11 January 2014

Hummus Recipe


I had been in Saudi for almost a month before I realized that I hadn't ever noticed hummus being sold at the store.  Which I thought was a little odd . . . I mean hummus is a major Middle East thing, right?

We enjoy eating hummus from time to time, and in the States I just always purchased it.  But in honor of living in the Middle East I figured it's probably about time for me to learn to make my own.  I wish I had a fun story about how I got the recipe from a local (perhaps that will happen later), but instead I merely jumped on the internet to look for a good hummus recipe**.

I quickly found that most hummus recipes are very similar with small variations here and there.  I overcame my fear of using a food processor and made different batches of hummus over the course of a few weeks to try some of the variations and come up with my own version of hummus.  


Hummus

3 Tbsp.      lemon juice
1/4 cup      tahini*
2                minced garlic cloves
2 Tbsp.      olive oil
3/4 tsp.       salt
1/2 tsp.       ground cumin
1 Tbsp.       honey**
1 can          chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
2-3 Tbsp.   water

Combine the lemon juice and tahini (see below) in a food processor and process for about 60 seconds.  Scrape the bottom and sides and process again for about 30 seconds.


By 'whipping' the tahini and lemon juice (see below) before adding the other ingredients you'll get a smoother hummus.  This is a tip I picked up in a recipe somewhere, although unfortunately I didn't keep track of where.



Add the garlic, olive oil, salt, cumin and honey.  Process for 60 seconds, scrape the bottom and sides and then process again for about 30 seconds.

Add the chickpeas and process for 60 seconds.  Scrape the bottom and sides and then process another 1 to 2 minutes or until it starts looking smooth.  While the processor is going, slowly add the water until the hummus reaches your desired consistency.  Enjoy with pita bread, pita chips, chopped vegetables, or on a sandwich.  This hummus holds well for about a week in the fridge, and in my opinion tastes best on days 2 and 3 after the flavors have time to sit together a bit.

This is a basic recipe that can be altered to fit your preferences.  Try adding more or less garlic, lemon juice or cumin to suit your tastes.  Omit the honey if you like a 'bolder' hummus taste.  Or add roasted vegetables (such as zucchini, garlic, eggplant or bell peppers), chopped olives, or chopped nuts.  Or try topping it with something more 'authentic' such as pomegranate molasses or sumac.

Notes:

*Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds.  It has a nutty fragrance and over here it is sometime used as a dip just on its own.  I haven't ever looked for it in the States, but I wouldn't be surprised to find it in larger grocery stores in the ethnic section.  I also read some where that you can use peanut butter or almond butter as a substitute.  Over here there are more than 10 different brands of tahini available at the grocery store.

**Although the recipe didn't come from a local, the idea to add some honey to the hummus did.  We were at a fruit and vegetable market close to our house when I spotted a little shop that sold beans, nuts, etc.  (This was right after I had been looking at hummus recipes and before I knew what tahini looked like.)  We walked in and asked the gentleman if he sold tahini only to find out that he literally spoke not a single word of English.  Ben used his phone to translate a few words and between that and lots of gesturing we managed to communicate a little bit.  He pantomimed making hummus and part of what he 'added' was honey.  We ended up buying several things from him, one of which was Yemeni honey--from his home country of Yemen.

P.S.  I kept on the lookout for hummus at the grocery store and finally did find some--it was freshly prepared and in the deli section.  Since at the time we were leaving town soon I didn't get any, but we'll try it eventually.