A well-made humus is a wonderful form of comfort food. But it’s not Turkish. If you’re offered it in Turkey you’re probably in a place run by someone with an Arabic background. (This is not to say that I’m taking a side in the humus war. You won’t catch me making a declaration on whether its origin is Syrian or Israeli or Palestinian or Lebanese. All I know is it’s not Turkish.)
At my restaurant in Sydney, we try to change our menu every three months. The discussion with my cooks and waiters begins with me saying: ‘Lets lose the humus—it’s not Turkish.’ My manager, Fatih, always replies: ‘Leave it alone. It’s been seven years, and the customers love it.’ So I’ve compromised. I’ve turned an Arabic speciality into a Turkish dish by adding ingredients familiar to me— pomegranates to sweeten it, capsicum to colour it and sucuk (spicy beef sausage) to give it heat. My customers are right.