12 July 2007

Hummus Dilettante


In general, I am fairly open to different interpretations of dishes, I am not one of those pedants who will tell you couscous must absolutely be made in a special clay pot, or pasta has to be made with just that flour. However, having lived in the Middle East, there are some offenses committed against Middle Eastern/Arab foods that really get under my skin. To name two basic staples: hummus and tabboule. My irritation stems less from the misappropriation of these dishes, but rather that these dishes are so good when properly made that people have no idea what they are missing.

Let's start with that ubiquitous staple: hummus, or it's full name hummus bi tahine. But first let me reveal something: few people living in Middle Eastern cities make their own hummus. They buy it, from hummus vendors, often called hamsani. Just like the French purchase their croissants and Italians buy much of their pasta, Levantine cities have hummus shops on every corner. These shops sell freshly cooked chickpeas, hummus, and dried fava beans called foul. There's usually a few little tables or a counter to eat a bowl of hummus and a takeout counter where hummus is sold by weight in plastic bags. Now, let's get to some of the qualities of good hummus:


One of the important attributes of hummus is that it is a smooth consistency, which is where many attempts at hummus fail. The traditional tool for this is a food mill, but a food processor or blender can work equally well. Another key to the smoothness of your hummus is the chickpeas themselves: the chickpeas should be cooked so that they are meltingly soft and the outer skins have fallen away. In fact,, I really find that the best, smoothest hummus comes when you peel the chickpeas. And yes, this sounds crazy, but it really doesn't take much time (you just sort of pinch them and they pop off) and it makes a vast improvement in the texture of your hummus.

Secondly, the word hummus means 'chickpea.' You are free to mix many things into your hummus, but the base ingredient should remain chickpeas. Not white beans, not red peppers, not olives nor beets. It's totally fine if you use these things, but please use a name other than hummus. There are lots of good variations on hummus that I've listed below.

I've always said one of the keys to Arab cooking is the copious use of lemon juice in everything, and that holds true for hummus. Fresh lemon juice is best. Also, garlic and spices shouldn’t overwhelm, but this can vary on personal taste.

Finally, there is the issue of presentation. This also ties in to the above issue of consistency- your hummus should not be chunky or thick enough to make a mound (see: yes, yes, and no, no). You don't have to be perfect here, but choose a wide flat bowl or plate to serve your hummus. A drizzle of olive oil in the center is traditional, and you can also decorate with spices or chopped herbs.

I realize that this makes me sound like a total hummus dictator; I like to think of it as more of a hummus dilettante. But here’s what I’m saying: with all the rhetoric going around about a better understanding of the Middle East, let’s at least get the hummus right. After all, it’s a dish that’s been perfected over thousands of years, so get to know the classic version. I also realize a lot of people out there have already had these revelations, perhaps at their local Lebanese restaurant, or in their own kitchens and if you have any of your own tips or experiences, please feel free to share them in the comments.


Hummus bi Tahine
Although hummus is best made with freshly-cooked chickpeas, sometimes time and convenience mean that canned chickpeas are an acceptable option. Please also note the directions for making hummus in a food mill at the bottom. Don't be alarmed by the length of this recipe, I'm merely verbose, it's really quite simple.

3 cups cooked chickpeas, from 1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas, or 2 (15 oz) cans
1/2 tsp salt
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
1/3 cup lemon juice
olive oil, parsley, paprika or cumin for serving

1. For dried chickpeas: Soak the chickpeas overnight in water. Drain, and place chickpeas in a pot and add fresh water to cover by at least one inch, gently rub the chickpeas against each other with your hands. Bring the chickpeas to a boil with a pinch of salt, skim the surface, then lower the heat and simmer until the chickpeas are tender, about 1 1/2 hours. If you are peeling the chickpeas, allow them to cool slightly and then peel them, pinching off the skins. Do not discard the cooking water.

For canned chickpeas: Rinse the chickpeas, then place in a saucepan with water to cover by one inch. Put your hands in the pot and gently rub the chickpeas against each other. Place saucepan on the stove and bring to a boil and simmer until chickpeas are very soft: test a chickpea by squeezing it between your fingers, it should smush easily, this could take between 5 and 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, skim off any chickpea skins that have floated to the surface and discard them. If you are peeling the chickpeas, allow them to cool slightly and then peel them, pinching off the skins.

