View ‘Love it and hate it’ Marmite and porcini houmous

‘Love it and hate it’ Marmite and porcini houmous

Meal type: , ,

Prep time: 10 minutes

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Lunch, Side Dishes, Starter,

About this recipe

The inspiration for this recipe is a person who had ‘Marmited her world’.

Greek Cypriot food is decidedly split from Marmite. The ancient Greeks used a fermented fish sauce called garum to increase the tastiness of their foods, but three thousand years later added savouriness in our cooking doesn’t tend to go further than a lovingly crumbled stock cube. Umami-boosting condiments are largely unknown to Greek Cypriot kitchen cupboards, tables and taste buds. Marmite is an especially mysterious elixir; the dark, glossy gunk looks like something to be guzzled by an old engine, rather than delicately drizzled onto toast. In this dish I have tried to introduce Marmite into Cypriot culinary consciousness by integrating it into a much-loved meze. The result is something deeply delicious, almost beefy in its flavour. May this recipe provide hopeful help for anyone who hates Marmite – because in life the reality is that love and hate are always part of the same recipe. When eating this, my own bread allegiance is somewhat split; toast is so identified with British bread culture and I have to say it might well have the edge over pitta for this rich and earthy houmous.

  • 1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained (reserve the tin liquor)
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 teaspoon Marmite
  • 2 teaspoons porcini powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3-4 tablespoons chickpea water (reserved from the tin)
  • 1-2 ice cubes

This recipe will make about 420g (i.e. approximately 2 supermarket pots).

Cypriot houmous tends to be a little more rough-and-ready, in both texture and appearance, than its super smooth Israeli counterpart. If your preference is for the former, feel free to skip step one and use the chickpeas straight from the tin.

  1. If super smooth houmous is your preference, place the chickpeas in a saucepan and cover with water. Add the bicarbonate of soda and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the chickpeas have swelled and burst out of their skins. Drain and leave to cool.
  2. Grate or crush the garlic into a small bowl. Pour over the lemon juice and leave to sit for a few minutes.
  3. Add the chickpeas to a food processor with the garlicky lemon juice, tahini, Marmite, porcini powder and salt. Process to a smooth paste and while the motor is running, drizzle in the olive oil (you might need to stop and scrape down the food processor bowl if some of the chickpeas escape and stick to the sides). Add 2 tablespoons of the chickpea tin liquor and the ice cubes and blitz until they have disappeared.
  4. Stop the food processor and check the consistency of the houmous – if it is still too thick for your liking at this point, add a little more of the chickpea water.
  5. Dollop into a bowl and drizzle with Marmite before serving with all things dippable. Or, slather a thick layer onto nicely charred toast.


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