C is for Chickpeas – Hummus

I have a soft spot for dips – I don’t know if I like them all (I’ve tried a few that weren’t my cup of tea – but I think its just because of how it was made and if it were made well, I’d probably have liked them too), but there are a few that I really, really like. This hummus is one such dip. I don’t know what it is about dips, but I love having something to dip breadsticks, crackers, chips, vegetable sticks etc. in. This month I chose to do a post on Hummus – a chickpea dip, since we’re at the C & D stage of the Eating The Alphabet series, hosted by Brenda of Meal Planning Magic. Chickpeas have a host of health benefits. They are high in fibre, help regulating blood fat and lowering blood sugar levels. You can read more about the health benefits of these little gems here, here and here.

I’d usually serve this hummus with pita bread, but the day I made the hummus, it completely slipped my mind to pick some up. I did the next best thing and made do with what was available in my kitchen, sliced bread which was lightly toasted and cut up. And it tasted great. I spiked the hummus a little by garnishing it with some red chilly powder, but if you don’t care for spicy food, you can simply leave it off. The recipe mentioned below is more of a guide than a recipe, I would suggest that you keep tasting as you go along and adjust the seasoning as required. Also, I hear that Tahini is an essential ingredient for a good hummus dip, I didn’t have any so I simply added some sesame seeds to the mix before blending. In the event I try using Tahini, I will update this post with my observations.

1 cup chickpeas, boiled and drained (You can use the canned variety if you’d like. You can find the method to boil your own chickpeas here. If you are boiling it yourself, reserve some of the liquid.)
1- 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced finely
1/4 tsp cumin powder
Red chilly powder, to garnish
A spring of fresh coriander, to garnish
Salt, to taste
In a blender, blitz the chickpeas, sesame seeds, garlic, and cumin powder using a little of the reserved liquid to aid the process. Don’t use too much as you don’t want it too runny.
Add the lemon juice and blitz again, scrapping down the sides of the bowl as needed. With the blender running, gradually add in the olive oil and blend till everything is smooth and creamy. 
Taste the dip and adjust the seasoning as required. At this stage, if you need to add salt, please do so.
Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish to your liking. 
If you’d like to join in on the fun, just comment and let me know and I’ll get back to you with the details.

Coconut Coriander Chutney – Savory Sandwich Spread

A coconut coriander chutney is probably one of the humblest of all sandwich fillings. It has so many wonderful flavors that mingle to form one well balanced spread. There is absolutely no cooking involved, which is a welcome relief in these sweltering conditions. I’ve jotted down the quantities and the ingredients that I use for the chutney in this post, but you can play around with them to get the flavors you prefer. In India, theres probably hundreds if not thousands of recipes for this chutney. This is one my grandmother and mother used, but my husband tweaked and I’d dare say perfected it. Its not too spicy so even children can enjoy this, and believe me they do.

This chutney keeps very well. So you can make it ahead of time and refrigerate it for up to a week and use it as and when you need to.

Here’s a few options on what you can do with this spread –
1) Chutney sandwich – Spread it over some buttered slices of bread. I think it goes well with slightly toasted slices as well.

2) Chutney Cheese sandwich – Butter a slice of bread and spread some of the chutney over it. Top with a slice of cheese or grated cheese, whatever you have at hand. Cover this with another slice of bread.

3) Veggie Delight sandwich – Butter a slice of bread and spread some of the chutney over it. Place some slices of tomato and cucumber on it. Cover this with another slice of bread.

These are just a few sandwich combos to get you started. I’m sure you’ll come up with many more and I’d love to hear about them. And oh yes, how can I forget –

4) With rice – On days of fasting, my mum used to serve us this chutney with a small portion of warm, plain rice to get us through the day.

Check out how I make my Coconut & Coriander Chutney here –

Coconut Coriander Chutney

1 cup freshly grated coconut
1 large bunch of fresh coriander, leaves and tender stalks (About 1 tightly packed cup)
6 small cloves of garlic or 2 large cloves of garlic
3/4″ ginger
1 green/red chilly
1 tbsp sugar
1 walnut sized ball of tamarind, soaked in 1/4 cup water
Salt to taste

Tip all the ingredients except the coconut into a blender or food processor. Blitz to form a puree.

Add the coconut and blitz again. You can leave this spread as coarse or grind it as finely as you like. I like it ground fine but not too fine. You may need to add a dash of water to help the ingredients grind well.

Taste and adjust the flavors, if needed.

Store in a container, refrigerate for up to a week and use as and when needed.

This recipe is linked to –
Mouthwatering Mondays
A Little Birdie Told Me
Tuesdays At the Table
Tuesday Night Supper Club
Delectable Tuesday
Let’s Do Brunch

How to make your own Mayonnaise

A lot of sources tell you that making mayonnaise at home can be a very daunting process. And so many of us, not wanting to waste precious time and ingredients simply buy the stuff that comes in a jar from the store. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t condone the store bought stuff. As a matter of fact, we always bought ours from the store till a few years ago, when my husband and I decided to try making some at home one weekend. What brought this one, you ask? Well, honestly, till date, we haven’t been able to figure that out but I’m really glad that we tried it out. The outcome – we never bought mayo from a store again.

Its a very simple process, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If we can do it, so can you. I did a little bit of reading before we tried it out and a lot of sources tell you to keep a 1:1 ratio. ie. 1 egg to 1 cup oil. Thats the basic. I suggest you tweak the flavor to your liking.

We made a double batch of this mayonnaise for the barbecue party and used it for both, the cole slaw and the cucumber salad. Both recipes to follow.

Homemade Mayonnaise
1 egg
1 cup oil
1 tsp. mustard
Salt to taste
Sugar to taste
A few drops of lime juice or vinegar

Put the egg, mustard, a pinch of salt and a little sugar into a blender.

Blitz for a few seconds to get it started.

Keeping the blender running, carefully and slowly add the oil in a stream through the top of the jar (the opening through which you can add liquids). Make sure that you add the oil slowly.

Once it starts thickening, stop the blender, taste adjust seasoning, add the lime juice or vinegar and blitz again for a couple of seconds.

NOTE: If you find that after thickening, the mayo looks like it has sort of split, don’t worry. This simply means you’ve added a little too much oil. Simply add another egg to it and blitz again. You may need a little more oil but add gradually only till it thickens.

While the 1:1 ratio works most of the time, its success also depends on the size of the egg. So start of with about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of oil. If you’ve reached the desired consistency, you can stop adding the oil. If you need more of it, feel free to do so.

Transfer to a clean and dry glass jar and refrigerate. I use this in salads, sandwiches, and other dressings as well.

I hope you try making your own mayonnaise at home.If you do, I’d love to hear how it worked for you.

This recipe is linked to –
Not Baaad
Meatless Mondays
Mouthwatering Mondays
Just Another Meatless Monday
My Meatless Mondays