The pressure cooker was pressed into action today for the first time since its ordeal the other week, reverting to what it does best, getting pulses cooked in a vaguely practical amount of time.
That was always the trouble with dried pulses – the chickpeas, the kidney beans, the black beans, the butter beans et al. – cooking with them was anything but impulsive (unless, of course, you bought the tinned variety, which was always an option). Dried pulses, however, always involved a fair amount of advance planning: overnight soakage in water, then (in the case of chickpeas), 2 hours worth of simmering to get something suitably tenderised. The pressure cooker, along with the quick-soak method, revolutionised all of that.
With quick-soaking, the pulses are boiled rapidly for 2-3 minutes, then taken off the heat and left to soak in the hot liquid for at least 1 hour. Thereafter, pressure-cooking takes only minutes (20 of them, in the case of chickpeas), once things have built up the appropriate head of steam. I’m an ardent fan of the approach, given that my cooking over the years has involved an awful lot of pulses.
If, however, you should happen to put chickpeas or other pulses under pressure for significantly longer than the recommended time, well, they’ll get quite mushy indeed (and not in the emotional sense!). This is precisely what happened today when the resident sis decided to have a go at the chickpeas and got distracted somewhere in that critical pressure period. In the end, it didn’t really matter, though, as the chickpeas in question were destined (as they often are around here) for hummus, so they were going to get quite mushy anyway…
This is my own variation on classic hummus, which uses sesame seeds directly instead of the usual tahini (which is really just a roasted sesame paste). It also calls for less in the way of raw garlic than is typical, but add more if that’s to your taste.
You only need:
- 250g dried chickpeas (abt 600g cooked weight)
- 1 small clove garlic
- 1.5-2 tblsps sesame seeds
- 3 tblsps lemon juice (or to taste)
- 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
- If using dried chickpeas, soak and cook using whatever method suits the time and equipment you have available. Reserve the cooking liquid. If using tinned chickpeas, just drain and rinse.
- Toast the sesame seeds in a dry frying pan for about 4-5 minutes ’til they’ve turned a shade browner, then grind using a coffee or spice grinder.
- In a food processor, first add the garlic and give it a quick whizz to chop it.
- Add the cooked chickpeas, ground sesame seeds, the salt, lemon juice and (if you have it) a little of the reserved chickpea cooking liquid (or water if not). Blend to mix.
- Have a taste and see how you like it. You may like more lemon juice and/or salt. If so, add small amounts at a time, reblend and taste.
- If the mixture is too thick for your liking, add more chickpea cooking liquid or water.
- If you want to be traditional about it, you can garnish the hummus with some olive oil and a sprinkle of paprika. Or you can just eat it as is with whatever it is you like to dip into it, be it pitta bread, carrots, broccoli, celery etc.
- This is a big batch, enough for 6-ish as a lunch along with your choice of dipping bread and veg. Course, it’ll go further if you’re having other dips as well. I usually make batches this size or bigger and then freeze some in small, lunch-sized portions.