)
2-3 cloves garlic
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp roasted cumin seeds
a pinch of za'atar spice (optional)
juice of a medium sized lemon
salt to taste
What you do with it -
Drain the soaked chickpeas, add 2.5 cups water and cook till its soft but not mushy
Allow it to cool
In a small grinder, powder the cumin seeds and sesame seeds
Blend the chickpeas, garlic, sesame seed powder, cumin seed powder, olive oil and 1/2 the lemon juice
Add the sesame oil and salt and blend till its smooth
Sprinkle some red chilli powder, za'atar spice powder, lemon juice and olive oil and serve with warm pitas