Fun? In the Kitchen

I made two very new things this week: Sima, a fermented Finnish drink, and mung bean hummus. Both were complicated in ways I couldn’t have predicted LOL.

First was the sima. It’s basically a concoction of sugar water left to sit with some sliced lemons and a sprinkling of baker’s yeast. Let it sit overnight, strain, and bottle. The recipe I had said to let sit for 2 days before drinking, but to open the bottles once or twice a day to let out the pressure from the developing fizz. Well, what my source failed to mention was that, like rising bread, sima’s fermentation time depends on the temperature. Let’s just say that I discovered, the hard way, that our 80-90 degree weather means the bottles were technically done in a matter of hours… and that leaving the pressure to build for more than 2-3 hours in this temperature means it’ll explode like a shook up bottle of soda. And at one point I made the mistake of leaving it to sit for about 5.

Not much ended up gushing out, at least; I only ended up losing about 10-15% of my total batch to the sink despite the theatrics. It tastes absolutely DELICIOUS though now that it’s done. I could have definitely gone with much more lemon flavor and a little less sugar, but all in all, it was a super exciting, and ultimately very easy, thing to make. The taste of yeast might be off-putting to some, especially in non-alcoholic drink form, but I personally love it. It’s a very warm and comforting flavor, whether it’s from a ball of rising dough, or a bottle of lemonade. (And don’t tell anyone, but I’m letting the 2nd bottle sit out for a few more days to see what kind of alcoholic content I can manage to cook up…!)

I didn’t go by any singular recipe in the end, so just google “sima recipe” or “fermented lemonade recipe” and you’ll be good to go.

The other thing I decided to try my hand at this evening was some hummus. The impression I’m under is that making hummus should be about as easy as making nut milk, but leave it to me to figure out how to complicate it far beyond any reasonable measure.

My first mistake was that I made my hummus out of mung beans because I bought them ages ago for the purpose, and that required cooking them for 45 minutes. My second mistake was to think that because I had no tahini, and no good substitute for tahini, that I could just make my own tahini. And because I didn’t have much of a suitable grinder for the sesame seeds, that meant using a mortar and pestle. (I’m not kidding!) My third mistake was deciding that this would all be very easy using a blender in lieu of a food processor. And honestly, this was my biggest mistake. Once everything was in the blender, it took about 20 minutes of pulsing twice, and then pushing the mash down the sides with a spatula… rinse, repeat. Fourth mistake was thinking that the recipe was so easy that I wouldn’t have to look at it while making it! I wound up adding in a ton of olive oil to the hummus itself, and only when I was done did I realize that hummus is typically served with oil, not made with it!

When I was done, my tastebuds were so dulled from having taste everything along the way (to make sure I wasn’t getting way too far off track), that I realized that I wasn’t able to form any kind of good opinion on what the finished product tasted like. Also, it was warm because of the cooked beans. I threw my arms up and tossed the jar of it in the fridge. And now that I’ve taken it out again and tried it with some pita and tabouleh, I’m STILL not sure what I think of it. I feel like it needs more lemon juice? And more salt? And maybe, I dunno… less olive oil? And some real tahini??

I dunno. I may throw it on some toast in the morning with sliced avocados. It might be a decent match.

For the recipe on that one, head over to one of my favorite cooking blogs of all time, 101 Cookbooks.