A new kind of humus

There was a photo going around the ~social media~ of an avocado that was perfectly cubed in its husk. Multiple amigos, separately, shared the photo with me, knowing my love of avocados. Since I am in El Salvador, and avocados are abundant this time of year, I retaliated with my own geometrically sliced avo:

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There is a seed (legume), new to me, that is “in season” right now. It’s called semilla de paterna (literally, paternal seed). The legume was introduced to me by a friend who has a company called Terra Mantra that makes all kinds of delicious natural jams and products. We did an exchange: I taught them how to make Beer Bread and I got to see how to make a humus using this seed (photo below from my friend and fellow Fulbrighter Pam).

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Semilla de Paterna is surrounded with a sweet, white coating that can be eaten as is. The bright green seed needs to be cooked– usually boiled or cooked in ashes for up to 40 minutes. Luckily, a bag of already cooked semilla de paterna can be bought for $0.50 in the market. I bought a bag of my own with lemon juice and salt. The seeds can be eaten whole, with lemon juice and salt and even chile, as a snack. OR, it can be made into a delicious humus…

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Like a typical garbanzo-bean humus, the semilla de paterna humus is simple: beans, olive oil (we used a mix of olive and coconut oil), garlic, salt, pepper, and an optional spoonful of tahini or nuts.

The resulting beer bread and paterna humus mix were a divine combination. Fresh and hearty and full of distinct flavors.

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I would say that the humus tastes most like regular humus, but with brighter notes than a humus with garbanzo beans. While garbanzo bean humus has a creamy, nutty, earthy taste, the semilla de paterna humus is still earthy, but with a suggestion of an unidentifiable herb, and again, brighter.

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I had to make the humus again, this time, side-by-side with garbanzo-bean humus and sprinkled with paprika.

It’s refreshing to be constantly reminded of the variety of foods I have yet to try. I will continue to relish in the new learning opportunities, especially when they end in a delicious snack.

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Beetroot Humus

First day back to class and the start of second term began as one of those really rainy gross days that stayed rainy and chilly throughout the afternoon.

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When I’m stuck with a day that’s grey…

And who doesn’t find comfort in boiling beets and chickpeas for an hour?

Beetroot Humus

  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1 boiled beet, peeled and chopped (or baked– would make the humus more viscous)
  • 3 Tablespoons Tahini
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons Olive oil
  • Teaspoon salt
  • Grind up some pepper
  • A combination of Paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper, and Indian masala spice blend in pinches or teaspoonfuls until it’s your desired spice level

Place all ingredients into a food processor (blender works too– just pause and stir more with a spoon) and blend away. Add lemon juice/ olive oil if the humus is too thick. Adjust spices. Blend again. Serve it up– cut up some carrots and snack at it!