Updated: Dec 31, 2020
Hummus in Arabic literally means chickpeas. The word hummus describes the legume itself. Hummus is a staple in homes all over the Middle East. Every family and every Hummus café takes pride in their recipe. But hummus is humble and made from basic ingredients. and perhaps its the most popular dip to travel all the way from the Middle East to the U.S.
This staple is eaten with most of meals in Arab homes. Its definitely key at the brunch or breakfast table. My mom often packed our hummus for school slathered in a pita pocket cut into two perfect halves packed with cucumbers and tomatoes on the side. Hummus is packed in plant based protein, fiber, iron and B vitamins, plus the tahini paste is loaded with calcium, zinc, copper making it an ideal dish for school lunches or as part of any healthy diet.
There are so many variations of hummus, hummus with beets, red peppers, avocado you name it .. But to create your own version one needs to learn the basic recipe. This is the one I grew up eating and will remain my favorite variation.
Soak hummus with baking soda overnight or at least for 8 hours
Boil the hummus in water until so tender and the skin starts to separate. Reserve some of the cooking liquid. make sure you remove any of the white foam on top from the baking soda.
Add the basics: Good quality Tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and cumin (optional)
Creamy Hummus Recipe:
2 cups dried chickpeas
2 tsp baking soda
1 cup Tahini paste *
2 cloves of fresh garlic (adjust to taste) *
Juice of two lemons* (more to taste if you want your hummus more tangy)
salt to taste
2 tbls olive oil
ice cubes (up to 5)
a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Toasted pine nuts
- Place the chickpeas in a bowl and cover with water. Add 1 tsp baking soda and let it soak overnight for best results or at least 8 hours.
- Drain the chickpeas and rinse under cold water
- In a pot combine the chickpeas, and the additional teaspoon of baking soda, mix to combine. Add enough water to cover, bring the pot to a boil over high heat. cook skimming the white foam as it develops. Boil for an hour or until the chickpeas are tender (they should fall apart if you squish them between your fingers) and the skin starts to separate. the cooking time will depend on the type and size of chickpeas you use. Cooking chickpeas is delicate. Cooking them for too long will result in a runny hummus and i think it looses some of its tastes. too hard the hummus will not be creamy. you want them to fall apart when squished between your fingers.
- Drain the chickpeas reserving the cooking liquid.
- you can add water to your chickpeas a few time to get rid of the falling skin, just like you would when you are soaking rice, this step will also help cool your hummus down so you can blend it.
- This step is optional: you could also go the extra step to rub the chickpeas between your fingers to remove their skins. But i never have enough patience to do this and I find that if you cook your chickpeas properly you can skip this step and still get a creamy smooth hummus.
- make sure the hummus is at room temperature before you blend it. If you blend hummus while hot or warm it will yield to a gummy consistency.
- In a food processor or a strong blender start by adding the chickpeas, blend until completely smooth and creamy. Add the tahini, garlic, salt and lemon juice. start by adding half the amount and then adjust to taste. Blend until you get a creamy texture, drizzle in 1-2 tbls of good extra virgin olive oil, this will help with the creamy texture plus it will add value to the taste. Add in a few ice cubes this help brighten the hummus.
- Scrape the bowl, adding a few tablespoons at a time of the cooking liquid until you get the creamy consistency you like. This process could take 5-8 minutes.
- Adjust the seasoning according to taste. Check the salt, and lemon juice add more if you need to.
Storage: Hummus will last up to 3 days in the fridge in an airtight container drizzled with olive oil.
* Hummus can last a lot longer in the fridge if you skip yep i am going to say it ..close your ears if you cant handle it but skip the lemon juice and garlic. and instead add 2 teaspoons of citric acid. In Palestine the hummus is always served with "dagga" which is a simple sauce that consists of garlic, olive oil and sometimes jalapenos which goes to confirm that restaurant style hummus doesn't use garlic or lemon sorry for the shocker.
* Tahini tends to thicken things up, to loosen up your hummus add more cold hummus cooking liquid or ice water. if hummus mixture is too thin add more tahini.
Spoon your hummus in the middle of a shallow dish, using the back of your spoon push the hummus towards the edge of the plate in a circular motion creating what looks like a border. of course this is the traditional way of plating the hummus. Have fun creating your own swirls and designs.
Sprinkle with ground cumin, paprika, toasted pine nuts seeds and finish with a drizzle of fruity olive oil.
Serve with warm pita bread, cut up vegetables, pickles, olives and fresh mints. A hot mint tea is often served with hummus.