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,
Put the chickpeas in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil over high heat. Boil for 1 minute, and then strain. Put the chickpeas in a bowl with the bicarbonate of soda, cover with water and soak overnight.
Strain the chickpeas and rinse under cold running water for 5 minutes. Transfer to a saucepan, cover with plenty of water, and bring to the boil over medium heat. Cook for 1½ hours until the chickpeas are soft enough to mash with your fingers. Put the cooked chickpeas in a food processor and blend into a smooth paste. Finely crush the garlic and stir into the chickpea paste. Add the lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, capsicum paste, tahini, salt, olive oil and paprika and blend into a smooth purée. Spoon the humus into a bowl.
Peel the cucumber and finely chop. Finely chop the onion. Slice the red capsicum, remove the seeds and stalk, and finely chop. Chop the sucuk very finely. Chop the day-old bread into small cubes.
Put the sucuk in a small frying pan over low heat and bring to a simmer, then cook until the fat begins to sizzle and emerge. Add the bread cubes and capsicum, and cook for 2 minutes until crisp. Remove the sucuk, bread and capsicum from the pan and mix with the cucumber and red onion.
Using a spoon, swirl the humus so it looks like a whirlpool, and then scatter the sucuk mixture into the swirls. Serve the bowl of humus with grilled pide or pita crisps.
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