Calling Hummus…. the tale of the tiniest kitten in the world

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It was about 1045 at night. I opened the gate to our building and walked in. And stopped.

There was a kitten on the yard. Not just any kitten. The tiniest kitten in the world. Smaller than the length of my palm. Smaller than the average Mumbai rat. It was as helpless as kittens go. Stumbled down a step. Couldn’t walk.  It;s limbs weren’t strong enough. Must have been just born.

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Now I am anything but a cat person. An out and out dog person in fact. But this little kitten had me worried. I was afraid a rat would eat it up. It looked more helpless than even I do in a vegetable shop.

I was rooted to the spot for about 45 minutes. The kitten was squealing and it was dark. So I lifted it up and got it on to our landing. A few sms and texts and I had people suggesting me to give it water and some even said milk. I went home and got saucers of both. Tried feeding the kitten. But this tiny soft little thing had no idea what to do.  Gently patting it it with two fingers seemed to quieten it. The sight of my toes, or its scent (!), seemed to reassure it. But it would begin to squeal the moment I left.

Finally K came and I left the kitten down and went up home.

I came and checked on the tiny kitten twice at night. Once after dinner and once before going to sleep. It seemed to be snugly settled on the rain mat at our landing. Must have felt warmer than on the floor. Being indoors possibly less scary.

The timid soft kitten won this dog lover’s heart over and I called it ‘Hummus’ after my favourite Lebanese mezze.

Over the next few days we found that Hummus’ mom had turned up as @butsandifs on twitter had assured me she would. Hummus, its equally tiny siblings and its mom were settled below a floating candle-stand on our first floor landing.

For the next few days I would take the stairs up and down so that I could check on Hummus. The little fellow remained as little. Intriguingly hummus would often stay away from the rest of the family. At times alone a few steps below. Seemed to need its own space.

If its mom wasn’t around then I would lift it and put it by its siblings. If its mom was there then I’d quickly check on Hummus and run as the lady would give me the dirtiest looks ever.

A few days passed and then our neighbours must have got tired off the stink and removed the floating candle stand. The cat family was gone.

I went down to courtyard. I could hear the high pitched piteous squealing of Hummus.   Except it wasn’t hummus, it was a tiny brown coloured sibling of Hummus. It came to me and nibbled my toe and tried to make my sandals its home. The mom was settled below our car taking shelter. Hummus wasn’t there.

That was the last I saw of the family and the cats must have moved on since then. Each time I walk down the stairs I am acutely aware of how empty the landing is.

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My Vaio started acting up today as I was writing another post.  Couldn’t switch it on. Called Sony tech support. Apparently my profile has got corrupted so I have to save my C drive into an external drive and reboot it.

Well if you know your Wodehouse well then you will remember how Bertie Wooster could drive a car but had no idea of what happened under the hood. Well yes that’s the same story with me and comps. So here I am typing at my very slow HP mini.

I wasn’t as calm when I realised that the Vaio wasn’t working. So I decided to make hummus for the first time to divert my mind. Bloggers such as Nandita, Sharmila and Raji had earlier told me that hummus is easy to make. I looked up the net and found that it indeed is easy to make. I used this post from the Lebanese blog, Mama’s Lebanese Kitchen, to make my very first hummus.

We didn’t have sesame seeds so I skipped the tahini. Used vinegar to substitute lemon which wasn’t there either. Added some peri stuffed olives and S African peri peri sauce to give it a hot and sharp kick. The result was quite satisfying and in the process I got to know that hummus is actually made without oil. In which case it is pure protein till you add extra virgin olive oil. Which you can do at your discretion in my opinion.

Here’s the recipe:

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  • Boil 75 grams of soaked chick peas or kabuli channa with water in a pressure cooker. Eight whistles on high flame and another ten minutes on simmer.

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  • Put the boiled chickpeas, about half a teacup of the water it boiled in, some salt, 4 garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon of vinegar (or lime juice actually), 4 peeled garlic cloves and whatever you want to season with, I used 1 tablespoon of peri peri sauce & 3 chopped olives – into a food processor and blend it.
  • That’s it

You can either have it fresh when its quite warm or let it chill in the fridge

You can add olive oil while serving it but it’s not necessary if you ask me and if you want to avoid oil

Have it with bread, lavash, as a sandwich filler or even a pizza topping. It is quite addictive and needn’t come with a health warning.

