Za’atar aubergines and toasted pine nuts on silky hummus

2 Oct

Za’atar aubergines with toasted pine nuts on silky hummus

Za'atar aubergines and toasted pine nuts on silky hummus

Za’atar aubergines and toasted pine nuts on silky hummus

Great things can happen, both in life and food, completely by accident…or rather in an unplanned or coincidental fashion. For example, today whilst putting my boy to sleep I thought of my regular Chinese restaurant, then of Navratri (hindu festival which involves nine nights of dancing) following which I realised I hadn’t made one of the Gujarati classics that I’m pretty darn good at doing, in a while. All of these thoughts inspired the creation a weird but outrageously good new soup recipe which I will soon share.

Back to this recipe, which is also unpremeditated. My parents came to stay last week when my husband was in Moscow for work. They, besides enjoying time with my boy and I, were so helpful in the kitchen. My dad was my kitchen assistant.
They have a habit of overcooking and under eating. They have also started to use a tongue-swelling level of chilli in their cooking, which I can no longer endure. During my late pregnancy I developed intolerable reflux so I cut the chilli and since then I never really reintroduced it. Anyway, they’re a bit obsessed with aubergines, my folks. They cooked thick slithers of fresh and slippery Aubergine in oil, without water and lots of indian spices but no tomatoes. Such a simple and garlicky dish.

I don’t know why I was reluctant to try it, but when I did I actually really enjoyed it. But then the chilli kicked in and in the absence of cooling yoghurt I grabbed the hummus. And thats how this recipe happened.

Za’atar spice is a tangy and herbaceous spice blend with a thyme like flavour. The tanginess comes from sumac, which is made from dried fruits. The za’atar spice blend also contains nutty sesame seeds and aromatic cumin. It’s fairly delicate so I like to let it sing for itself rather than mix it in with other powerful flavours. Simple is best with spice blends like za’atar.

This is no word of an exaggeration, this hummus is probably the best I have made. Nothing sexy; it’s a simple, smooth and silky hummus. It’s really good though. This is why I’ve allowed for a batch for your fridge, it’ll keep for about 3 days.

Ingredients to serve four

One large Aubergine, cut into 2 inch slithers
4-5 shallots,sliced
1 1/2 tbsp za’atar spice
3 tsp lemon juice
A handful of pine nuts, dry toasted on a non-stick pan
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

For the hummus

2 cans of cooked chickpeas
4 tbsp lemon juice
7 tbsp of ice cold water
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup tahini
1 1/2 tsp salt


1. Heat 3 tbsp of cooking oil in a non stick pan and add the onions and garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes
2. Add the aubergines and mix well. Stir in the za’atar spice blend and the lemon juice. Turn the heat to a very low flame and cook for about 20minutes or until the Aubergine is soft enough to pierce through, but not until they lose shape or become squashed.
3. To make the hummus put the chickpeas into a food processor and blitz until they are a coarse paste.image
4. Add the tahini, garlic, salt and lemon juice and then blitz again.
5. Whilst the food processor is doing its thing, slowly pour in the water and it should loosen up to a lovely consistency.

To serve, top the hummus with the cooked Aubergine whilst they are still warm and when the pine nuts. Serve with flatbread or pitta bread. Don’t forget to tell me how you enjoyed this recipe!

19 Responses to “Za’atar aubergines and toasted pine nuts on silky hummus”

  1. Pooja Madhvani October 2, 2013 at 10:02 pm #

    Love hummus and love aubergines! My perfect dish : )

    • Deena Kakaya October 2, 2013 at 10:57 pm #

      It is really easy to do Pooja, I hope you will try it xx

  2. Faye Canadas October 3, 2013 at 11:39 am #

    Lovely yummy hummus, my favourite. And so much nicer than any shop brought alternatives :o) Thanks Deena Kakaya – Vegetarian Cooking

    • Deena Kakaya October 3, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

      Hi Faye! Thank you so much for your comment! Yes this is a super speedy, easy Peasy tasty one! Hope you’ll try it xx

  3. Sharon Keating October 3, 2013 at 11:45 am #

    Deena, I have just tried some of your hummus. What can I say other than WOW!!! This is the first time I have ever tried it and it certainly will not be the last. I’m going to have a go at making this for a vegetarian friend who adores hummus. Sharon Keating – Dunstable

    • Deena Kakaya October 3, 2013 at 11:47 am #

      Hi Sharon, thanks so much for your lovely comment, I am so glad you like it ! It’s super easy to make..a few simple steps and ingredients…but It is the best hummus I’ve made 😉 I hope your friend likes it too, please let me know! Visit again soon xx

  4. Melanie Culham October 3, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

    Very tasty.. definitely much better than the shop ones. Will have to try and make this one myself 🙂

    • Deena Kakaya October 3, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

      Thanks Melanie! It’s really, really easy and the aubergines work so well and smell great! Please let me know how you liked it once you’ve tried it xx

  5. Niki, unifiedspace October 3, 2013 at 5:13 pm #

    I am literally whizzing this up as I type – we all love hummus and aubergine and incidentally we like ours cut into chip shapes which I oven roast with garlic oil, so similar to your parents. Yum, I love this kind of food, Im glad to ‘meet’ you today and you have inspired our evening meal, thank you.

    • Deena Kakaya October 3, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

      Ah Niki that is utterly flattering! I smiling widely as I read this! I hope you enjoy this meal as much as we did last night, please let me know. Lovely to meet you too, let stay connected xx

      • Niki, unifiedspace October 4, 2013 at 8:30 am #

        Hi Deena, heehee, I am sitting at my desk feeling very smug knowing I have a lovely tub of leftover hummus in the fridge to dip into at lunch time 🙂 I’ve made hummous loads of times but I’ve never added water before and I am so glad you told me to do so because I love the looser consistency so much more. Thank you!

        • Deena Kakaya October 4, 2013 at 8:32 am #

          Niki, you are so lovely…this is the second smile you’ve given me! I made extra too and I used to add oil to loosen it up but thought; why not try water..and it worked! I could do without the extra fat 😉 I hope you have a lovely day and enjoy your lunch…I’ve got another healthy recipe coming up which I hope you will enjoy xxx

          • Niki, unifiedspace October 4, 2013 at 8:36 am #

            Brilliant, you too Deena and I look forward to your next post x

  6. laura_howtocook October 3, 2013 at 6:05 pm #

    Oh how lovely, two of my favourite things here in one post. Hummus and aubergines with Za’atar apices. I love Middle Eastern flavours and have thought the aubergine goes so well with spices which it just soaks up. I would be happy to eat these dishes any day!

    • Deena Kakaya October 3, 2013 at 6:10 pm #

      Hi Laura! It’s great to hear from you! Thank you for the lovely words, I’m a fan of aromatic and fragrant spices that we just allow to show themselves off. I hope you will give this recipe a whirl and let me know how you like it xx

  7. Lail | With A Spin October 5, 2013 at 12:46 pm #

    This sounds absolutely divine!

    • Deena Kakaya October 5, 2013 at 1:02 pm #

      Hi Lail, I have to say,it really is divine! This simple dish went down really well when I tested it, I hope you will try it! X

  8. Franglais kitchen, Nazima October 7, 2013 at 2:12 pm #

    Deena this is a lovely combination of flavours. I love fusion food too and this one sounds such a nice mix of the aubergines and chickpeas with delicious spices.

    • Deena Kakaya October 7, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

      Hi Nazima, great to see you on here! It works so well, I hope you’ll try it. I’ve been reading your fabulous fusion recipes…I’m really enjoying your Gorgeous work, lets stay connected x

Let me know what you think about this recipe

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