2. Place the garlic and salt in a food processor and pulse to chop. Add the tahini and lemon juice and process until the mixture is slightly whitened and contracted. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chickpeas to the processor (don't discard the cooking liquid) and process until very smooth. Thin the hummus to the desired consistency with the reserved cooking liquid. Taste and adjust seasoning with lemon juice and salt.

4. Make ahead: if you are making your hummus ahead of time, or don't plan to serve it immediately, the hummus will thicken up and stiffen as it sits. I recommend leaving the hummus in the bowl of the food processor until you are going to serve it (refrigerating overnight if necessary), and reserving some of the chickpea cooking liquid. Then, when you're ready to serve the hummus, simply process the hummus with a bit more cooking liquid to achieve the desired consistency. On the up-side, if you accidentally made your hummus too thin the begin with, then pop it into the fridge to thicken up a bit.

5. To serve: spread hummus in a shallow bowl, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with spices if desired. Traditional accompaniments include pita bread, pickles, fresh mint, and hot tea.

Variations:
- Hummus with Meat: In a pan, sauté some ground beef in a pan with a pinch of allspice and cinnamon until well browned, about 5 minutes. Crumble into small bits and scatter the meat over the hummus. You can also add diced onion and pinenuts to the meat mixture.
- Hummus Beiruti: Stir a large handful of chopped parsley into the hummus before serving.
- Hummus Musabahha: This version of hummus leaves the chickpeas somewhat chunky.
- Hummus bi Zeit (Hummus with oil): replace the tahine with olive oil. Please note that hummus is rarely made with both oil and tahini in the puree, it's either hummus with tahini, or hummus with oil, though olive oil is drizzled on top of both for serving.
- Warmed Hummus: Spread hummus in a shallow baking dish and bake until warmed through.
- Hummus bel Snoobar (Hummus with Pine Nuts): Sauté pine nuts in a generous spoonful of clarified butter. Pour the butter and toasted pine nuts over the surface of the hummus.
- Hummus Akhdar: Add in roasted red peppers and pomegranate molasses for a beautiful sour-sweet hummus. 
- Hummus bi Sujuk: Sujuk is a traditional (and delicious!) Lebanese-Armenian beef sausage. Serve hummus topped with sauteed sujuk, or other sausage of choice.

*Also Note: I give instructions for using a food processor here, because I find it is most convenient in the modern kitchen, but the traditional way is to use a food mill: purée the chickpeas in a food mill. In a mortar and pestle smash together the garlic, salt, and lemon. In a large bowl, stir the garlic-lemon mixture into the tahini so that it lightens in olor and contracts slightly. Add the chickpea purée to the tahine mixture, adjust seasonings. Pass through a food mill one final time to combine. This traditional way produces the best, smoothest hummus in my opinion.

101 comments:

Pagliacci said...

excellent article, very informative. i'm a huge hummus fan

foodFREAK said...

YES!

I love what you say about hummus and totally agree, espically about consistentcy and presentation. Love the olive oil on top, I do this every time, sometimes with a sprinkle of paprika. Once at a restaurant in Boston, I was served tahini on its own, with a drizzle of olive oil. It was sooo good. I still have not found a tahini as good as that, which could be eaten on its own.

Great blog. You are obviously passionate about what you eat.

Food Freak

sausan said...

As I've been living in the middle east for some time, too, I can second all you said about middle eastern food and Hummus wa tabbouleh or Baba Ganush !! It is more than delicious!! TY for this article!!

Dalia said...

YES! FINALLY! Someone to set the record straight.

Even with the garnish, we traditionally use either chopped parsley, sumac, or camoun (in little pinches on the corners, just as your picture shows). Dressing (spicy green chilis and garlic in lemon juice) is sometimes added to people who like it spicy, but it is never incorporated into the actual hummus as I've seen some crazies do.

