Hummus is probably one of the best known Middle Eastern foods due to its popularity worldwide. The chickpea based dip can be found in most conventional grocery stores in north America and on many non Middle Eastern restaurant menus.
The word hummus comes from the Egyptian word for chickpeas, the typical primary ingredient, although lots of other beans can be used instead. Variations of the modern day hummus recipe can be found as early as the 13th century in Egyptian cookbooks.
Hummus is typically served as part of an appetizer (or mezze) tray alongside falafel, eggplant and tahini sauce. Fresh or toasted pita bread as well as vegetables can be dipped into it. It also makes a filling and nutritious snack.
It's often flavored with spices such as cumin or sumac and can be served garnished with olive oil, chopped tomatoes, cucumber slices, parsley or cilantro, chickpeas and pine nuts.
The ready availability of the ingredients to make hummus is partly responsible for its popularity in countries like Egypt, Jordan and Syria. And its compatibility with both meat and dairy makes makes it suitable for Jewish dietary laws and, therefore, popular in Israel.
- 1 16 oz can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans
- 1/4 cup liquid from the can of chickpeas
- 3-5 tablespoons lemon juice (depending on taste)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Drain the chickpeas and set aside the liquid from the can. Combine the drained chickpeas, lemon juice, sesame paste, crushed garlic and salt in a blender or food processor. Add 1/4 cup of the reserved liquid from the chickpeas. Blend for 3-5 minutes on low until thoroughly mixed and smooth.
Place in a serving bowl, and create a shallow well in the center of the hummus.
Add a small amount (1-2 tablespoons) of olive oil in the well.
Garnish with parsley (optional).
Serve immediately with fresh, warm or toasted pita bread, or cover and refrigerate.
For a spicier hummus, add a sliced red chile or a dash of cayenne pepper.
Hummus can be refrigerated for up to 3 days and can be kept in the freezer for up to one month. Add a little olive oil if it appears to be too dry.