Lunch staples - Phulkas and Indian hummus/ Nut Butter

Ash's teacher tells me, almost apologetically, he comes only at 8.45 everyday, school starts by 8.30 could I please come a little earlier.  Immediately on the defensive, I complain how difficult it is to get Ashu up.  She says he claims to wake up at 6.00!  Well, he is fast asleep by 6.25 again :)  She then says, she knows how hard it is to make ash do anything but to please try.  I relate the censored conversation to Ash and he says I am the bottle neck.  (Ashu said "You are the bottle cock", a year ago,  the first time he tried to use the phrase ;) I owned up to my delays.  So, now, if Lunch is NOT packed by 8.15, I have to go later to drop it off.  Net consequence?  I make an extra trip to school and S. doesn't eat breakfast.
I have sworn to 
  1. plan my meal the previous night, not follow any whim at 6.00 AM.
  2. do most of the prep work the previous night
  3. get up early
Well getting up early is hard most mondays and off late I have severe coughing bouts at night, a very disturbed sleep and hence late to rise :(

 I am doing better with 1 and 2.  Sundays are hard as far as prep works go.  We often step out of the house only Sunday evening and by night I have no energy for kitchen work.  

I am streamlining my meals though.  One weekly staple is a Indian Hummus - Any fresh or dried bean, a good quantity of black sesame seeds, herbs from my terrace garden, a good glug of olive oil, green chilies, lemon juice and of course one solitary clove of garlic to please Gau and keep S. from complaining about too much raw garlic taste.   (Did you notice I didn't put quantities?  I am loving the idea of cooking without a recipe, just by feel :)

What part of this hummus is Indian you may ask.  Well the cook is for one :)  Chilli in food seems very Indian to me.  Yeah I know, the Portuguese got it here from the Americas only in the 16th century.  But it's soul is deeply Indian just like Cleopatra is an African queen despite being of Greek descent.  From street foods to comfort foods to gourmet foods, chilli is in the warp and weave of the Indian food fabric.  (We reject the "Indianness" of chilli only during food preparation for last rites/yearly memoriam when everything has to be absolutely native; black pepper only, no chillies).  Sesame, the variety we grow at any rate, is native to India, Sesame Indicum.  The black chana is probably native to India as well.  

The addition of the chilli and sesame transforms the hummus from a bland, sticky-on-the-palate, baby-food-textured dubious health food to something sublime.  
Cooked Chickpeas

  1. 75 g of chickpeas, soaked with a pinch of baking soda overnight
  2. 2 green chillies
  3. 1 tbspoon of black sesame roasted dry until it pops
  4. 1 clove of garlic
  5. 1 - 2 tspoon of Olive Oil 
  6. 8 - 10 basil leaves
  7. 8 - 10 mint leaves
  8. Salt to taste


  • Wash the chickpeas and pressure cook it with a pinch of turmeric.  
  • Drain and cool the chickpeas
  • Grind the salt, chillies and sesame seeds together in the small jar of the mixer
  • Add garlic and chickpeas and blend until the mixer complains.
  • Add the oil and blend, again until the blender complains or it comes together.
  • Add lemon juice, blend.
  • Taste adjust salt/lemon juice for balance.
  • Mint optional, Basil almost a necessity.  Coriander a no-no.

Roti Rolls


Lunch Box Ready!


These rolls are popular with Gau but S. finds it too dry and Ash doesn't like it.
For S., I pack sweetened yogurt.  Capsaicin, the thing that makes chilli hot is hydrophobic.  So you need yogurt to cool the spice, water won't cut it.
For Ash, I abandon the hummus altogether.  I roasted a handful of nuts (pistachio and almonds), ground it to a nut-butter, smeared it on the phulka, topped with honey and apples and rolled it up.  Any fruit would work I suppose. I avoid whipped cream in hot chennai and I rarely use cream spreads.  Cream cheese would probably be good too.

Notes:


  1. This recipe works just as well with butter beans and dried lima beans.
  2. You can add more oil if you want, it adds flavour and a smoothness to the hummus; 700 - 800 Rs for a litre of EVOO makes me parsimonious.
  3. Fresh roasted sesame works a lot better than Tahini, at least here in India.  Sesame seeds are popular, Tahini is imported and perhaps old stock.
  4. To serve, spread a generous table spoon of hummus on the phulka/roti, top with chopped shallots and tomatoes at the least (roasted vegetables, greens, spring onions all work great), a smidgeon of EVOO, roll and serve.  
  5. If this is going to be packed for lunch you could quickly pan fry the roll on a pan with very little oil, just to help the roll stay ,well, rolled
  6. Time Saver - first make the nut-butter, if you are making it, empty the jar and then make the hummus in the same jar.  Washing unnecessary since the nut butter remnants would be neutral.
  7. Despite all my planning, the nut-butter roll was a serendipity, not planned.
  8. Always blend the sesame, chilies and salt before adding the cooked beans/legumes.


I am adding this to My Legume Love Affair's 87th Edition!  Lisa and Susan's  long running MLL hosted by Swati this time around.  This would be the 87th round!!!!

Feedback:  Gau enjoyed, Ash not so much.
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