I can imagine a Lebanese or Near-Eastern reader raising an eyebrow at the title of this post. In Lebanon, only chickpea-based dips (mixed with tahini) are called hummus. The reason is simple: Hummus means chickpea and the chickpea dip is actually called hummus m’tabbal, meaning seasoned chickpeas. In the US, hummus (tahini-based chickpea dip) has become so popular that any version of a tahini-based dip is now called hummus.
The idea here came from Aline Kamakian’s Armenian Cuisine. Apparently Aline does not like chickpeas nor grilled eggplant and her aunt thought of this dip to entice her. In her recipe, the zucchinis are boiled then mixed with tahini, a touch of citric acid and garnished with cumin and red pepper powder. It was a bit bland to my taste, so I added mashed garlic, the juice of a lemon and more cumin and sneakily threw in a chopped green chili pepper (my daughter does not like heat and will spot chili at the first bite, looking at me with reproach) INGREDIENTS:
- 1 1/2 pounds zucchinis, peeled (the skin of the zucchinis in the US is bitter, which will add a sour taste to this dip); if using the Mexican calabasas, the skin can stay on
- 1/3 cup tahini
- 1 lemon, juiced (can substitute 1/2 teaspoon of citric acid)
- 2 or 3 garlic cloves, mashed (optional)with salt to taste
- 1 small onion, chopped fine
- 1 jalapeño seeded and chopped (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper powder (Aleppo pepper, chili powder, paprika, etc)
- 1/4 cup olive oil, to garnish
1. Peel the zucchinis and place in a Dutch oven (cut off both ends); add about 1 1/2 cup of water and bring to a simmer; let the zucchinis cook until the water evaporates and they tenderize. Meanwhile, prepare the tahini-based sauce. In a bowl, pour the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, spices and mix to combine; add a bit of water if it thickens too much (keep in mind the zucchinis still have plenty of water). 2. Once the zucchinis are soft, let them cool a few minutes then add the sauce and mash the mixture in a food processor; add the chopped onion and chili if using. Taste and adjust seasoning and serve with a drizzle of olive oil at room temperature, with pita chips or as is. Lebanese zucchinis grow at the speed of light in the Summer and are sweet and tiny.