Hummus with Pine Nuts on Homemade Pita

May 14, 2006

pita hummus sandwich

Perhaps I should re-title this blog Cooking with Chopsticks: A guide to cooking for one occasionally homesick foreigner in Japan. With a strange array of ingredients available at the grocery stores and markets and familiar ingredients only sold at out-of-the-way and over-priced import stores, the old favorites can be hard to find and unaffordable on a single income. But that is where the challenge begins.

In most import stores, perhaps the only thing I've found that's sold for reasonable prices are canned beans of kinds not found in the normal grocery store (which only carries azuki, large black beans, and white beans that might be white kidney beans). I would prefer dried beans that don't float in that strange liquid, but they're at least twice as expensive. Recently after being enticed by my friends' conversation about hummus, I bought some canned garbonzo beans at Meidi-ya on Shijo Ave.

The resulting hummus was most fulfilling, and since my former host mother is a marvel at bread-making, I asked her to make some pita bread to go along. Although I was nervous if this dish would appeal to the Japanese palate, it was a success! Even my host brother who dislikes beans gobbled up his pita dipped generously in hummus.

The next day in my apartment, I made a sandwich for lunch that was incredibly satisfying! Into the pita I spread hummus, laid lettuce, tomato, and cucumber, a dab of mustard, and for lack of falafel, a small omelet that I made by adding a touch of water to one egg and stirring it vigorously with salt, pepper, and a bit of dried thyme. This I scrambled gently in a pan, but before it started to dry, I scraped it all together into a mound the shape of the bread. The result was an omelet fit perfectly to the pita.

Here is the recipe I used for the hummus, very basic. I will post the pita bread recipe as soon as I've tested it myself.

Hummus with Pine Nuts
(adapted from the Epicurious.com recipe)

2 garlic cloves

1/2 tsp salt

1 can garbonzo beans, thoroughly rinsed
1/3 cup tahini or whatever sesame paste is available – I used Chinese Chi Ma Jan, because it comes in bigger jars than the Japanese Nerigoma

1/2 of a juicy lemon's worth of lemon juice (us to taste)

2 tbs olive oil

1/2 cup water that's not from the can!
one handful fresh parsley

2 tbs olive oil

2 tbs pine nuts

In a blender or food processor, combine garlic, beans, sesame paste, lemon, 2 tbs oil, water, and salt, and blend thoroughly. Add salt to taste and water to smooth the texture.

Pour the hummus into a serving dish, rinse the blender, and throw in the parsley and 2 tbs oil. Puree thoroughly until you have a green colored olive oil.

Toast the pine nuts in a dry (no oil) pan until they turn lightly brown. Set them aside to cool.

Sprinkle olive oil and pine nuts on top of the hummus just before serving.

Ittadakimasu!

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6 Responses to “Hummus with Pine Nuts on Homemade Pita”

  1. linda Says:

    Yummy! I love hummus! The pita looks good too, just a bit thicker than you would normally have.

  2. Hanna Says:

    Haha! My host mother has only ever had pita she herself has made, so I agree it’s a bit thicker than usual.

  3. Lucas Says:

    Hi Hanna

    I don’t think you should be describing tofu as a meat substitute. It is defnitely not that as far as I am concerned. it is like saying that carrot is a celery substitute. It is an option, but definitely not a definition! Sure tofu and meat are both high in protein, but both have so many different attractive qualities. Unfortunately Tofu gets really bad press because many people think that it is only a health food. it has so much more to offer, as I KNOW you know.
    Sorry to say this, as I love your blog, but I am in a narky mood, and am complaining to everyone!

  4. Hanna Says:

    Lucas,

    You are very right about tofu. Sadly, I only rarely find time to write this blog, and then only when I’m quite tired. Thank you for nevertheless finding even a snippet of value. I’ve just done my best in a completely exhausted state to fix my sin against tofu. My appologies. (^_^)

  5. Courtney Says:

    It’s so funny to read your blog. Two years ago I was a homesick foreigner living in Hamamatsu, Japan. The others Americans and I would spend a week at a time rounding up ingredients for Mexican food in a desperate attempt to recreate a burrito. I remember cringing as I paid 1,500 yen for an imported package containing 4 tortillas. Good luck with the food hunting!

  6. Jason Says:

    Hey now you can get Hummus in Hamamatsu at:

    Tirnan-Og, KK House, and a place called Slowporch in Hamakita. The brand they have is called Satorijava Traders Hummus.

    4 flavors: Sun-dried tomato, edamame, regular, and artichoke.


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