Almost Turkish Recipes

Roasted Beet Hummus (Pancarlı Humus)




In my first couple of years in the US, I couldn’t get over how popular hummus was in this country. I was surprised because hummus had managed to become popular despite how it was prepared and served: dense in texture and bland in flavor. It wasn’t anything like how we prepare and serve it—and Turks are not even the masters of it. Back home hummus is soft and airy in texture; light, lemony9, and spiced in flavor. It is served in shallow plates, never in deep bowls. You cannot be parsimonious with lemon juice, water, and olive oil; a good hummus needs them.

My experimentations with hummus have a lot to do with having kids. Realizing what a nutritious, not just delicious, snack it was I started adding or hiding colorful vegetables in hummus. Beets are just one of them and absolutely our family favourite. 

    

1 small to medium beet root
1 ½ cups cooked check peas
2 tbsp tahini
Juice of 1-1 ½ lemons
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup yogurt
Salt
4 tbsp olive oil (3 in and 1 for the top)
Water (even better cooking water from the chickpeas) as necessary

Optional
Paprika
Cumin
Sesame seeds
Nigella seeds
Parsley

-The Beet: Wash well and then cut the bottom and top parts of the beet root. Cut the beet into four or, if it’s a big one, 8 pieces. Toss with a little bit of olive oil, place on a parchment paper and bake for 45 minutes in a preheated oven at 400F. (Do not discard the stems and leaves if they came with those. Try this beet greens with olive oil recipe.)
-The Chickpeas: I always buy chickpeas in bulk, soak them in water overnight, and then boil them until cooked for 1-1 ½ hours. It is best to use them right when they’re warm since the skins will be soft and easy to be smoothened by the blender.

Most authentic way of making hummus requires peeling the skins off. I find it very time consuming and have figured out an easy way out; If you are using canned chickpeas, put them in a pot with water and boil for 5-10 minutes to soften the skin.

I take what I need and freeze the rest of the chickpeas in jars filled with 1-2 cups for later use.

-Put tahini, olive oil, and lemon juice in the blender and run until smooth.
-Add the beet (~1 cup) and blend.
-Add chickpeas, yogurt, and salt.  
-Add water to thin. Humus should be soft and fluffy. It most definitely should not be like a paste.
-Taste and add more lemon juice, salt, or water.
-Ways to serve: Hummus is usually served in a wide shallow bowl in Turkey, never in a dip bowl. For regular hummus, we usually heat 1-2 tbsp olive oil in a small pan. When it’s hot, before it burns, we add paprika and let sizzle for 5 seconds. Then pour it over the hummus on its serving plate. Chopped parsley is another way to serve it. Some people like to drizzle olive oil and sprinkle cumin powder on top—this is my least favorite. I like to serve beet hummus with chopped parsley or dill on top or with sesame or nigella seeds. All is delicious.
-Traditionally, hummus is scooped with bread/pita bread; however, it’s good with pita chips, crackers, and fresh vegetables.    
     

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