Game of dips


According to trend gurus Baum and Whiteman, the very latest king of foods crowned in the US is the humble pot of hummus. Once a niche product, eaten primarily by Arab and Israeli immigrants and a champion of veggies, hummus is now an everyday item for many families. According to Google it has now out-trended salsa in the States, no small thing when you consider salsa dethroned ketchup. The chickpea dip has predictably become Americanised, piled with flavourings. Subway is also testing it as a meat free option for its sandwiches.

Eight years ago 12% of US households had hummus the fridge; today the figure is 20% and rising. Its high profile is thanks to Sabra’s (co-owned by Pepsi) zealous marketing campaign. Upscale supermarkets can display two dozen variations, with exotic mutations such as beet, pumpkin, Thai chill, spinach-artichoke, guacamole, edamame, cilantro-chimichurri, lemongrass-chill … even (oh, dear) chocolate mousse. Ottolenghi makes theirs with lentils, and food provocateur Rozanne Gold favourites a white bean and roasted sesame tahini variety topped with an Asian mix of roasted sesame seeds, seaweed and shiso. Mexican-inflected hummus is on the way and there’s no reason not to create teriyaki chicken or curried cauliflower hummus, while we’re at it. Hmmm…

Because hummus can be used as a dip, spread or condiment, ICSA thinks it may even (drum roll) challenge mayonnaise’s monarchy. Restaurants increasingly use it as a popular starter. Restaurant Bustan in NY tops it with lamb, mushrooms, beef cheeks, tandoori chicken, falafel or chicken liver whilst California-based Oren’s hummus tops theirs with Moroccan beef and pine nuts … and someone’s fashioned a pizza with hummus and zucchini – the ‘dip’ is THE dish to have on your menu’s in the starter section.

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