as I gazed upon the Beanies beans for inspiration I spotted the most fantastic of UK companies Hodmedods. Now a decade young, these are pioneers of pulses as well as rejuvenating interest in indigenous varieties at risk of being forgotten. I could wax lyrical for many paragraphs at how fabulous they are but you could just take a look at their website if you’re interested in further background.
They have kindly saved me another few paragraphs by covering the question ‘Why Buy Dry?’ in their blog which also covers some fuel costs too. Whilst there I saw their Yellow Pea Hummus recipe but I’d already set my sights on the Mix #3-All the Peas which is a UK grown 5 variety mix of Red Fox Carlin, Black Badger Carlin, Whole Blue, Whole Yellows and Marrowfat peas. Any mix I see I struggle to imagine beyond a stew and whilst Hodmedods are yet to have a recipe specific to this me, they declare any of their pea recipes will work well and the packet suggests sprouting them, salads, stews and humous. As my houmous tub mountain grew alongside prices so I thought I’d test out just how versatile the peas really are and reduce my plastic habit, as their cellophane packet is compostable to boot! It also happens to be at the cheaper end of the pulse scale.
They use a pressure cooker which I never invested in. Still keen to minimise the fuel consumption I considered my dusty Slow Cooker packed away never to be seen til winter…This is actually a good and (I thought) economical alternative as vigorous boiling is not ideal for dried pulse cooking and there’s no risk of a boil over. Economy depends on what you’re comparing it to and that is commonly a conventional oven which makes a slow cooker the more economical. Slow cooker on 6 hours vs gas hob for 30-40 mins is uncertain so I stuck with gas.
Soaking time time is 6 hours or overnight.
500g dried peas could yield you around 2kg houmous. This does sound a very large amount but for the average vegan if you cut us, we bleed houmous! It’s freezable and much more than a dip (see suggestions in the method) and when you add it to your cooking you can sneak some extra fibre and veg quota into a fussy eater!
The original recipe uses 3-4 cloves garlic and cooks them along with the beans. I have a high garlic tolerance so just popped 3 large cloves in 5 minutes before the end of cooking time and found that insufficient. Halfway through blitzing I smushed 1 more garlic clove and poured over another tbsp of lemon juice (to acid ‘cook’ it for about 10 mins) which was more to my level. I would be cautious with whatever bouillon you use-they vary a lot in saltiness and again it is down to personal preference. Only once you’re satisfied with everything else would I add more salt.
I found the original lemon quota insufficient so either use bottled juice and add to taste or have a few spares. If you are ever short of lemon juice, sumac is an excellent alternative. It’s a ground dried dark pink berry you can sprinkle on/in dishes to add a sour/acidic/ lemon-esque flavour.
I find freshly toasted sesame seeds a good addition to the houmous mix-I’ve been told it tastes more ‘houmousy’ (whatever that means). You can also save some for a garnish. I keep a mix of toasted sesame, nigella and cumin seeds in a jar (ratio 2:2:1) to add a little texture to an array of middle eastern & indian dishes, salads and dips.
If you prefer silky smooth and/or stiff (i.e cement like) houmous I’d recommend using a high powered blender and blitzing in batches. I used a long suffering stick blender and started off with half the beans and added more liquid and beans as i went. The motor struggled a smidge but made it through! Given the colour of the cooking water i was concerned that my final mix would end up an unappetising dysentery brown, but given that the majority of the mix are similar colour to chick peas on their inside , it wasn’t that much darker. You could always add some roasted peppers or tomatoes, or caramelised onions to give a little vibrancy to the mix if you prefer.
- 500g Mix #3 all the Peas or Whole Yellow Peas
- Aromatics if you wish (Onion, Bay Leaf etc)
- 3 or 4 cloves Garlic
- 1 tbsp Bouillon Powder (I used 1/2 Tsp ‘River Cottage Organic Veg Stock Paste’)
- 3 tbsp Tahini
- Optional 1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds)
- Juice of 1 Lemon (I used about 5 Tbsp Biona Organic Lemon Juice in the end!)
- 2 tbsp Olive or Rapeseed Oil
- Salt to taste
- Sumac, Smoked Paprika or other seasoning to garnish
- Soak the peas overnight in cold water.
- Drain the soaked peas, place in a pan of cold water (with aromatics if you wish, I added a quartered an onion and a bay leaf) and bring to the boil. Simmer for 30-50 mins (depends on age of beans and water hardness).
- Leave to cool for around 5 minutes. Drain – but save the cooking stock, you’ll need it!
- Add the tahini, lemon juice, some of the stock, oil and salt.
- Use a stick blender in the pan or transfer to a blender, and blend to your preferred texture, coarse or smooth – adding more stock if necessary.
- Serve warm in a large bowl, garnished with sumac, smoked paprika or your preferred seasoning…
- …or stir into pasta..
- …or add to roast potatoes, mixing in once the potatoes are roasted and returning to the oven for 10 minutes to heat through…
- …or use as an alternative to white sauce in lasagne or moussaka…
- …or use to thicken soups…
- …or cook in a pie…