I love the complex, intense taste of preserved lemons. The first time I made them, I didn’t really know what to do with them. Now I go through them quickly. Chopped up, they make a fantastic garnish for Indian dishes, such as dal or chana masala. They also pack a ton of flavor into hummus.
Not only do they add flavor, these lemons help me conserve my precious olive oil. I go through olive oil pretty quickly and where I live, it can cost substantially more in bulk than it does in a glass bottle. As lemons ferment, they excrete quite a bit of oil, so with that, some liquid from the jar of lemons and a bit of cooking water from my beans, I don’t need to add olive oil to this hummus recipe (possibly heretical).
For this post, I used white beans because I had run out of chickpeas (more possible heresy). Either type works but chickpeas are more traditional. I cook soaked beans in my pressure cooker in mere minutes. If you want to save time in the kitchen, kick those plastic-lined cans of beans to the curb and eat tastier beans, I highly recommend you get your paws on a pressure cooker. Here’s how I cook beans in mine.
- 1 cup dried chickpeas or white beans, soaked for 6 hours or longer
- 1/2 cup reserved liquid from cooked beans
- 2 cloves garlic or to taste
- 3 quarters of a whole preserved lemon, including skins and pulp, seeds removed
- 2 tablespoons liquid from jar of preserved lemons
- 2 tablespoons tahini (here’s a recipe for homemade)
- 3/4 teaspoon cumin or to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
1. Cook beans in a pot on the oven, in a slow cooker or in a pressure cooker according to instructions. In my pressure cooker, the beans are ready as soon as the regulator starts to shake. Yours may take longer.
2. Drain beans and reserve some of the liquid.
3. In a food processor, process the garlic. Add the rest of the ingredients and whir until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, thin it out with some of the cooking water from the beans.
4. Store in the refrigerator for about a week to 10 days.
1. Super salty preserved lemons add quite a bit of salt to your recipe. Add a small amount of additional salt (the suggested 1/4 teaspoon maximum), taste and add more salt if desired.
2. I usually double this recipe for a vat of hummus but I can’t fit all of the ingredients in my food processor, so I whir it up in two separate batches.
3. If you can find it, add a strip of kombu seaweed to the pot of beans to reduce gas-producing raffinose sugars present in the beans (I can buy this in bulk at the fabulous Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco). Remove the kombu after cooking if desired, unless it has disintegrated. Or just eat it. People have told me they get the same effect from adding baking soda to their soaking beans.
If you prefer a more traditional hummus, you can find a recipe for that here.