Hummus is a Middle Eastern spread made from a blend of chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and spices. It’s commonly served as a starter or mezze, paired with pita bread, or as a side to dishes like falafel, kofta or kabobs. I was fortunate enough to learn how to prepare authentic hummus from a kabob maker in the Old City of Jerusalem. Using a few smart shortcuts I’ll share with you, it’s surprisingly easy to replicate at home. But you might ask, why go to this effort when I can just buy hummus at the store? Well, the benefits of homemade hummus are plenty. For starters, homemade hummus skips the soybean oil often found in store-bought varieties, staying true to traditional olive oil, and it swaps the artificial tang of citric acid with fresh, vibrant lemon juice. Also, no preservatives. Not only is homemade hummus healthier, but it also delivers a flavor that is heads and shoulders above store-bought varieties. And the best part is, it requires hardly any effort from you at all!
What You’ll Need To Make Hummus
- Chickpeas are the main ingredient in hummus. I use canned, which may come as a surprise since many hummus aficionados insist on using dried chickpeas. I assure you, it’s not necessary. I’ve made it both ways and there’s virtually no difference. I have also seen recipes that call for peeling the chickpeas. Supposedly, the skins prevent the hummus from getting super creamy. Again, I tried it — it took forever and I could not tell the difference. Keep it simple!
- The other key ingredient in hummus is tahini, a condiment made from toasted ground sesame seeds. Frequently used in Middle East cooking, tahini is also used in baba ghanoush and halva. You can find it in most supermarkets near the other nut butters.
- When you open a can of tahini, you will notice that the solids settle in the bottom the can, similar to natural peanut butter. It is very difficult to stir tahini in the can (the solids on the bottom are quite stiff) so I suggest scraping the entire contents of the can into a bowl, then using a whisk or hand-held electric mixer to blend. Place whatever tahini you don’t use back in the can and refrigerate until needed.
Begin by draining the chickpeas in a colander (no need to rinse them). You’ll need to save the canning liquid for the recipe and set aside a few whole chickpeas for serving.
Next, combine the drained chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, spices and 1/3 cup of the canning liquid in the bowl of a food processor.
Blitz for a few minutes until smooth and creamy, adding more of the reserved liquid to thin the hummus if desired. The hummus should just hold its shape when you drag a spoon through it.
Transfer the dip to a bowl and use a spoon to form a shallow well in the center. Drizzle a bit of olive oil in the well, sprinkle with paprika and parsley, and top with the reserved whole chick peas. Serve with pita wedges, pita chips or crudités. Enjoy!
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