Second, tabbouleh is basically a parsley salad with a smaller ratio of burghul (or bulghur as its said in America), finely chopped tomatoes and scallions, drenched in lemon juice (fresh) and olive oil. Thats all there is to it. Its green in appearance, not cous-cous looking with a few specks of green as I've seen some of these atrocities.

Last but not least, the hugest misconception about baba ghanoush is that its the pureed eggplant with garlic, yoghurt and lemon. That dish is actually called MTABBAL. Baba ghanoush is actually roasted mashed eggplants tossed with diced tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers, lemon and (of course) olive oil.

I hope this comment doesnt come off as bitchy, but just like you, I'm sick of seeing people butcher these classic dishes.
Trust me, I'm a Palestinian living in Jordan ;)

Love your blog!!!

Dalia said...

Oh, one last addition to the great hummus plates you just mentioned: Fattet hummus. Hummus mixed with garlic and lemon juice, topped with toasted pita shreds, boiled chickpeas, fried snobar (pine nuts) and fried minced meat. Best Friday (or Sunday, depending on your location) breakfast ever with a cup of mint tea.

Stampernmore said...

excellent blog, I am so glad I found it! I feel like making some hummus now :)

imposterpockets said...

I had a Lebanese roommate a few years back and his mother made the most delicious tabboule I have ever had. It was so fresh and green and moist. Very different from the dry, tasteless bowl of cracked wheat with a sprinkle of dried parsley flakes I had experienced previously.

I would love to see your recipe if you have one handy. My previous roommate's mother did not have measured recipes for anything. She measured by looking at the ingredients.

Frasypoo said...

Will try it out....looks so good

CindyLV said...

I am at my desk eating lunch, hummus and grilled pita bread, when I found your blog listed in the Blogs of Note. If that's not MAGIC, I don't know what is.

Thanks for the recipes and lovely blog!

Peggy the Veggie said...

Great post- I'm glad that I now know how to make real, authentic hummus :)

Hilda said...

I totally agree about everything you're saying and it's nice that someone's setting the record straight. It makes me feel like it's going to be ok to post the Iranian version of raita and tzatziki, which tastes like neither of those but which I know will undoubtedly lead to comparisons in comments, no one ever wants to look like they have no idea about something really basic...

bea at la tartine gourmande said...

This looks like a very nice bowl of hummus!

Mercedes said...

Foodfreak- I'm glad you agree. You could try making your own tahini. Toast and grind sesame seeds to a paste, then add lemon juice and salt to taste. I should add that tahini has two meanings- one simply sesame seed paste, the other is tahini sauce, which is seasoned with lemon and salt, and sometimes garlic. I hope that helps you on your quest for tahini.

Sausan-glad you agree.

Dalia- I'm afraid you're preaching to the converted, but I'm glad what I said resonated with you. I'm working on a post about tabboule, just like you said all green!
I will say that in some places the eggpant-tahini dip is called baba ganoush and in some places it's called moutabbal, so confusion is understandable. In parts of Beirut and Tunisia it's baba ganoush, but in Damascus it's definitely moutabbal (and baba ganoush is the dish you describe).

Finally, I adore fetteh, it's one of my favorite dishes. I didn't include it here b/c I consider it in the fetteh category of dishes, and separate from hummus. Have you ever ad the version with the cow's hoof on top (eek!)?

Imposter- You read my mind, I'm working on a post on tabboule next, so stay tuned!

Cindy- what a coincidence!

Great Peggy!

Hilda- by all means, you should share your knowledges and experiences, I'd love to know about the Iranian dishes you describe!

Thanks Bea, I'm honored to see you here since I'm such an admirer of yours!

Alma said...

This is very neat! I love hummus and I usually go to a cafe nearby that focuses on Middle-Eastern/Arab foods. The owners are from Iran. I remember the 1st time I went there, the owner/cook said "Try it, this is the real thing." And it was!! Now, I'll give it a shot myself.

MissBehavin said...

I'm definately going to try this one! I only just discovered hummus and want to know what the real thing should taste like. A huge thanks for the blog, I'm loving it and good luck with the housekeeping.

PS I just took your carrot cake out of the oven and it smells like heaven. I'm off to play with marzipan for the first time!

Margot said...

Ah, I love me my Middle Eastern food.
Thanks!

