Hummus is just one of those simple pleasures of life. A dip that goes perfectly with crisp vegetables, served with falafel, or topped with spiced ground meat or tomatoes and served with pita chips. Hummus is one of those classic dishes everyone should have in their recipe repertoire. I probably make it for the majority of gatherings I throw just because it can appeal to the most people. It is gluten free, vegetarian/vegan, relatively healthy, and absolutely delicious.
The birthplace of hummus has been widely disputed but it seems to be considered “born” in the Levant. This area of the middle east comprising Egypt, Israel, Turkey, Jordan, Cyprus and more have traditionally made hummus a staple of their diets.
When thinking, “what is hummus?” you’ll probably think of the main base ingredients. These are the chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans), the tahini (ground sesame paste), the garlic (of course), olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. Of course you can add paprika, ground cumin, sumac, mint, pepper, and a plethora of other ingredients to customize the dish.
The name hummus is actually Arabic, and comes from the word meaning chickpea. That is of course the primary ingredient in the dish. This recipe is one I actually learned during my first trip to Israel back in 2012. Of course as you readers know I’m a big fan of taking cooking classes in every country I visit, and it’s a great way to expand my cultural culinary knowledge.
There are dozens if not hundreds of variations of hummus, all depending on the country, or even city/region that the recipe comes from. Some Palestinian people make it with yogurt instead of tahini and butter instead of olive oil, while the Yemenites of Tel Aviv make it with skhug, a type of hot sauce.
Egyptians often flavor their hummus with cumin and other spices, while in Turkey it is often oven dried with Pastirma, a type of cured meat.
While it is extremely easy these days to buy pre-made hummus in any grocery store, it is also extremely easy to make at home. The simple ingredients mixed with the many different uses of the dip should make it a staple in your fridge.
The two things I look at when making a hummus is the texture, and the taste. Hmmm, I guess that’s pretty much the same with most recipes. At the end of the day though, you want a smooth creamy hummus that packs a punch. When I learned how to do it in Israel we used a mortar and a pestle to make it the traditional way, and let me tell you, you do not need to go that route.
There’s nothing wrong with learning the traditional method, but these days, thanks to electricity, you should use a food processor. I know some recipes say the chickpeas should be boiled before mashing, or Solomov’s NY Times recipe which says to let soak overnight and boil with baking soda. Even a recipe by Minimalist Baker which says to microwave your chickpeas and garlic.
The best solution is often the easiest, and one I’ve been making for years. Peel every single one of the chickpeas before putting in the food processor. I know, I know, that sounds like a super annoying step, but it removes the cellulose layer of skin around the chickpea and makes your hummus able to homogenize the absolute best. Everything else won’t really make a difference in my opinion.
1 can (400 grams) Chickpeas; also known as Garbanzo beans, these legumes make up the base of the dish. I just use canned chickpeas, but you can use fresh just as easily.
75 grams (about 5.5 tablespoons) Tahini; I don’t expect most readers to make their own tahini at home so just try to buy a great quality version. This is extra important because the flavor of tahini is going to be your main flavor in the hummus.
4 cloves Garlic; if you want to really punch up the garlic flavor, try to find some good garlic that has just recently started sprouting. The spicy garlicky flavor from the sprout mixed in with the hummus is quite intense. Some will say it’s overpowering so if garlic isn’t for you, just get some regular cloves.
30 ml Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
50 ml Olive Oil; as you aren’t cooking this dish get really high quality olive oil. I always say you can skimp on quality slightly if you are searing something, but for eating olive oil straight out of the bottle, always buy the best possible version you can. I have previously recommended Kabbadates olive oil from Corfu on my recipe for Homemade Poppy Seed Dressing and the philosophy is still the same.
A Pinch of Salt; of course, to taste
1. The first thing to do is to prepare your chickpeas. Open the can and strain the water into a cup. Do not get rid of the water. This is known as aqua faba in Greece and other Mediterranean countries and is extremely useful. You now have to peel each individual bean and place them into the food processor. (I just do this while watching tv since it’s pretty relaxing and monotonous).
2. In the food processor add the Tahini, Garlic, and Lemon Juice and let run until a paste is formed. While it is running slowly drizzle in the olive oil and let run for like 5 minutes. I mean really, we are letting the machine do all the work, and the smoothest creamiest hummus will happen because of a fine puree.
3. Taste the hummus and salt to taste, still using the food processor. If the hummus is too thick and not a smooth creamy consistency, add a tablespoon of the reserved chickpea liquid to thin it out a bit.
Many people will top their hummus with extra olive oil, extra chickpeas, paprika, sumac, chili powder, ground spiced lamb, ground spiced beef, chopped mint, hard boiled eggs, and so many more things. These are some of my favorites.
Paprika. This gives an otherwise bland colored dish a nice pop of color as well as flavor. When I have it on hand I like to use my oft recommended Hungarian Sweet Smoked Paprika I picked up during my trips to Budapest.
Roasted Red Peppers. You can buy these jarred in oil and there really isn’t anything wrong with that, but if you want to really punch it up, try blistering your red peppers on your burner yourself. After, scrape away some of the burnt part and soak them in olive oil for a few minutes before topping the hummus.
Spiced Minced Lamb. This is popular when eating hummus as a dip with pita bread. Simply take some ground/minced lamb and season it with cumin, coriander, paprika, and cinnamon (quite similar to the lamb seasonings for a traditional Moussaka) and saute for a few minutes until brown.
What To Eat With Hummus
This list could be a mile long so I’ll just choose a few choice dishes that really pair well with hummus.
Pita Bread. The standard middle eastern bread for falafel sandwiches, chips, and wraps, pita is extremely versatile. Try my recipe for Georgian Lavash (Pita) which also pairs great with hummus.
Kofta Kebab. Why? Because this is a recipe I already have on the site. A simple Turkish meat kebab goes great with hummus (especially wrapped up in a delicious pita/lavash similar to doner kebabs).
Crudité. Obviously had to pick this, as it’s featured in the picture. A few crisp fresh veggies with hummus as a dip are a great appetizer for parties, or a healthy afternoon snack for kids.
What Do You Think Of This Dish?
Let Me Know Your Opinions In The Comments Down Below!
- 400 grams Chickpeas fresh or canned
- 75 grams Tahini
- 4 cloves Garlic
- 30 ml Lemon Juice fresh squeezed
- 50 ml Great Olive Oil
- Salt to taste
- The first thing to do is to prepare your chickpeas. Open the can and strain the water into a cup. Do not get rid of the water. This is known as aqua faba in Greece and other Mediterranean countries and is extremely useful. You now have to peel each individual bean and place them into the food processor. (I just do this while watching tv since it's pretty relaxing and monotonous).
- In the food processor add the Tahini, Garlic, and Lemon Juice and let run until a paste is formed. While it is running slowly drizzle in the olive oil and let run for like 5 minutes. I mean really, we are letting the machine do all the work, and the smoothest creamiest hummus will happen because of a fine puree.
- Taste the hummus and salt to taste, still using the food processor. If the hummus is too thick and not a smooth creamy consistency, add a tablespoon of the reserved chickpea liquid to thin it out a bit.