Houmous Mutabal Bil Tahinia Recipe

This recipe is meant to celebrate the deliciousness of tahinia and chickpeas. Tahinia is produced from sesame seeds in the ancient factories of Palestine, from Jerusalem to Nablus, where a beautiful nutty scent emanates across the historic alleyways.

However, the essence of this dish is the chickpeas, or hummus in Arabic, not the variations that we are witnessing crop up across the world, where “hummus” seems to have become a term to describe any kind of dip with tahinia.

In Arabic, the word mutabal means “seasoned”, but it describes so much more. Mutabal is seasoning with tahinia, fresh lemon juice, herbs, garlic, and spices which ends up being a mixture called tatbileh.

I call for almond slivers and sumac in the recipe, but parsley is a very good garnish too.

This recipe is extracted from Bethlehem by Fadi Kattan (Hardie Grant, £28), Photography by Ashley Lima.

Try Fadi's recipe for Ka'ek Al-quds & Eggs or Dibs and Tahinia Shortbread.

Ingredients for Houmous Mutabal Bil Tahinia

How to make Houmous Mutabal Bil Tahinia

  1. Drain the chickpeas and combine them in a saucepan with the baking soda and 1 ¼ L / 5 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat and then decrease the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes, until the chickpeas are soft throughout. While cooking, regularly remove the foam that can float on top.
  2. Drain the chickpeas, reserving the cooking water. Reserve a few chickpeas for decorating the dish and transfer the rest to a mixing bowl. Use a handheld blender at low speed to crush the chickpeas into a paste. Add the garlic cloves and continue blending. Slowly add the tahinia, salt, cumin, and lemon juice while blending. Add 4 tablespoons of the chickpea cooking water while blending. If the paste is not smooth, you may need to add up to 1 more tablespoon.
  3. Using a large spoon or a spatula, gently fold in 3 tablespoons of the olive oil until you obtain a creamy, silky consistency.
  4. In a small pan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the almond slivers and fry until lightly coloured, about 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
  5. Transfer the houmous to a plate and sprinkle the reserved chickpeas, the almonds, and sumac on top. Drizzle with a little olive oil and serve.
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