Hummus is a very nutritious smooth velvety dip made of pureed chickpeas, aka garbanzo beans, tahini, and lemon juice. Hummus is originally called hummus bil-tahini, which translates to chickpeas and tahini, sesame paste, but it became famous as Hummus. Its easiness and affordability made it a staple on the Arabian, specially Levantine, table.
While it shows up as an appetizer on most restaurants’ menus all throughout the Middle East, it is considered a wholesome, yet affordable, breakfast eaten, accompanied with flafel, almost everyday in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Palestine. It is also served as a side dish with roasted meats and fries. Hummus is usually eaten with pita bread and other types of Arabic flatbread.
Variations of the recipe depend on the different toppings used over the Hummus dip. Some people top Hummus with fried meat and pine nut topping, Hummus bil-lahma; some drizzle it with special pepper sauce, Hummus bil-tatbeela; and some just simply garnish it with warm whole chickpeas and olive oil. Some variations of the recipes flavor Hummus with cumin and another very tasty variation of Hummus, may be called Garlic Hummus, flavors it with garlic. Crush 2 cloves of garlic and add to the mixture in the following recipe for a heavenly taste. Whichever variation you choose, the essential recipe is the same and the results are very delicious in their own special way.
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 90 minutes
- 3 cups (600 gr) dried chickpeas
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 3/4 cup (200 gr) tahini
- 1/2 cup lemon juice, ice cold
- 1 tablespoon sumac, paprika, or cumin
- 3 mint leaves
- Salt to taste
- Rinse the chickpeas and soak for about 8 hours (or overnight). Strain the chickpeas, put in a pot with at least twice its volume water. Add the baking soda and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and allow to cook for 60-90 min.
- When the chickpeas are well done strain them and keep the water aside. Leave them in a colander to get rid of any excess water.
- Put 3 tablespoons of whole cooked chickpeas aside for topping.
- In the food processor, or with a pestle if you do not have one, crush the chickpeas until you get a smooth thick paste.
- In a bowl, put the tahini and the salt. Start pouring a little bit of lemon juice at a time while stirring the tahini. Keep doing that until you have added all the juice and the tahini has become light and smooth yogurt-like sauce.
- Pour the thick chickpeas paste over the tahini sauce and stir until well incorporated.
- Add some of the cooking water if you like the Hummus to be runnier.
- Spoon the Hummus neatly in the serving bowl or platter, top with the whole chickpeas, and garnish with mint leaves, a generous dash of olive oil, and sumac, paprika, or cumin.
- It is widely believed that adding baking soda makes the cooking process faster and the chickpeas softer, yet some people do not believe it has an important contribution. Nonetheless, all restaurants use baking soda.
- When making the tahini sauce, the texture and color of the tahini will change gradually throughout the process, from dark colored paste, to a crumbly substance, then a lighter colored sauce with a texture resembling that of plain yogurt.
- You can skip the making of tahini sauce separately, by adding the tahini, lemon juice, salt and water to the chickpeas paste in the food processor. It is definitely faster but not tastier.
You may add ice cold water instead of the cooking water to make the Hummus runnier. This will make it lighter in color and for the stomach.
- To attain a really smooth velvety texture of Hummus, you are going to have to peel the chickpeas after cooking them. You can either put the boiling chickpeas after they are cooked under cold water to shock the chickpeas and cause the peel to crack, then rub them gently between your palms to release the peels and make them float to the surface. Or you can just strain the chickpeas after cooking and freeze them, Get them out of the freezer, put them in warm water, and rub in the same previous method.