There are blog posts that are closer to my heart than others. This one today is not only a matter close to my heart but to a lot of what my nomadic life, this food blog and my personal values stand for. I’m talking about the art of cooking hummus and even more importantly a fundraising project to help war-torn Syria.
I recently became aware of an initiative organised by the non-profit organisation CanDo. CanDo have just launched a new crowdfunding platform, where 100% of all money raised for health projects in Syria, will go directly to the people who need it most. One of the projects, Ghiras Al Nahda, needs funds to help run mushroom growing workshops in war-torn Syria where many families are suffering from starvation and malnutrition – just £11,500 will support 135 families, and help feed over 800 people. The aim is to create sustainable sources for fresh food in Syria.
Now mushrooms are a common crop in Syrian cuisine and are not very popular in Middle Eastern recipes. However growing mushrooms allows Syrians to substitute those for meat that has become very expansive and difficult to get. By supporting projects like Ghiras Al Nahda war-affected communities will have a chance to enhance their poor living conditions. 100% of all funds raised go to those who need it most, so head to humanitarian crowd-funding platform www.can
Even though mushrooms are not very common in Syrian cuisine, all the more is hummus. If you have every been to a Middle Eastern country you might have noticed that the hummus tastes differently from what we can buy in western supermarkets. One of the reasons is probably the temperature it was served at. Hummus is usually eaten at room temperature and more often than not it’s served warm. When I first moved to Egypt and then to Turkey I thought that hummus must taste like warm avocado. It’s just not meant to be. This opinion quickly changed when I had my first bite of hummus. I now also believe that Cold hummus is a crime no one should commit.
Another difference might be how the hummus itself is prepared. There is a certain art to making it and according to world famous chef and cookbook author Yottam Ottolenghi there are a lot of false recipes out there. If you want to learn how to properly make hummus and why so many people prepare it the wrong way, have a read here. Or head straight to my recipe for Warm Hummus with Minced Mushrooms. Usually warm hummus is either served plain and topped with fresh herbs and pine nuts or it is loaded with ground beef (Israel), sucuk (Turkey) or spiced lamb (Lebanon). Less traditionally, you can have hummus with stewed tomatoes, roasted mushrooms or other vegetable toppings. I recommend eating the hummus on the same day as it tastes best fresh. Serve it with pita, vegetable sticks or as part of a mezze platter.
Warm Hummus with Minced Mushrooms
I’m sharing one of my favourite mushroom dish to raise awareness of Ghiras Al Nahda – a crowd-funding project that teaches locals how to grow mushrooms and feed families in war-torn Syria.
100% of all funds raised go to those who need it most, head to humanitarian crowd-funding platform www.can
- 300 g / 1 1/5 cup of cooked chickpeas (use either home cooked or tinned chickpeas)
- 60 g / 4 tbsp / 1/4 cup tahini
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 crushed garlic gloves
- 3-4 tbsp ice-cold water
- olive oil to drizzle
- 400 g mushrooms, finely minced
- 2 spring onions (the white part)
- 1 tbsp cooking oil like grapeseed oil
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp sweet paprika powder
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
- salt and pepper
- Preheat over to 180 °C/ 350°F
- Add cooked chickpeas to a blender or food processor and blend until you get a stiff paste. Then add tahini, lemon juice, crushed garlic and salt and blend again until everything is combined. With the machine still on, add ice cold water 1 tablespoon at a time and blend for another 3-5 minutes until the hummus is really creamy and smooth.
- Empty hummus into a clay or oven-proofed dish, cover with foil or an oven-proofed lit and bake for 10-15 min.
- In the meantime, heat the cooking oil in a skillet, add sliced onions and cook for 1-2 minutes. Then add the mushrooms and sautee for 5 min. Add a touch more of olive oil if needed and then add cumin, sweet paprika powder, cinnamon, pepper and salt and cook for another couple of minutes.
- Remove hummus from oven, top with warm mushrooms and serve with either pita, crackers or fresh veggies.