It’s the second day of fast for Ramadan 2015 and also the first Friday of Ramadan. Fridays are much like a day of Sabbath in Islam and the day on which a special prayer is held at Mosques called Jumah. It is a congregational prayer (ṣalāt) that Muslims hold every Friday, just after noon in the place of dhuhr. As such, it also sets off the start of the weekend and as the first Jumah prayer this Ramadan, you can bet there will be feasts served for Iftar this evening.
I have a Middle Eastern aperitif that fits very well on to the Iftar table to share for today. Hummus Ma Lahma or Hummus with Spicy Beef is a protein rich dish full of robust flavor that will appease the taste buds of all your fasting guests. It’s a quick and easy dish to add to the table among so many plates that one wishes to serve for Iftar.
Hummus Ma Lahma – Hummus with Spicy Beef
1 small garlic clove (or to taste)
2 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (or 1 – 19 oz. can, drained)
1/2 cup tahini (sesame paste)
1/2 tsp ground cumin or 1/2 tsp Monsoon Balti Spice (see note below)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp sea salt
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1lb ground beef
2 tablespoons of Baharat (Middle Eastern blend of seven spices, please see my recipe)
1 tablespoon of ghee (clarified butter)
Salt to Taste
Handful pine nuts
1 tablespoon of chopped parsley or mint
To make the hummus, first peel the garlic and then puree it using a food processor. Next, add the chickpeas, tahini and spices. Pulse a few times and then add the fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper and puree again. With the machine running, slowly add in the oil until you reach the desired consistency.
Once done, set aside while you prepare the beef. The hummus can also be made the day before and stored in the refrigerator.
For the Spiced Beef first mix the ground beef with the Baharat spice and let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes. Then in a skillet heat up the clarified butter and add the beef. Add salt to your taste. Cook the ground beef until it is cooked through and there is no pink.
To serve scoop the hummus on to a serving dish and with the back of a serving spoon in a circular motion create a well in the middle of the dish with the hummus. Scoop the spicy beef on top of the hummus filling up the well. Garnish by sprinkling pine nuts and your choice of mint or parsley. I prefer mint from my garden as it enhances the freshness of the dish. I also left the pine nuts out when I served it as my husband is not very fond of them.