An Israeli’s love: hummus – and in many variations…
Hummus is one of my favorite dishes. I grew up on eating hummus in Israel; in fact, most Israelis do. Hummus is one of Israel’s national foods, and I guess of at least 10 Arab countries around. Basically, you will find it all over the Middle East, and as many people who make it, so are the variations of it.
Hummus is a cultural and social phenomenon in Israel. Every Friday friends get together in Hummus Bars to celebrate the end of the work week by whipping up some hummus to eat with pita and talk nonsense very loudly. Now, choosing a place is a soap-opera in itself. The questions: Where to go? Where is the best hummus? always come up. And everyone has their own opinion. Some like Lebanese-style, some Saudian, Jordanian and not to mention that we all want to have it with good falafel – and good falafel is not easy to find. I tell you, hummus lovers are fanatics!
We, and I include myself, if the craving is strong enough and the mood is right, will travel half-way across the country to find the best spot. Sadly, once I left Israel the ‘real thing’ was gone. And here in Greece, they do not even know what hummus is! That’s when I said, enough is enough! And I set myself about the task to make my own ‘stuff’.
It’s been three years since I started making it and after trying many variations I feel I’ve got a good thing. It is not close to the ‘real thing’ but it is certainly much better than any packaged hummus I tasted, and unless you are now on a plane to Israel, I suggest you give it a try.
What I would like you to know about making hummus:
- First, good ingredients make a big difference, especially the olive oil and tahini.
- Secondly, use a pressure cooker if you can. It’s certainly the quickest way and the beans become the softest and with the richest taste.
- Thirdly, I added several variations that I think you will really enjoy. Having hummus with toppings is a great way to go.
If you are planning on cooking the chickpeas just for the purpose of making hummus, I would suggest making more and freezing some for later. It takes as much time to make 4 portions as it does 10. Hummus will keep well in the fridge for about 4-5 days (see my article ‘planning4leftovers’ in Daily Cooking)
175 gram (¾ cup) dry chickpeas (350 gram cooked)
40 ml (2 tbsp) lemon juice, 1 lemon juiced
65 ml (4 tbsp) tahini
80 ml (5,5 tbsp) olive oil
55 ml (4 tbsp) water
3 garlic cloves
1 5/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1 5/8 tsp cumin powder
pinch of chilli powder to taste (optional)
- Soak chickpeas over night.
- In a pressure cooker, bring chickpeas to first boil until frothy, change water and cook under pressure for 30 minutes, or till soft. If you use a pot it will take longer. It is good to boil the chickpeas three times and change the water. It does make the process longer, but it will prevent gas in your belly. 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda will quicken the softening process.
- While the chickpeas are cooking, place the olive oil, tahini, lemon, garlic and spices in a mixing bowl and puree. Keep the water for later.
- When the chickpeas are ready, set the water aside with a little less than 1/2 cup of chickpeas (100 g). Add the rest of the cooked chickpeas to the mixture in the bowl and puree with a stick blender or food processor, till soft and even. Add water as needed, depending on the consistency you like. Keep in mind that the hummus will absorb the liquids and become thicker in time. Taste and add salt as needed.
- To serve, spread the hummus on a plate, drip a little olive oil over it, sprinkle with a touch of paprika for colour and crown it with some chopped parsley or fresh coriander.
Yield: 600 gram
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
There are several variations for this recipe:
- Hummus with sun-dried tomatoes go very well with this recipe. Italians make a similar puree with garbanzo beans. Just add 25 gram of sun-dried tomatoes in oil (3-4) to the mixture before you puree and a teaspoon of sugar. Taste. If you are a lover of sun-dried tomatoes you can add as much as you like.
- Hummus with pesto (freshly made or from a jar). You can either mix it all as you puree or add to individual portions. About a teaspoon per person, or as you like.
- Hummus with sautéed mushrooms. Sauté some mushrooms with onion, garlic, rosemary and thyme. Serve warm over the hummus. Very tasty!
- Hummus asli: basic recipe plus warm cooked chickpeas with olive oil, parsely and pinenuts. Having warm soft chickpeas on the hummus is delightful and adds texture and richness to the dish. Just make sure that in the original recipe you add about 25 gram of dry chickpeas and remember to set them aside (50 gram cooked, 1/5 cup).
- Hummus tri-color: if you are having some friends over it would be nice to serve a combo. Make some plain hummus and set aside, then take a few portions and mix with sundried tomatoes, other portions you can mix with pesto. Serve with corn chips or pita bread.
Text by Adri for Osho News