Words by Isabel Aguas | Photos by Kenneth Aballa
No matter its exotic Middle Eastern roots, hummus is just one of those dishes with universal appeal. It’s vegan and gluten-free but packed with flavor; it’s shareable as a snack and filling enough as a main course. Seeing how so much was riding on the humble chickpea, Chiara Cui found golden hen opportunity and put up Cool Beans, a line of hummus products that she makes right out of her apartment.
The Start sat down with Chiara and gabbed about the glorious garbanzo, from turning it into a budding business to what you can pair (note: everything) with the potluck staple.
Hey Chiara! Tell us about yourself.
I work as the managing editor at Juice.ph, I also freelance on the side, and I write. I make hummus and I’ve been doing it as a hobby for about five years now and as a business for not even a year yet. I only started selling in December for the Christmas season because a lot of relatives wanted to give it as gifts.
How did your love affair with hummus begin?
I was really into making dips when I hosted parties at our house before. There’s this show called Lost so I would host Lost parties with friends. I was also vegetarian for about a year so that’s how I got into hummus, ’cause it’s a great vegetarian dip.
Interesting. What flavors does Cool Beans have at the moment?
For flavors, I do lemon and garlic, chipotle and green olive.
If they were actual humans, which guy at the party would they be?
The regular one, lemon and garlic, is probably the steady, chill one who gets along with everyone. Green olive is a bit of a nerd who has a few friends. Chipotle is the really outgoing one – the life of the party.
Aside from parties, have you introduced Cool Beans to events and bazaars yet?
In the 90′s, my parents used to sell popcorn and cotton candy at malls and fairs like Big Bang sa Alabang, so I’ve always been around bazaars and stuff but I only started doing them just recently. My first one was in April at Block Party in Alabang. It actually went pretty well.
What is hummus best paired with?
Anything, really. Carrots, pita… It’s good with roast chicken. Oh, and on burgers too.
Yum! How would you inject “Pinoy” flair into hummus?
I would use dalandan instead of lemon juice. I was also thinking of making malunggay hummus.
How about as a dessert?
I haven’t tried making sweet hummus yet but I think that could be made. Maybe with dates!
Speaking of dates, if there’s one person you could prepare hummus for, who would it be?
Note: Cool Beans Hummus’s shelf life is approximately a week and a half. Refrigerate after opening.