7 Delicious Bowls Of Authentic Middle Eastern Hummus

Over the last few years, American demand for hummus has skyrocketed.

Instagram / Via statigr.am

Last year’s nationwide sales totaled more than $500 million, up 11% from a year earlier and a 25% jump over 2010, according to market-research firm Information Resources Inc, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The result is that we now have some truly strange hummus variations, thanks to food companies attempting to appeal to American palates and increase market share.

And Asian fusion garden hummus? WHY.

But people in the Middle East have spent centuries perfecting diverse ways to eat hummus. And they do it better.

Anny Gaul / Via imiksimik.wordpress.com

Hummus has been a staple of Middle Eastern cooking for centuries. It figures then, that some people take it really seriously, and even argue over who invented it. In 2008, for example, an association of Lebanese manufacturers threatened legal action to prevent Israel from selling hummus under the hummus name, which means chickpea in Arabic. (On a lighter note, the two countries traded rounds in a hummus war in 2010, battling to see who could make the biggest bowl. Lebanon won. For a great cookbook on food politics in the region, check out Jerusalem, co-written by an Israeli and Palestinian.)

But putting the debate over who invented hummus aside (perhaps Iraq wins because of the fertile crescent?), it is indisputable that the Middle East is home to wide-range of delicious recipes that embody the area’s regional and culinary diversity. Palestinians and Jordanians eat the dish for breakfast, while Israelis are more likely to eat it in a hummusia for lunch. Many consider Syrian and Lebanese hummus the best in the world (anything Syrian and Lebanese, for that matter, is stereotypically bound to be delicious); Egypt’s version is lackluster (no disrespect to the “mother of the world,” but much of the country’s cuisine isn’t as tasty). Hummus is often garnished with Middle Eastern staples like fried pine nuts, lemon juice, chili pepper, na’na (mint), olive oil, chopped onions or, the Syrian favorite, pomegranate seeds.

For your eating pleasure, here are seven traditional Middle Eastern hummus recipes that everyone can enjoy.

1. Some Hummus basics

In Arabic the word hummus is pronounced with a hard h from deep down in the throat, and in Hebrew it’s pronounced with a sharp chummus, like Chanukah. In English we just don’t care for these strange h sounds.

The secret to hummus? It’s a controversial question, but there’s a general consensus that removing the chickpea skins first is the best method.

Recipe here with chickpea skins and without.

2. Hummus With Tahini

Hummus with tahini, or sesame paste, is a classic wherever you go. Add a little olive oil, parsley, or pine nuts on top for extra zest, and pair it with some perfectly shaped pita chips, as shown.

Recipe here.

3. Hummus With Garlic

Also called hummus beiruti, this traditional lebanese version adds an overload of garlic to create a slightly spicier (and arguably more delicious) hummus. Just take your favorite basic hummus recipe, and add as many garlic gloves as you can stomach. Eat it with other delicious Mediterranean spreads like mutable, babaganoush (babaganoug in Egypt), and fatoush salad, and you’re in for quite the culinary party, Beirut style.

Recipe here.

4. Hummus With Meat

Hummus with meat takes the vegetarian out of hummus, but makes for a real protein packed dish. The meat spicing varies by region, but it’s an all around favorite for those who dismiss hummus as just dip.

Recipe here with warm lamb or beef or sausage.

5. Hummus With Ful

Ful, a fava bean dish that hails from Egypt, can be served on top of hummus, either warm or cold, for breakfast or lunch (or dinner, go crazy). Ful varies by region: for example, Syrian’s tend to use larger fava beans and keep them whole, while many Egyptians blend the beans instead.

Recipe here.

6. Hummus Msabaha

This is another delicious hummus speciality popular around the region, often referring to a mix of blended and whole chickpeas. (The distinctions between dishes can sometimes be hazy; for example, some Syrians refer to hummus just as msabaha.) Hummus with msabaha is a little more involved of a recipe, but add some garnish, take a big bite, and you’ll understand.

Recipe here.

7. And for some not-quite-as-traditional fun, try hummus with pomegranate molasses.

Anny Gaul / Via imiksimik.wordpress.com

Because pomegranates are like, whoa.