Thanks for visiting. said...

My kids love hummus but I often bored with it. You have rekindled my passion giving me new ideas.

Thanks for your ongoing passion about food. It's the passion which gets cooked into the food that makes all the difference.

Love, peace and chocolate

DaviMack said...

Fabulous. Sent it to my mother-in-law. We'll see if it'll make a difference (we think not).

Thanks!

Mercedes said...

Alma- great you're discovering middle eastern food, I hope you try it!

MissBehavin- Great, I'm flattered you've made the carrot cake, do let me know what you think!

tfv- oh no, bored with hummus! I hope you rekindle your love, or you could make baba ganoush/motabbal.

davi- haha, that made me laugh, we all have relatives like that!

Sandi said...

Wow. I can't wait to try it. My husband and I love exotic food. I can't believe I have never tried hummus. Thanks for all the tips. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Culinarily Curious said...

Thanks for setting the record straight. I love humus and I wish I could try your recipe but I have to be VERY careful as I often react allergically to chickpeas... :(

signing as said...

having spent a lot of time in egypt i love this recipe, i really enjoy your site and will visit again

Mercedes said...

Sandi- do let me know what you think!

culinary curious- oh my, i've never heard of a chickpea allergy (are you also allergic to favas?). I'd say in your case, bend the rules and use another bean. Do be careful!

signining as- welcome, i do hope you enjoy the site!

kate said...

So true ... make your own hummus. The store-bought varieties here just don't cut it.

Great recipes ... I am impressed with how you can sculpt marzipan bunnies! And that carrot cake recipe looks delicious.

Holly Chase said...

Hummus bi Tahine Demystified

Mashallah, Mercedes!

All your readers should know that you have this ABSOLUTELY right.

With your very articulate explanatation and no hype, you have presented the quintessential hummus bi tahine, right down to the classic way to plate it. Welcome, too, is your commentary on our maddening American tendency to retain a name for dishes as we transform them. If your readers learn that "hummus" is the generic word for "chickpea," then perhaps they can learn that there is much, much more to the Middle East than tragic headlines from Gaza and Baghdad.

As one who constantly uses food, particularly the cuisines of the Levant, as a teaching tool, I say that a bite of stuffed grapeleaf puts the history of the entire region on the tip of one's tongue.

And this brings me to your LEMON JUICE observation. You're right: Levantine preparations use lots of it. Because so much of the food is prepared by people who either do not drink alcohol or drink a spirit like arak, rather than WINE, the high acidity of citrus is not a problem for those enjoying mezze. However, if one drinks wine with mezze, excessive lemon juice can be unpleasant. My solution, for myself and wine-drinking guests, is to used some juice, yes, but also to include grated LEMON ZEST, which as far as I know, most Levantine cooks ignore as a salad and mezze ingredient. Make hummus bi tahine at least an hour before serving, so both garlic and zest have time to mellow. When the dish is served, the citrus note is intense, but the acidity is lessened.

Let all of us who know the Middle East bring food to the fore as an instrument of cultural understanding and detente. Sihhateyin!

Holly
http://hollychase.igc.org

Figs Olives Wine said...

Fantastic post. I totally agree the innovation is vital - but must be acknowledged as such! I'm really looking forward to trying these variations.

dinalou said...

I stumbled upon your blog when I came back to see if my blog was still active. I love your writing style,and especially liked your post about your birthday cake. I intend to try your quick cinnamon rolls.

Mercedes said...

Holly- Ahlan wa sahlan. Thanks for your comments, what an interesting observation about lemon juice and wine- I'd never thought about it before and I'll have to keep that in mind.

figs olives wine- thanks, I'm glad you agree (esp. since I'm such a fan of your site)

welcome dinalou!

garbanzobean said...

my blog is called 'life is a bowl of garlic hummus' and i'm the garbanzobean.. thank you for doing me JUSTICE!

KJ said...

I love middle eastern food (a huge generalisation I know). I'm always keen to learn more about it. I would love to be able to cook my favourite dishes really well. Thanks for a very informative post.

Subservient No More said...

