How to make your own Hummus

1 11 2010

Sometimes I  struggle here in Ireland, I really do. One of the things that I struggle with is that some ethnic foods here just aren’t very good and by not very good I mean downright awful!

Take hummus for example, I have always eaten hummus and to me it is a common thing to have in the fridge or to see in the shops, over here you would think we were dealing some far more rarefied beast all together.

A lot of shops just don’t stock it at all and those that do sell this bland flavourless muck that seems to have taken hummus hostage someplace and is masquerading in its place. You do come across some pretty good homemade, organic hummus at farmers markets etc but you had better popped to the bank first as you will need deep pockets to afford any.

So it is a good thing that I make my own, here is what you will need:

400g tin of chickpeas

4 cloves of garlic

juice of 1 lemon

2tbsp of Tahini (sesame seed paste)

1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil


Drain the chickpeas and place into a blender along with all of the other ingredients, blitz them all together until you have a nice smooth paste.

And there we have it, hummus,  I fail to see why some people think that this quick, easy and cheap dip should carry a price tag of €4/5 for 150g.

This hummus will keep for about 3 days in the fridge but I would be surprised if it ever lasted that long!

Homemade Rogan Josh

28 10 2010

The other night was curry night at home; I knew straight off the bat that I was going to make my chana masala, onion bhajis, bombay potatoesflat breads and the lemon pickle that Jamie Oliver made recently in 30 minute meals.

What I didn’t work out quite so quickly was what I was going to make as a meat dish.

I hadn’t been going to make a meat dish and had been going to do a nice vegetable dish instead but my brothers were adamant that they needed meat.

Now my tastes run towards the far hotter and spicier end of the scale and I normally make myself a vindaloo or a phal, I knew that these wouldn’t be welcomed with open arms so decided to make my take on Rogan Josh instead.

Traditionally Rogan Josh would use lamb but it is equally good with beef or chicken as well.

Ingredients (4-6servings):

1kg of diced lamb (beef or chicken also work well)

400g tinned tomatoes/tomato concasse

3 large onions

5 cloves of garlic

3″ piece of ginger

7 green cardamom pods

1 medium-sized chilli (you can add more if you want)

a bunch of fresh coriander

3tsp dried coriander leaf

3tsp garam masala

1 1/2tsp coriander seeds

1 1/2tsp cumin seeds

1tsp paprika

1tsp turmeric

1tsp black mustard seeds

1/2tsp ground nutmeg

1/2tsp mace

1/2tsp asafoetida


  • mix the dried coriander with the meat and a small drizzle of olive oil, set aside and leave until it is needed.
  • chop the onions into a fine dice and sweat in a saucepan for 30 mins
  • peel and chop the garlic and ginger finely, and continue to soften for a further 20 mins
  • add the cardamoms, coriander seeds, mustard seeds and cumin seeds to a dry pan and heat until the seeds start to pop, add these to the saucepan along with the paprika, turmeric, garam masala, nutmeg, mace and asafoetida making sure to stir everything together well.
  • empty the meat and coriander mixture into a pan and brown off.
  • add the meat to the main saucepan and use some stock or water to deglaze the frying pan, add the juices etc to the saucepan.
  • stir in the chopped tomatoes/tomato concasse and the chopped fresh coriander and chopped chillis. Leave to simmer for at least 90 minutes.

Serve with basmati rice and your choice of accompaniments.

Chana Masala

30 04 2010

Last Saturday I was posed a little challenge; our friends were coming over for dinner and I had been asked to cook, so far so normal, however what I hadn’t realised was that they have lost their minds and decided to detox, shudder.

Turns out that unlike normal people they have decided not to eat wheat, meat, dairy, sugar or alcohol so basically I was left with twigs and leaves to play with. YAY!

Still I’m not one to concede defeat easily, more out of stubborn belligerence then anything else.So I scratched my head for a while and then realised I actually know an awful lot of Southern Indian recipes that have precisely zero in the way of any of the ingredients that our weirdos friends were avoiding.

So I started cooking, I decided upon Urad Dal, a little pickled cucumber and red onion salad, some flat breads made with gram flour and a personal favourite of mine Chana masala, or as my girlfriend politely refers to it Colon Surprise ( a reference to the stupidly high level of fibre in the dish).

To give you an overview of Chana masala it is a deliciously spicy chickpea and tomato curry that you can make as hot or as mild as you dare ( I give what I believe to be a relatively mild version here but personally think it benefits from being a lot hotter!).

A lot of people like this as a side dish but personally I like it by itself with just plain boiled rice and a little bit of raita.


2x 400g tins of chick peas

A tin of good chopped tomatoes

2 tsp Garam masala

1 1/2 tsp Tumeric

1 1/2 tspCumin seeds (powder is ok if you can’t get seeds)

1tsp paprika

1/2 tsp asafoetida

1 tsp black mustard seeds

2 large onions finely diced

4 garlic cloves finely chopped

2” piece of ginger peeled and grated

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tomato finely chopped

1 large handful of coriander leaves

2 red chilis finely chopped

Salt and pepper to taste


Fry off the onions over a medium heat until they have softened, then add in the garlic, chilis and ginger, fry until all are lightly browned and softened.

Now add in your dried spices and mix well.

Fry off the spices until all of the onions, garlic etc are well coated. Now add in 1 ½ cans of the drained chickpeas and all of the tinned tomatoes.

Mash the remaining chick peas until you have a fairly thick paste, this can be added along with the lemon juice about 5 minutes after the whole chickpeas.

Simmer over a medium heat for approx 15 minutes, after this add in the chopped coriander leaves and the chopped tomatoes and simmer for another 7 – 10 minutes, if when you are adding the coriander and tomatoes the dish seems too thick add in sufficient water to loosen it.

Serve the chana masala with plain boiled rice and some coriander and as a garnish

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