Strangely Hummus is not that popular in Tehran or northern provinces but it is common among Arab-Iranians in southern Iran because of their Arab influence; and of course because they are close to Arab countries. But both tahini (Ardeh in Farsi language) & chickpeas (Nokhod) are two very popular ingredients in Iran. I don't understand what's wrong with hummus then?! :P
Even if I have not travelled yet to the North West of Iran (Western and Eastern Azarbaijan) I always heard stories about their rich culture & food. And of how their women are the masters of Iranian-turkish cuisine. I learned that Chickpeas (my favorite legume!) are very popular there and most of all in Tabrizi cuisine. They have many dishes made with chickpeas like Pollows (mixed persian rice), Soups and Ahes (Persian minestrone).
The most simple one is called "Pishmish-e Nokhod" (Cooked Chickpeas) which is served for brunch during family gatherings and also used as street food too. Pishmish is cooked chickpeas with clarified butter and salt. Served warm, with fresh lemon juice or vinegar. Some people say that there were vendors who used to mash the chickpeas and add some herbs to the dish too, but no one knows for sure how it used to be served in the streets. But I can only imagine how amazing it could have been eating warm tasty chickpeas while walking through Tabriz Grand Bazaar in cold & snowy winters.
When I was in Iran this September it was barberry & walnut season and I brought some fresh ones for myself. And from my previous trip to Umbria I still had a bunch of different legumes. So I chose the Black chickpeas for this recipe. I soaked them in water overnight before making a classic tasty hummus with it; and because in middle east, and most of all in Iran, we love to use sweet and sour ingredients and nuts I made a barberry sauce to give a hint of sweetness and sourness to this easy levantine recipe, and I garnished it with some walnuts and mollow flowers for the final touch. The idea for the sauce comes from the mixture of barberries, sugar, saffron and water that we use to make our famous "Zereshk Polo" (barberry rice/polow). Everything came together easily, such a pleasant and easy dish for the cold but still beautiful and sunny days of October.
Hope you enjoy it as much as I did :)
For 4 People
- 3 cups ( 500 g ) black chickpeas
- 1 cup chickpea water (cooking water)
- 1 tablespoon thick tahini
- juice of 2 limes & zest of 1 lime
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (or more if needed)
For Barberry & Saffron sweet and sour sauce
- 2 tablespoon Persian dry barberry (you can find them in Persian markets and stores)
- 2 tablespoon brown sugar
- 4 tablespoon water
- a good pinch of high quality saffron
- finely chopped walnuts
- finely chopped parsley
- a little bit of dry mallow
- Soak black chickpeas in advance - 8 to 10 hours before. Then drain and cook them in water until soft. (keep the chickpea water for later)
- Let the black chickpeas cool down a little bit before making a hummus.
- Meanwhile prepare the barberry sauce. In a small saucepan add barberries, water, sugar & saffron, bring to boil on a low-medium heat until sugar melts and it s let it boil for 5-10 seconds. Then blend the barberries using a hand blender and set aside.
- Place the warm black chickpeas, its cooking water, tahini, lime juice, lime zest, chili powder & salt into a food processor and blend until you like the thickness & smoothness of the hummus. Taste and adjust salt, lime & chili. And add more of the cooking water if you like the hummus looser and smoother.
- Then add the extra virgin olive oil and mix again.
- You can mix the whole barberry sauce with the hummus or serve it on top of your hummus.
- Serve it with some extra virgin olive oil, chopped walnuts, parsley & dry mallow flowers.