Hummus is a fully vegetarian, lovely tasting dip. In the Middle-East they love it! It contains a paste of cooked chickpeas, sesame seeds, lemon juice and garlic, often with some water added. And spices or herbs such as cumin, chili powder or parsley provide for extra taste. The lemon juice also helps to improve storage time in the refrigerator. Eat hummus as a dip with your favorite crackers.
The art of making hummus
While making hummus is no rocket science, there are several points of attention to obtain a smooth, creamy and well tasting product. I prefer to make the tahini myself and also I prefer to cook the chickpeas. Ensure that the tahini, which essentially is sesame butter, is homogeneous without separate seeds in it. Use hulled (husk free) sesame seeds to reduce the bitterness. Likewise ensure that the chickpeas have been fully cooked. The addition of some baking soda during the boil will help to soften the almost invisible outer shell of the chickpeas, which helps them to detach. You can remove them as initially they float on top and later most of them dissolve. The preferred sequence is starting with the tahini and adding the lemon juice to it and homogenizing this. Thus a sesame cream is formed, i.e. sesame oil and sesame proteins dispersed in a watery phase. It appears as a thick white cream. Then add the garlic, followed by part of the chickpeas and water. All the time disperse using the blender. Add gradually more chick peas to end up with a creamy dip.
Regarding the ratios, there is room for some personal preference, for example using more tahini then listed in the recipe here, but the sequence of addition is key.
- Kitchen blender
- 1 3/4 cups cooked chickpeas, drained; recipe below you could use canned, cooked chickpeas (but less preferred)
- 1/4 cup tahini; recipe below you could use tahini from the store (but less preferred)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 3/8 cup ice cold water
- 1 large clove of garlic
- a few pinches of salt
- a good pinch of chili powder
- a squeeze of the pepper mill
Ingredients to make 1/4 cup tahin
- 1/4 cup hulled sesame seeds
- 2 tbsp sesame oil can be replaced by olive oil
Ingredients to make 1 3/4 cup cooked chick peas
- 2/3 cup dry chickpeas
- 1 1/2 quart (1.4 liter) water
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
Making the tahini
- Measure 1/4 cup of the hulled sesame seeds (ie without the husk; the lighter seeds).
- Heat the seeds in a flat iron pan and move them around to make them one to two shades darker. Let them cool down
- Grind these seeds in a small kitchen blender or in a similar accessory that may come with your immersion blender for 20 seconds
- Add 2 tbsp of sesame oil (olive oil permissible) and grind for one more minute until a smooth thick dripping paste has formed. Reserve
Cooking the chick peas
- Cover the chick peas with water overnight in the fridge or on the counter in the presence of the baking soda
- Transfer all to a pan, add the salt and bring to a boil
- Scoop off scum and empty hulls of the chick peas in the beginning of the boil
- Continue to cook them at low heat for 60-70 minutes
- Check for doneness of the peas after 60 minutes, and when done, drain and let them cool down
Instruction to make the hummus
- Add to the tahini in the kitchen blender the lemon juice and mix for one minute, thereby checking or re-arranging the mixture in the blender once with a chopstick or spoon
- Add the peeled garlic clove and pulse
- Then add the drained, cooked chickpeas and 1/4 cup of the ice cold water. Pulse and mix. Ensure there is no whole chickpeas left.
- Bring to taste by adding chili powder, pepper and salt. You may add some olive oil if so desired. Add some of the remaining ice cold water if you like the paste a bit thinner.
- When using canned, cooked chick peas and pre-made tahini, the time you need to make this wonderful dip is just 10-15 min.
- Tahini, which is rich in sesame oil that contains lots of poly and mono-unsaturated fats, is prone to oxidation. Therefore I prefer to make it fresh.