I'm surprised no one mentioned this. My ultimate hummus pet peeve is its rampant mispronunciation. It's so bad that when I pronounce it correctly no one knows what I'm talking about.

It's not hummmiss. It's more like Hoo moos. My Israeli relatives say it like CHooo moos, with the CH part sounding like an H with a bone caught in their throat, but I'm not sure if this is standard in other middle eastern languages or unique to Hebrew.

Deborah said...

The hummus looks divine and I've got to try your recipe! Thank you for sharing!
Deborah

Kiriel du Papillon said...

I am so with you on this one. Hummus is one of my real bugbears; I just don't order it anymore having been frustrated by too many dry, grainy and nasty hummus's. I go the baba ganoush route now, although that can be ruined too by the eggplant not being cooked till smokey.

The cultural cringe against fat is part of the culprit for lousy hummus. Let us fight the good fight for good oils in our lives!

Suzy said...

You do realise that 'dilettante' means 'frivolous amateur', don't you? I think you maybe meant something else! (And it's great to be so passionate about what you cook, but perhaps not so nice to knock the efforts of others like you are doing here - can't your cooking stand on its own?) Still - your hummus looks great!

Mercedes said...

subservient- I haven't noticed too much mispronunciation, but I have to say pronouncing hommus with a "ch" sound is very odd and must be peculiar to hebrew. The letter used in Arabic is a soft h sound.

kiriel- glad you share a love of good hummus!

suzy- you're right, dilettante does mean amateur, but it also means some one who is "a lover of an art or science, esp. of a fine art, a connoiseur." (to quote the dictionary) I'm someone who loves hummus, but I'm also not a professional hummus maker, so that's why I chose this word. You're right that it may not be the best word choice in some cases, but that was my reasoning.

Alex said...

I've been making hummus all my life (my mother is Syrian) but I recently decided to try taking the skins off the canned chick peas before processing them. This was precipitated by a story my mother told me about remembering her mother sitting with a bowl of soaked chick peas skinning every one.
Anyway, I ended up with the SMOOTHEST, best tasting hummus ever. I only make it this way now. All the bitterness is in the skins, and it's a thousand times better without them.
One note: there's an ongoing argument among my mother and her sisters about use of oil in the presentation. I like it. My aunts like it. My mother is against it. But we all like to garnish with pomegranate seeds or parsley.
As for pronunciation, in my family's Homsian dialect, it's a breathy "h" and a quick move to the "m", but definitely a short u sound at both ends.

Mercedes said...

Alex-
Ahlan wa sahlan! So many of my Syrian friends are Homsi- they're the best!
I completely agree with you about chickpea skins (did you see the note in the recipe). I actually pinched the chickpea skins off when making hummus until my Lebanese friend told me that using a food mill does the same thing. And she's right! So now, I usually advocate people using a food mill since it's much easier than removing the skins. Also, if you rub the chickpeas together vigorously before cooking them most of the skins will dislodge and float to the surface so you can discard them. You're right about removing the skins, but hopefully the techniques I advocate here will have the same effect without so much labor.
Shukran jazilan, thanks for the comment!

Living Valley Springs said...

Yummm...! Great article!

Living Valley Springs said...

Do you have a special recipe for Babaganoush? I'd be interested in seeing how you would make it...

inmorocco said...

love this--and thanks for the recipe. i'm studying in morocco this summer, and the town i'm living in has this amazing little syrian restaraunt with the best hummus i've ever had. ironic that my favorite restaurant in morocco is syrian. shukran!

Oladeji said...

No doubt youre a gifted cook. Not only that it's quite apperent you've travelled far to gather your skills, am I right? This amply shows through your choice of words as provide your dishes' names.

In all, I applaud your creativeness & relentless desire to get things right.

My step mum is an Egyptian, don't she make lovely hummus & baba ganud (not sure I wrote the latter right) are prominant part of their dishes - I figure you must know that anyway. Now I better get something to eat, starving after all that!

Stay bless

Abu said...