Recipe here.

Still hungry? Check out these other delicious ways to eat hummus.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/miriamberger/7-delicious-bowls-of-authentic-middle-eastern-hummus

Gay Reporter Thrown Off Kremlin Channel For Blasting Anti-Gay Law

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/miriamelder/reporter-blasts-kremlin-channel-over-anti-gay-law

Ikea Pulls Lesbian Couple From Russian Edition Of Its Magazine

They adorably call him “Monkey” on their blog, My Two Mums.

4. Ikea customers in 25 countries will get a share of this cuteness in the December issue of Ikea Family Live magazine. But no cuteness for Russian Ikea shoppers.

In June, Russia passed a law prohibiting the “promotion of non-traditional sexual relationships to minors,” a provision known as the “homosexual propaganda law.” Ikea, which has been a corporate leader in featuring gay couples in its advertising, decided Kirsty and Clara’s family was too risky for Russia.

“We have based the decision on discussions with our own Russian legal team and also taken advice from external Russian legal expertise,” Ikea spokeswoman Ylva Magnusson told BuzzFeed.

So Russian Ikea shoppers won’t get to read this feature about how sharing a small space — with help from Ikea furniture, of course — made their family closer.

5. This is the feature Russian Ikea shoppers won’t see.

View this embed ›

6. Ikea wasn’t afraid of a conservative backlash in the U.S. when it made history with the first major TV ad featuring a gay couple in 1994.

Los Angeles Times / Via articles.latimes.com

It kept the ad on the air despite a call for a boycott, only pulling it down after a bomb threat was made against a store in Hicksville, N.Y.

But Ikea Magnusson told the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet that today, “We have two guiding principles in the communication we distribute from Ikea. The first is home interior design. The second is following the law.”

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/lesterfeder/ikea-pulls-lesbian-couple-from-russian-edition-of-its-magazi

Syrian Coalition President “Concerned” About Break With Armed Opposition

Ahmad Jarba, head of the opposition Syrian National Coalition Jacky Naegelen / Reuters

NEW YORK — The president of the main Western-backed Syrian opposition group said on Friday that he was “concerned” about a recent communiqué issued by rebel groups — some of which are part of the Free Syrian Army — that rejected the political opposition based in exile.

“Of course we are concerned about the fact that there are some of those who signed that communiqué are also members of the FSA,” said Syrian Coalition president Ahmad al-Jarba in a press conference in New York on Friday.

The communiqué, signed by over a dozen rebel groups, formally rejects the moderate political opposition based in Istanbul and backed by the West and the Gulf states. The communique calls for Islamic law in Syria and was signed by the al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra, as well as three groups that were up until now part of the Free Syrian Army.

Jarba said he “will be going back and meeting with some of those leaders to understand what happened. Have they really changed their alignment, their alliances? So this question will be investigated. Right now it’s not clear exactly what was intended by that communiqué.”

As for Jabhat al-Nusra, they “never recognized the coalition and we have never recognized them as part of the official fighting forces that are part of our revolution,” Jarba said.

Jarba then changed tack from talking about the Islamist fighters siphoning influence away from his coalition and to foreign groups fighting in Syria.

“What we don’t understand and we would like the whole world to take a position is why no question has been raised about another extremist group inside Syria, and that is Hezbollah,” Jarba said, referring to the Iran-backed group. “We all know they have entered into Syria fighting with the dictator chemical weapons killer and the whole world is silent.”

Jarba also weighed in on the U.N. Security Council resolution that will be voted on on Friday, saying that his coalition found it “acceptable.”

“We would have loved to see a more clear resolution under article 7,” Jarba said, referring to a U.N. article that enshrines the possibility of measures including military action if the resolution’s terms are not fulfilled. “This has not happened though there is a reference that a future resolution would be taken under article 7.”

“We wanted a bit more than that, but we are happy with the current resolution, it is acceptable to us but it is important that the draft is not compromised,” Jarba said.

“We are happy that certain demands have been included that we wanted, like accountability — a demand of accountability for those who use chemical weapons to be brought to justice,” Jarba said.

