My friend Brandon and I ate lunch at a favorite Greek restaurant today he order hummus. He told he loved it and I said, “Dude… you should make it!”
While generally considered an Arabic dish, this dip or spread made from cooked chick peas, tahini (a paste made from sesame seeds), olive oil, lemon and garlic can be found all over the middle east. Of course you can find it all over the world now but I had it first in Denton where I went to school at Yummy’s along with the “Famous Tabbouleh Salad”, another favorite of mine. I learned to love middle eastern food when I lived in Denton and later in Dallas and knew, as I found how much I loved to cook, that these were dishes I had to learn more about.
Anyway, back to Hummus. Hummus is basically a dip made from mashed Chick Peas, one of the oldest staple foods from the middle east. It is a very old food, easy to make if you have the right stuff and keeps a long time in the fridge. Make a double or triple recipe and keep it on hand as a sandwich spread or dip for veggies, crackers and, of course, pita bread.
I can just imagine traveling back 600 years to the streets of Damascus, where the Hummus was hand crushed with the best olive oil and herbs…. but I suggest you use a good food processor. If you do not have one, I would suggest a powerful basic model as opposed to one that has a lot of fancy settings and speeds. I have a medium sized Cuisinart that has two settings – ON and OFF. It has power, will get the job done and last. Find Chick Peas (also called Garbanzo beans) with the white beans in a can, already cooked and in water. The Tahini Paste is a nut paste (or butter) so you could find it with the Peanut Butter. If you do not have a grocery chain near you that would have this, you may need to go to a Whole Foods or equivalent. This paste will last for a long time in the fridge once opened so feel free to buy a big jar. You will use over and over as you will love making your own hummus!
Here’s all you need:
1 15 oz. Can Chick Peas (drained)
1/4 Cup Tahini (Sesame paste)
2-3 cloves Garlic
Juice on one Lemon
Put the lid on the empty food processor and turn it on. Drop in the garlic gloves and let them chop. Turn off the food processor. Add in the drained Chick peas, Tahini paste, lemon juice, salt, pepper and about a 1/4 cup of olive oil. Put the top on a turn the processor on. Leave it on and let it all blend. If your hummus seems too thick and not moving smoothly in the processor, drizzle in a stream of the olive oil until it is to your liking. Hummus needs to be thick but smooth and a little more oil while the food processor is spinning can do this.
Taste and adjust the seasoning. Now you have basic hummus. You can use this recipe and add all sorts of spices, flavorings, sauce, etc. to create your own style. Here are some examples.
Wendy’s Favorite: Cilantro Lime Hummus Instead of Lemon juice use lime. before you put the chick peas in, add a handful of chopped fresh cilantro. A spicy addition could be a chopped jalapeno (leave out the seeds for less heat)
Black Olive Hummus Add a handful of good seeded Calamata olives when you put in the chick peas
Red Pepper Hummus Go to the oilve bar at you fancy grocery and get some of the roasted red peppers in olive oil (or roast you own). Give them a course chop and lay them in with the chick peas.
Roasted Garlic Take an entire head of garlic and shave off the bottom. Set the head cut side down into a square piece of foil. drizzle some olive oil, salt and pepper on top. Wrap the foil up around the garlic tight. Place in a 350 degree oven for about 20-30 minutes. Unwrap and squeeze the soft garlic paste out of the outer peal and drop into the processor with the chick peas.