I seem to stumble back to your blog. Nice work girl. Just the other day I wrote to some blog that had a tabbouleh that started off with like 4 cups of burgol and a cup of parsley, and a quarter cup of lemon oil. It went to add artichokes and cucumbers. Call it some other name but do not call it tabouleh. Anyways I do not know where can we squeez what we call the fatteh of hummus. That is when you throw some peta bread shreded, cover it with some chickpeas , and then if you livein Beirut you will cover it with some yougurt with a clove or two of smootherd garlic in it. Then you splash over it some pine nuts fried in butter, or oil, or butter ghee. Then you have the fatte syrian style where you get the bread the chickpeas, and cover it with thinned down hummus bi tahini, and you cover it with some olive oil, or with th epine nuts again. You also have the fatteh bil zeit, where you just throw the bread, the chickpeas, and cover them with olive oil that was put into a food processor with some of the water that was used to boil the peas and some olive oil and a half tea spoon of sodium bicarbonate, a lot of cumin is used to cover it.

That Rachel Person said...

I spent an hour pinching the skins off by hand (while watching TV) instead...and everything is done now and looks sooo smooth and good! Thanks for the recipe. ^^

Patricia said...

I tried your recipe last night, and it turned out wonderfully :) Thank you for sharing!

K said...

This was very interesting, thank you very much!

Nicole from: For the Love of Food said...

This came out absolutely delicious! Thank you so much, I can't wait to try the other variations.

kittie said...

Thank you for such an interesting post! I am absolutely CRAVING hummus and pita bread now...

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love authentic hummus -- you're right, the stuff in the supermarkets is never quite right. I'm an American girl who grew up in the Middle East and I have a very specific idea in my head of what hummus should taste like. Your recipe sounds great -- hopefully I'll get to try it soon. I also agree with another commenter on baba ganoush -- it is NOT the same thing as muttabal. I know this because I LOVE real baba ganoush and I do not like muttabal. Great site!

Hala said...

Lots of good tips on how to make great "hummus", however, the comment "note that hummus is never made with both oil and tahini in the puree" can deprive the ultimate hummus dish from the wonderful smooth texture/flavor that small amount of olive oil can impart inside the puree. When adding 2 T. olive oil very slowly to the food processor while pureeing the ingredients, you end up with velvety texture (similar to when making homemade Mayo). If you add just the right amount of lemon juice it will balance both the tahini & olive oil very nicely. Try it, you'll see!

asus said...

I'm an American living in South Brasil and needed to make my own hummus and tahini paste. So I looked up about 10 recipes and decided to follow yours. The tahini paste I created had cumin, lemon, and garlic in it, so I didn't add any more to the hummus. That was the right move because it's already has quite a nice lemon flavor. I loved the whole project. Thank you!

I only wish I had such luck that the skins floated off the chick-peas...mine pretty much stayed on, even though they peas were soft and mushed easily. I had to remove each skin individually...

Just a few words said...

Great post,but "canned chickpeas are an acceptable option" ? I have to disagree about that one.

The

David said...

Should the tahini be hulled or unhulled? I went to the health food store and you could buy either...the unhulled seemed darker in colour (but i presume it healthier)

Anonymous said...

Should the tahini for the hummus be hulled or unhulled? I could buy either at the health food store

wosnes said...

I came across your blog entry about hummus via Kalyn's Kitchen blog about hummus.

What you say about hummus reminds me very much of an article I read in Saveur magazine (April, 2006) called "The World of Hummus." I've been making hummus from the recipe in that article ever since (albeit with canned chickpeas) and it's the best I've ever had. I'm totally spoiled!

Elizabeth said...

i love what i see on this blog. thank you!! i just made some hummus and pinched maybe 25% of the chickpeas and well.. it isnt smooth at all. is it an absolute pre-requisite to take off all the skins to ensure a very smooth hummus? what are other tips to make smooth hummus?

Mercedes said...

Hi Elizabeth- first off, I'm sorry you weren't completely happy with your hummus. There are several reasons your hummus wasn''t completely smooth (many of which are outlined above).

Primarily, make sure your chickpeas are cooked until meltingly tender. If you're chickpeas aren't compeltely tender (smush easily between your fingers), then they won't puree properly.

Also, what are you using to puree the chickpeas? Blender (not recommended), food processor, food mill? You might want to try passing them through a foodmill or pressing through a mesh strainer after pureeing them.