Jarba also expressed skepticism over the apparent slight warming of relations between the U.S. and Iran this week, saying “We are not sure whether this is an improved relationship. What concerns us is that Iran will stop supporting criminals.”

Jarba’s spokesman Louay Safi said that the Syrian opposition would not accept Iran playing a role in proposed Geneva talks.

“Currently our position would be no, we’re not going to accept that,” Safi said. “Iran has first to force Hezbollah to leave Syria, remove its own forces and advisors, and has to stop supplying weapons to a bloody regime.”

Safi said the Iranians were “equally responsible” for the bloodshed in Syria as the Assad regime.

He said that Jarba, who had met with Secretary of State John Kerry this week as well as diplomats from Gulf states and with the British and French foreign ministers, had not met with President Obama during the United Nations General Assembly.

“Mr. Jarba will have to go back to Syria tomorrow immediately to deal with this situation,” Safi said, referring to the communiqué. “Now there will be no meeting between the two.”

He announced that the Syrian opposition will seek to take the Syrian government’s seat at the United Nations.

“We have already started the process,” Safi said. “We are seeking that.”

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/rosiegray/syrian-coalition-president-concerned-about-break-with-armed

Life Of Ariel Sharon, In A Coma, Is “In Danger”

Reuters Photographer / Reuters / Reuters

The 85-year-old has been in a coma for almost eight years after suffering a stroke in January 2006.

Now doctors at the Tel Hashomer hospital say his health has declined to a “critical” condition.

Zeev Rotstein, director at the facility, said:

In the last few days, we have seen a gradual decline in the functioning of Ariel Sharon’s vital organs, which are essential for his survival. His state is classed as critical, meaning his life is in danger. The medical staff and Sharon’s family are expecting a turn for the worse.

Sharon’s family is at his bedside. One of his sons told the Jerusalem Post, “We have hope, we always have hope.”

Sharon pauses prior to a weekly cabinet meeting at his Jerusalem office Sunday, Feb. 23, 2003. AP Photo/Enric Marti

Sharon was first elected prime minister of Israel in February 2001.

His complicated legacy is still being debated in Israel, where he was known as a celebrated general and a politician nicknamed “the bulldozer” for his ability to push through his political agenda. The Arab world knew him as “the butcher of Beirut” after he, as defense minister, orchestrated Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon, an effort aimed at Palestine Liberation Organization fighters, but that also left hundreds of Lebanese civilians dead.

Despite being known as the father of the Israeli settler movement, in 2005 he ordered the withdrawal of all Israeli troops and settlers from the Gaza Strip, and several West Bank settlements.

He left the right-wing Likud Party that year to set up a new centrist party, Kadima, but suffered a stroke a year later, whereupon he slipped into a coma.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/alanwhite/life-of-ariel-sharon-in-a-coma-is-in-danger

South Sudanese In Israel “Choose Between Prison And Death”

Ronen Zvulun / Reuters

ARAD, NEGEV DESERT — Michael Dobuol Kuany didn’t want to go back to South Sudan, but his pride kept him from staying in Israel, a country that didn’t want him.

So in June 2012, Kuany packed his bags and returned to the country of his birth. A year and a half later, he was dead, friends say, killed in the clashes that continue to ravage the world’s youngest country.

The details of Kuany’s death are sparse. According to aid workers currently in South Sudan, he had been staying at a UN camp in the Bahr al Jabal area of South Sudan and had gone to a local market during the day on Dec. 16 to move food from a storage space to the small stall he ran. Friends in South Sudan told aid workers that he didn’t return to the camp that night, and local authorities found his body the next day. BuzzFeed couldn’t independently confirm the details of his death, though two aid workers in South Sudan said his name and description appeared on a list of those killed in mid-December.

The reported death of Kuany, and five others, in South Sudan’s recent violence has revived questions over Israel’s lack of official refugee policy. Fearing that a law on refugees could be used by millions of Palestinians seeking the right of return, Israel has declined to adopt one, leaving tens of thousands of people with no status. This month, Israel saw its biggest protests ever over the issue, with 25,000 African people taking to the streets to demand Israel recognize them as refugees and reconsider new laws that would see many of them imprisoned or put in detainment facilities before they are deported.

