You have to make this, this weekend. No dilly dallying, you won’t regret it, Hummus Kawarma is a wonderful thing. Creamy thick hummus topped with pops of aromatic spiced and flavouful neck of lamb, finished with a garlic-lemon-parsley-chilli dressing (lemon sauce). Hummus is so lovely when you cook it at home, it is worth the time planning and paying attention to the small details in this terrific recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi’s book Jerusalem. Jerusalem is a must for any passionate home cook, rammed with wonderful recipes and gorgeous photography all from their home city. It is one of those books that demands dreamy browsing.
Hummus is one of the most popular fridge items in the UK but we rarely make our own. It seems a faff, right? It isn’t really, it just requires a little planning, and when you employ Yotam & Sami’s technique of quickly frying the dried chickpeas with some bicarbonate of soda before adding the water, you will notice how quickly and easily most chickpeas will release their skins. I have peeled chickpeas before and truly, life is too short for this. Unless you really have to. And we never do really, do we?
There is a long ingredient list here but everything has its place. I made it with some ingredients missing (oregano and allspice) and it still tasted gorgeous, but when I made it following the recipe exactly and including everything, the final dish had an elegance and complexity with well blended strong flavours all forming the perfect little jacket for the small cubes of lamb and its hummus duvet.
Note: you can of course buy hummus and then make the lamb to top it, but I would strongly recommend you make it, it is so much better when made from scratch at home. So creamy and light. Plus fresh and healthy too, right? I double up the hummus recipe in this, and eat if for the three days following with almost everything. If your pine nuts have been in your cupboard a while taste them first, they go rancid very quickly.
Recipe adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s wonderful book Jerusalem
Recipe: Hummus Kawarma with Lemon Sauce
250g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in double their volume of cold water
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
270g light tahini paste
4tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
100ml ice cold water
2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted in a dry pan over a medium heat for a couple of minutes or in the oven (the recipe suggest frying in a little unsalted butter but I chose not to)
300g neck fillet of lamb, finely chopped by hand
¼ tsp ground black pepper and ¼ tsp ground white pepper (best done fresh from peppercorns in a pestle & mortar or spice grinder)
1 tsp ground allspice
½ tsp ground cinnamon
good pinch of fresh grated nutmeg
1 tsp crushed dried za’atar or oregano leaves (I used fresh oregano here and it was sublime)
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
1 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley, plus extra to garnish
1 tbsp sea salt
1 tbsp unsalted butter or ghee
1 tbsp olive oil
10g flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 green chilli, finely chopped
4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
¼ tsp salt
Start with your hummus. Drain the chickpeas following their overnight soaking. Place a medium saucepan on a high heat and add the drained chickpeas and bicarbonate of soda . Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add 1.5 litres of fresh water and bring to the boil. Cook, skimming off any foam and any skins that float to the surface. The chickpeas can cook from anywhere between 20 and 40 minutes, or longer depending on the type of freshness. Once done, they will be very tender, breaking easily when pressed between your thumb and forefinger, but not quite mushy.
Drain the chickpeas in a colander with large holes, brushing off any remaining skins that have flaked off. Reserve 4 tbsp of the chickpeas for a garnish (I forgot to do this, as you can see).You should have about 600g now. Place the chickpeas in a food processor and process until you get a stiff paste. With the machine still running, add the tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic and 1 ½ tsp of salt. Finally, slowly drizzle in the iced water, and allow it to mix until you get a very smooth and creamy paste, about 5 minutes.
Transfer the hummus into a bowl, cover the surface with cling film, and let it rest for 30 minutes. If not using straight away, refrigerate until needed (it will be good for 3 days) and take it out of the fridge 30 minutes before serving.
To make the kawarma, place all of the ingredients, apart from the butter or ghee and oil, in a medium bowl. Just before you cook the meat, place all the ingredients for the lemon sauce in a bowl and stir well.
Heat the butter or ghee and the oil in a large frying pan over a medium – high heat. Add the meat in 2-3 batches and stor as you fry each batch for 2 minutes. The meat should still be slightly pink in the middle.
For 6: divide the hummus between 6 individual serving bowls, or put on one large sharing platter, leaving a hollow in the centre of each bowl or the platter. Spoon the warm kawarma into the hollow and top with the reserved chickpeas, pine nuts, lemon sauce and chopped parsley.
So good, enjoy!