Hummus with Spiced Beef

Ramadan has always been a special time for my family. Waking up before the break of dawn to have suhoor, my dad leading the prayers at home as me, my brother and mom stand behind him, helping Ammi in the kitchen prepare snacks for iftar and finally as sunset approaches the whole family sitting together for iftar. Ramadan for us, apart from being a period of significant spiritual uplifting, is a month of quality family time.

Food is an integral part of Ramadan traditions. Muslims all over the world honour their iftar tables with an assortment of culturally traditional and untraditional meals. Most Pakistanis prefer fried savouries and little snacks accompanied by refreshing drinks at iftar, followed by a light dinner later in the night. Others choose to skip the snacks and have dinner at the call of Maghrib (prayer time indicating the end of fasting).

Growing up at my parents’ house I was always so excited for iftar. My mother’s iftar spread was (and still is) so tempting; 2-3 varieties of fried or baked savouries, crispy spinach pakoray, dahi baray, chana chaat and fruit salads were a regular affair. Later in the night we had a simple dinner after Taraweeh. When I married and moved to Germany, I had an intense desire to uphold my family’s iftar traditions. However, owing to increased daylight in Summer and fasting durations lasting till 21:00 to 22:00 o’clock in most European countries, I had to halt my iftar buffet desires, at least till Ramadan in winters. Since we break our fasts so late at night during German Summers, here at the Beyg house iftar is settled with a humble dinner.

In my pursuit for a simple yet filling dish, that is also healthy I came across this Lebanese Hummus with spiced meat. As the name suggests this dish features a lightly spiced meat mixture nested on top of a creamy bowl of fresh hummus. Traditionally Lebanese hummus bowls are topped with cooked lamb or Hummus bil Laham, this variation uses beef steak sliced into small bites. This recipe is so filling and can be served as a main dish or appetizer.

Ingredients:

Hummus

  • Boiled Chickpeas 2 cups
  • Garlic cloves 4; crushed
  • Lemon Juice 1/2 cup
  • Tahini 1/3 cup
  • Salt to taste
  • Ice Cubes 2-3

Spiced Beef

  • Beef steak 1
  • Olive oil 2 tbsp
  • Onion 1 medium
  • Salt to taste
  • Paprika 1 tsp
  • 7 Spice powder 1 tbsp (Recipe for Homemade 7 Spice powder at the bottom of page)
  • Pine Nuts 3 tbsp; toasted

Method:

Combine Hummus ingredients in a food processor and blend till smooth. Spread Hummus in a shallow platter and keep refrigerated while you prepare the beef.

Slice beef fillet into small pieces. Heat oil in a skillet and saute a finely chopped onion till caramelised. Stir fry beef pieces until they are a nice golden brown colour, approximately 5 minutes. Season beef with 7 spice powder, salt and paprika. Add toasted pine nuts and switch of flame. Let the beef mixture cool for approximately 5 minutes before lofting it in the centre of the hummus platter. Serve with warm pita bread or french fries.

7 Spice Powder

7 spice is one of the most used spices in Lebanese cuisine. It is a mixture of  black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, fenugreek, coriander seeds, and white pepper.

  • Black Peppercorns 1 tsp
  • Cloves 1/2 tsp
  • Cinnamon Stick 2 inch piece
  • Cumin Seeds 2 tsp
  • Coriander Seeds 2 tsp
  • Fenugreek Seeds 1 tsp
  • White Pepper corns 1/2 tsp

Dry roast the above ingredients in a pan until aromatic. Blend spices using a spice blender or coffee grinder into a fine powder. The above recipe yields around 3 tablespoons of 7 spice powder. You can store any leftover powder in an air tight jar.

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