Kuany was one of more than 52,000 people from Africa who have made their way to Israel, most from Sudan, South Sudan and Eritrea. He left Sudan in 2006, fleeing a decades-long war that had killed most of his immediate family, and arrived in Israel less than two years later.

“He struggled like all of us did to arrive here in Israel,” said Mari Nabil, who knew Kuany through the community center for ethnic Neur from South Sudan, in the city of Arad, where they both worked. “We came across the deserts and then we found each other again in the Israeli desert.”

“What we did to get here was so hard, very hard, but then we arrived and found a country who thought of us as the enemy — not as refugees,” Nabil said. “We just want to be recognized as what we are.”

The Israeli leadership has refused, however, to call the group asylum seekers or refugees. Netanyahu refers to those who enter Israel illegally as “infiltrators.”

“Neither protests nor strikes will help. We completely stopped the infiltration into Israel and now we are determined to send away the illegal migrant workers who entered Israel,” Netanyahu posted on his Facebook page earlier this month.

That is a harsher tone than the one the Israeli government struck just half a decade ago. In 2008, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert helped create job programs for the refugees and earned praise from the U.N. by searching for countries ranging from African to Europe that would be willing to absorb some of the refugee groups from Israel. At that time, the number of refugees stood below 10,000, a figure that would reach just more than 52,000 by the end of 2013.

“What might have been manageable in 2008 – had we set up a mechanism – became a much larger problem because nobody dealt with it in a responsible way,” said one Israeli official who served in the interior ministry of Olmert’s government and spoke on condition of anonymity because he currently holds a different position in the government and was not authorized to speak on record. He said that because Israel did not begin processing refugees in 2008, they were now overwhelmed by the tens of thousands of refugee status applications that are under review. “The problem is that this population of refugees grew, no one was processing them or coming with a policy, and now everyone throws their hands up in the air to say, ‘Oh—there are too many refugee applications to possibly deal with.’”

He said Israeli officials were “lucky” that they only had to contend with the people currently in Israel, and didn’t have to worry about thousands of new people arriving monthly. Israel managed to stem the flow of refugees and secure the southern border by constructing a fence along the Israeli-Egyptian border. In the first six months of 2013, the number of African nationals entering Israel stood at 34, compared with 9,570 the year before.

But the Netanyahu government still has to determine what to do with the more than 52,000 African nationals already living in Israel. Last year, the Interior Ministry announced a two-fold plan: Those who choose to remain in Israel, would fall under the newly approved “anti-Infiltration law,” which allows Israel to jail asylum seekers for one year, and then keep them detained indefinitely in a newly built detainment facility in the southern Negev desert. They would be allowed to leave the facility during the day, but would be barred from legally working in Israel. The other option was to sign a consent form for “voluntary deportation” during which Israel would arrange a flight back to Africa, (often through a third-party country to help mask the identity of those who left) and return those people whenever possible to their country of origin. The refugees were essentially left to decide between imprisonment or repatriation.

Since the start in mid-2012 of the voluntary deportations, more than 2,000 South Sudanese have been repatriated. Other groups – including Sudanese and Eritreans – have also been deported though exact numbers are not made public by Israeli officials.
Kuanay was among the first group of South Sudanese to leave, said Sigal Rozen, Director of the Israeli group, the Hotline for Migrant Workers., and other people who knew him.

“Everyone who left got $1500, which for many of them seemed preferable to the alternative of spending years in jail and probably being deported anyways,” said Nabil, Kuany’s co-worker. “It was that he was proud. He didn’t want to leave when they were forcing him to. He said, ‘I will leave now. If they do not want me, I will leave,’” she said, adding later, “His pride made him leave.”

Kuany’s friends remembered him as a quiet, somewhat old-fashioned man who was always eager to help — whether that meant lending a kettle or watching a neighbor’s child for a couple of hours.

News of his death in South Sudan only further fueled the anger of those who have been protesting.

