Nutritious and easy to make, hummus is a great dish to serve if you’re expecting guests. Prepared in advance, it takes a bit of the pressure off when the guests are filing in.
I always start with dry chickpeas. It gives a much better taste, but if you’re in a bind, just go for the canned variety. I’m giving you a recipe, but remember, the best way to cook is to constantly taste and adjust to your own preferences.
- 2 cups drained well-cooked chickpeas – SAVE THE LIQUID
Add 1 tablespoon of baking soda and some salt to the water when you boil the peas. This tip was given to me by a friend in Beirut which renders the chickpeas more tender and with a slight effervescent and airy feel.
- 1/2 cup tahini (ground sesame seeds)
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus oil for drizzling. Use top quality oil for better taste
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled, or to taste
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Juice of 1 lemon or two if they’re small
- Parsley, paprika and toasted pine nuts for garnish
- Finish with a healthy sprinkling of olive oil before serving
"Hummus" comes from the Arabic word meaning "chickpeas", and the complete name of the prepared spread in Arabic is ḥummuṣ bi ṭaḥīna which means "chickpeas with tahini".
Start by blending the chickpeas along with some of its water, salt, pepper and garlic cloves with a stick mixer or a food processor. Add in some of the olive oil and lemon juice. Stop frequently to adjust the taste. If too thick, add more of the chickpea liquid.
Stop when you have reached your desired consistency. I prefer it with slight texture to give your teeth a bit of resistance.
This is a dish that can be prepared well in advance. It stays fresh for days in the fridge and can also be used for other dishes. You can add it to fish or meat, mix it in salads or use as base to add other ingredients like rice or quinoa.
When we traveled around the Middle East last year, one of our guides told us a funny story about hummus; when a girl and a boy in Israel meet for the first date, hummus is a guaranteed part of the meal. By looking at how the other person either swirls or drags their hummus, you know if the relationship is going to be harmonious or not… Are you a “dragger” or a “swirler”?