Hummus, (much like the mighty avocado), is often downplayed as the sidekick, but in this meal it is a co-conspirator of awesomeness. You can really fill this hummus bowl with anything, but my favourite is eggplant stew. This dish was inspired by one of our favourite restaurants in Stockholm, the cozy Reggev Hummus ("We are all hummussapiens"), where they serve up this dish with different combinations. They also serve this dish with an amazing dollop of lemongrass chili sauce. I haven't mastered this yet, but will add it on here when I do because it really makes this dish phenomenal.
While you have to make a couple different components for this dish, it's a relatively straightforward, cheap, and a crowd-pleaser. We like to make our stews pretty thick for this dish so that you can just use the naan or pita to scoop it right up, so no utensils needed!
We make our naan using Aarti's Sequeira's recipe - it's not very finicky, and the only thing you need to be aware of is that it's really really wet...I barely knead it, just mix it all really well and let it sit. When you are ready to roll it, use liberal amounts of flour! This is how mine looks before rising:
While the dough is rising, start your stew. First, fry up vegetables (onions, garlic, eggplant) to get some browning going, then add spices (cumin, paprika, cinnamon, chili flakes, salt, bay leaf) for a couple of minutes until fragrant. The cinnamon is super important, and I Iike to throw in both the powdered and stick form. The tomatoes go in last (canned, here), and I simmer this for a bit until it's thickened properly. The length of this step will likely be dependent on the tomatoes you choose to use. I find that some canned tomatoes require some major tweaking...addition of sweetener such as brown sugar or acidity such as lemon or vinegar may be necessary.
When the stew is simmering, it's time to start your hummus. I personally like a really smooth, fluffy light hummus - I'm not sure if it's just my imagination, but I've tried a bunch of different things (for example, shelling all the chickpeas, which I swore by until I tried this)...and it seems like just boiling the chickpeas until hot and using the boiling liquid for blending is the secret! Try it out and let me know if it worked for you. (I should note...the hummus I made today doesn't look that smooth because I was trying a new brand of roasted tahini that wasn't completely blended, so the little bits are probably sesame seeds. I'll never use it again.)
Reserve the boiling liquid, and take those hot chickpeas and add tahini, smoked paprika, cumin, salt and of lemon. Blend, and keep adding the reserved chickpea liquid until it's super smooth and the right consistency. I do the bowl test...if you can smear it around the sides of bowl without it sliding down, it's good to go!
If you're making your own bread accompaniment, this is the time to do it...otherwise, schmear that hummus on the sides of a bowl, spoon in some stew, and top with a handful of cilantro. Dig in while it's warm!
While I love this eggplant stew, I would love to hear more ideas from you guys of other dishes that would go well with hummus! I'm always looking to change it up!