“That they are dead makes this only more important, what we are doing now,” said Nabil, Kuany’s co-worker and friend. “Israel tells us that we must either leave here or go to prison, what kind of country asks a person to choose between prison and death?” said Nabil, who on Tuesday brought her two young children to a protest in Tel Aviv. “I thought of taking the voluntary deportation and leaving Israel like others did, but now I am happy I didn’t. I think this country needs to realize we are refugees and we need help, not hate.”

Through Skype chats and Facebook groups, those who remained in Israel heard of Kuany’s death – as well as five others who have been reportedly killed in the last month after being repatriated by Israel. Those include James Gatdor Jakoak, whose wife and children still live in Israel and Chang Kuoth Gatjiek, a 19-year-old who had travelled to Israel on his own as a teenager. Jakoak’s wife could not be reached for comment, but neighbors told BuzzFeed she was “in shock” over the death of her husband.

An aid worker who asked to remain anonymous and Mollie Gerver, a PhD student from London who is currently in South Sudan conducting research into the lives of those who returned from Israel, confirmed the reports.

“It was shocking, then heartbreaking, when we confirmed they had been killed,” the aid worker said.

Gerver said that among the others killed were also two children who had been born in Israel and then deported to South Sudan along with their families. Their names could not be released as their families had not yet been found.

The United Nation’s refugee agency has criticized Israel for its handling of the issue, saying Israel’s “current policy and practices create fear and chaos amongst asylum-seekers.” These practices, the agency added, are “not in line” with the U.N.’s 1951 Refugee Convention, of which Israel is a co-signer. The convention demands that countries not impose penalties or restrict the movement of refugees, nor put them in harm’s way.

“Of course, many people ask how Israel, a Jewish state founded after the Holocaust could treat other refugees in this way. Israel’s signed the UN convention at a time when it condemned the rest of the world for its treatment of Jewish refugees during the Holocaust,” said Sigal Rozen, Director of the Israeli group, the Hotline for Migrant Workers. “These are sensitive issues, but many people see the irony.”

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/sheerafrenkel/those-who-israel-deports

Plainclothes Agents Detain Russian LGBT Activists Over Sochi Pride Ban Protest

Tatyana Makeyeva / Reuters

Police and plainclothes agents in Moscow detained 10 LGBT activists outside the headquarters for the Sochi Olympics organizing committee on Wednesday for protesting a decree that essentially bans pride parades during the games.

President Vladimir Putin signed a decree last month that puts Sochi on lockdown for two months surrounding February’s Olympics, banning all public gatherings “unrelated” to the games and establishing a giant “forbidden zone” near the city with restricted access. Nikolai Alexeyev, a controversial activist among those briefly detained Wednesday, has announced his intent to appeal the decree.

Tatyana Makeyeva / Reuters

Tatyana Makeyeva / Reuters

Watch video of the detentions here:


Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/maxseddon/russian-lgbt-activists-arrested-for-protesting-soc

Watch Anti-Gay, Pro-Putin Americans Demonstrate On The Streets Of Sochi As Police Look On

LGBT protestors in Moscow and St. Petersburg now face charges of participating in “unlawful assemblies” after being detained on Friday within minutes of launching small demonstrations. The police arrived so fast, participants told BuzzFeed they were certain the police knew their plans in advance from bugging their phones.

But video captured by Sports Illustrated shows police calmly watching as two Americans from a group called The Official Street Preachers stand with anti-gay signs in front of the Sochi police station on Friday. One, in English, reads “Homosex is a threat to national security,” while the one in Russian says, “God bless Putin, for he opposes the sin of homosexuality, which the Lord considers an abomination.”

One of the demonstrators, Larry Craft from Rochester, N.Y., told the Wall Street Journal that the police ultimately did take them to the police station, but they were allowed to continue their demonstration as long as they put away their signs.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/lesterfeder/watch-anti-gay-pro-putin-americans-demonstrate-on-the-street

Olympic Sponsors Stand By Sochi Games As Criticism Of Anti-Gay Law Mounts

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and other officials visit Sochi. Ria Novosti / Reuters

The intensifying reaction against Russia’s treatment of the LGBT community is beginning to bear on the International Olympic Committee’s financial backers, which include some of America’s largest corporations.