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Banu came to work when the laptop crashed. She had got our 4 year old grandson Aman with her as she babysitting him. A well behaved boy who helped us open and shut the washing machine and the fridge before he settled down with cartoons. He was apparently a gang of 50 kids whom the film actor Salmon Khan took to show a movie as Banu told me recently.

And knows how to operate the TV. I should have asked him to fix my laptop.

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Comments

girish said…
:) a post about cats and hummus, all three of which are lovely.

As an aside, kittens need a highly trained caretaker for almost a month if the mum isn't around. The mum actually teaches the kitten to feed and then apparently has to stimulate burping, without which kittens tend to bloat and fall ill.
Pinku said…
the post brought a smile...

I can so identify with you not knowing whats inside a computer - I belong to the same miserable tribe. :( and my system too has developed a problem.

Talking of Hummus - I really do hope they are all safe. One thing I thought I must warn you about is. That dogs and cats refuse to own their kids once the kids (pups or kittens) have been held and have the smell of human beings. So unless you intend to take care of one of these full time, you shouldnt touch them too much. their mom and siblings will disown them.

Coming to the Hummus that you made - looks yum. though must mention that Tahini does add a real nice touch to it. Next time plan ahead get some white sesame - dry roast on a tawa and then grind. Add to the chickpea paste. Alternately get a bottle of ready made tahini from a shop. Lots of them stock it.
Sharmila said…
Even I was worried when I read you picked up the kitten and agree with Pinku. Thank god the mom took it back. My experiences with birds have taught me. I love dogs so much that I wish I had a big house to take in all strays.
And I love hummus so much that I can have it with our plain ole 'thinarraaroot' biscuits too. :-)
Sharmila Das said…
I love hummus. I live in Dubai and am very fond of Lebanese food.Especially the garlic butter and the arabic rotis.
Scarlett said…
Kalyan, I'm not a cat person. AT ALL. But you have such a kind heart. Good on you.
The knife said…
@Girish well that's like humans then...Hummush had no idea what to do with the water or the milk. A friend who'd adopted a kitten in any case told me not to feed it milk

@Pinku, in fact hats off to the quiet IT person in my office who has been helping me with the comp

I had not idea about the xenophobic tendencies of cat. What about the stork that adopted the Po? I didn't see the Pandas having a problem with that (Kung Fu Panda)

Will go for tahini next time

@Sharmila...at times 'aami to emni emni khai'

@Sharmila D: went to Dubai once but unofrtunately couldn't explore too much of the local food scene

@Scarlett: well I didn't really do anything as such but it was rather helpless
spiceandmore said…
Hey Kalyan, I thought of you yesterday as I did the bridge climb! It was sensational...you should have done it when you were in Sydney....
I love hoummous. I agree with the comments about tahini being essential. My kids can eat it by the bucket-full!
The knife said…
@Spiceandmore well i did the bridge walk the day after I went to your place. Loved it. Not sure if the climb is my thing :)

On a hummus fest today. Breakfast of soft American Express Bakery Bread stuffed with hummus, boiled egg white, Australian bush spice and a smattering of boiled corn

Lunch of couscous, sauteed mushrooms and corn folded in hummus
Harman said…
hummus is very healthy..
it available here in all grocery stores...all varieties of hummus,.mediterrean restaurants make fresh..
I will try at home thanks for sharing the recipe.
Miri said…
I do think that tahini is a bit non negotiable in the hummus, its what adds that sesame flavour to it....you should try it the next time and see the difference. Dpnt buy a huge bottle though, it may go rancid before the next time you use it.
The knife said…
Sort of like fish sauce in Thai then Miri?
Rinku said…
I love cats, in fact my cat completes our family. While Hummus here is really tiny, I got my then litte one when he was about three months, very helpless but we learnt together.
The knife said…
Hummus looked 3 hours old to me
Madhuli said…
Love the name Hummus for a sweet little kitten!Just made Hummus yesterday..a slightly different version. I made it with tahini and sprinkled some sumac over it. Like the addition of olives here..will try next time..agree with you..its quite addictive.