Dip into Middle East with hummus

June 30, 1993|By Kit Snedaker | Kit Snedaker,Copley News Service

An appetizer from the Middle East called hummus and made of garbanzo beans has become a favorite in this country. It's a mixture of pureed beans, garlic, olive oil and tahini (pureed sesame seeds). This last is sold in cans.

The dip is great on vegetables, chips and, best of all, small pieces of Middle Eastern pita bread. All of these are acceptable, but the hummus itself, made the old-fashioned way, is full of oil.

Now, with the '90s upon us, variations have appeared that are as 66TC good as the original. Here are three I recommend, adapted from "Cooking Light," published by the magazine of the same name, "Mediterranean Light" by Martha Rose Schulman and "Simply Light Cooking" from Weight Watchers.

White bean hummus

Makes 2 servings

1/4 pound rinsed, drained canned white kidney beans

1 tablespoon tahini (sesame paste)

2 teaspoons chopped shallot

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

-- pepper

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill or 1/2 teaspoon dill weed

2 medium celery ribs cut in 2-inch pieces

Put all ingredients except dill and celery in food processor and process until smooth. Spread on celery pieces; sprinkle with dill. Recipe may be doubled and tripled.

Tofu hummus

Makes 2 cups

3 cloves garlic, halved

1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans

3/4 cup chopped onion

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

1/2 cup soft tofu

2 tablespoons lemon juice

pinch salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons sesame oil

1/4 teaspoon hot sauce

Puree garlic and drained garbanzo beans in food processor. Saute onion in olive oil in nonstick skillet until transparent and whir with bean mixture. Add rest of ingredients, process just to blend and chill. Serve with raw vegetables or crackers as a dip.

Low-fat hummus

Makes 12 servings

1/2 pound dried garbanzos or 2 cups canned garbanzos

1 quart water

pinch salt

2 large cloves garlic

4 to 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons tahini, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt (optional)

1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt

Cook garbanzos in quart of salted water until soft or use canned Puree beans with garlic in food processor. add lemon juice, olive oil, tahini, cumin, salt to taste and yogurt.

Blend until thoroughly smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings. Transfer to serving bowl and cover.

Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with raw vegetables or small pieces of pita bread or crackers.

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