But Coca-Cola and McDonald’s are sticking with the Olympic Committee’s conciliatory line toward the host of the 2014 games in Sochi. The companies think the law contradicts the Olympic charter but, like the IOC itself, declined to call for a reversal.

“We have long been a strong supporter of the LGBT community and have advocated for inclusion and diversity through both our policies and practices,” Coca-Cola spokesperson Kate Harman told BuzzFeed. “We do not condone human rights abuses, intolerance, or discrimination of any kind anywhere in the world.

“As a sponsor since 1928, we believe the Olympic Games are a force for good that unite people through a common interest in sports, and we have seen firsthand the positive impact and long-lasting legacy they leave on every community that has been a host,” she added.

When asked about the risks the new law poses to LGBT Coca-Cola employees who travel to Russia for the Olympics, Hartman said that “the IOC has received assurances from the highest level of government in Russia that the legislation will not affect those attending or taking part in the games.”

“There’s no room for discrimination under the Golden Arches,” Heidi Barker, a spokeswoman for McDonald’s, said in an email. “Regarding the recent Russian legislation, we support the International Olympic Committee’s belief that sport is a human right and the Olympic Games should be open to all, free of discrimination, and that applies to spectators, officials, media and athletes,” she added.

Both companies have also made bullish bets on Russia’s rapidly expanding consumer market. Coca-Cola is two years into doubling its investment in Russia through a five-year, $3 billion plan. McDonald’s announced plans in February to add 150 more restaurants across Russia in the next three years, an increase of about 50%.

The widening international story, though, began to sweep in the sponsors Tuesday as Kenneth Roth, the president of Human Rights Watch, called on Olympic sponsors to pressure the Russian government to repeal the law.

“Companies that are concerned about their image with consumers are not going to want to be associated with a gay-bashing exercise — the commercial advantages are going to be completely undone,” Roth told BuzzFeed. “Olympic sponsors make enormous investments by being associated with the Sochi Olympics. They don’t want to be part of a debacle.”

The alternative could be disastrous both for the Kremlin and the IOC’s Western sponsors, Roth added.

“It’s easy to imagine a confrontation taking place on global television. It’s almost certain that athletes will flaunt their homosexuality or support for gay rights,” he said.

“That’ll create a potential conflict with Russian authorities. There’s the fear of this all going horribly wrong. The Kremlin cares about its reputation and the Olympics going off smoothly — they don’t want this to be a new embarrassment,” he added.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/maxseddon/olympic-sponsors-stand-by-sochi-games-as-criticism-of-anti-g

Two Americans Among 21 Killed In Kabul Restaurant Attack

At least 21 people were killed Friday, most of them foreigners, in a well-coordinated Taliban assault on a restaurant popular with Westerners in Kabul, Afghanistan, officials said.

Afghan security forces personnel investigate at the site of the Friday’s suicide attack and shooting in Kabul. AP

A suicide bomber blew himself up outside the restaurant at around 7:30 p.m., after which two gunmen rushed in and opened fire on the patrons dining inside.

Afghan police forces assist an injured man at the site of the explosion. AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini

Among the victims, 13 were believed to be foreigners. It was the deadliest violence against foreign civilians in the country since the start of the war nearly 13 years ago, the AP reported.

Afghan security forces arrive at the scene. Omar Sobhani / Reuters

The United Nations confirmed four of its staff were among the dead.


Kamal’s daughter, Mona Hamade who studies in the UK, sought information about her father’s safety on Twitter as news of the attack broke.

The Taliban, who claimed responsibility for the attack, said in a statement that those killed were German nationals.

“This evening around 7 p.m. in Kabul, [Wazir Akbar Khan] district, we attacked one of the restaurants with a suicide attack where foreign invaders were having their dinner.

In this attack we have used very heavy explosives which caused heavy losses to the enemy. According to our initial information, which we received, in this attack we attacked senior officials from the German military and government.”

The German foreign ministry said it could not confirm that Germans were involved.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said none of the dead included U.S. Embassy staff in Kabul.


Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/tasneemnashrulla/talibans-suicide-bomb-and-shooting-attack-kills-at-least-14