As you noted, you didn't pinch all the skins from the chickpeas, so that could be a contributing factor. But the first thing I'd check is that your chickpeas are tender so that they puree smoothly. I hope that helps, let me know if you try it again!

Stefanos said...

Your recipe is perfect !

Can I add a traditional "secret" from Greece ?

No need to boil your chickpeas for 90 minutes. Instead, when you put them overnight in water, add a tablespoon of baking soda. Next day, drain off this water and add freshwater for boiling the chickpeas. You will need no more than 45 minutes of boiling (energy and time saving).

You can use the same "secret" in other recipes also for softening pulses, e.g. for boiling dry beans.

Zaphia said...

After looking through a lot of recipes, I found yours. I made it this morning. Shelling the chickpeas was quite a process!

I sprinkled cumin and red chilli powder on top. Some olive oil too.

Am a little confused about the consistency though... how thin/thick it should be?

Rita said...

Hi Mercedes
I just wanted to let you know that I tried your recipe and I loved it. I also posted it and gave you all the credits, of course!
Thank you so much!

Angie said...

This was a lovely recipe -- I was recently challenged to a hummus-off and won hands down! I made one substitution -- using Meyer lemons -- and it made it taste amazing. I also spent the time peeling off the garbanzo shells from the beans after cooking them & it gave it that smooth smooth consistency. Totally worth it! Great food on this blog! :)

lasalleyves said...

Great article!

Sarah said...

This is the ONLY recipe out there for hummus that really tastes like hummus! I've made it zillions of times and shared it with all my friends - it's WONDERFUL. For some reason, every other recipe I've ever read/tried calls for meager TABLESPOONS of tahini and lemon juice. The result: something that scarcely resembles hummus at all. Thanks so much for posting; and I intend to try many more of your recipes in the future!

remember moments said...

just stumbled upon your blog in search of info on Hummous. Thank you!!

Ellen said...

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. This recipe turned out perfectly. I had been looking everywhere to learn to make good hummus. You have nailed it. I didn't want to risk it and peeled off every single one of the chickpea skins and it was delicious.

Anonymous said...

Yay! Thank you for this post. I have never found a store-bought hummus that I've liked and I've never made hummus and been satisfied. I bought some dried chickpeas the other day and am so excited to try your recipe! Any recommendations on finding a good store-bought tahini to use?

Cheers!

Ali Baba said...

Thanks for the great recipe and tips! I've been making hummus wrong for so long now =(. I just tried it out, my attempt is on my blog. It was delicious!

John said...

Fantastic article, beautifully written. I'm heartened to find another staunch hummus purist!

I developed my passion for hummus during childhood when I'd go out to dinner with my family at a local restaurant called the El Morocco, in Worcester, MA. (Anyone from Worcester remember The El?). I'm grateful that this fantastic restaurant existed because their hummus was, hands down, the best I've ever had. After they closed down, I searched for recipes or pre-made hummus that could compare, but nothing did. Then I ran into a woman whose mother used to live in the same building as the sisters whose family owned the restaurant. (They are Lebanese) The recipe she gave me creates hummus that is very close to what I remember having all those years ago, but not exact. Your recipe is similar to hers, but the measurements are a little different, so I'm anxious to try yours out to see how much closer I may be able to get to my food memory. lol.

Anyway, I'm grateful that you posted this article.

Thank you and I'll let you know how I make out.

P.m. said...

Shukran shukran shukran! Thank you so much. I grew up in Israel and have moved to the States 6 years ago, and since the move, I have not been able to find a hummus to rival that of Israel's mom and pop restaurants. My boyfriend found your blog and made the hummus for me one night, and it was maybe the most authentic one I have ever had ! Thank you so much. It is all in the acidity of the lemons and the bite of the garlic! Whenever I go to a middle eastern restaurant I gauge their hummus against your recipe and most if not all have been watery, bland, or just plain tahini and almost no garbanzo or the other way around! They could learn something from you!
So in close, THANK YOU! Keep the middle eastern food and spirit alive!

Sarah said...

Great article, this was the first thing that came up when I searched for "authentic hummus" in Google. I totally agree with you on people's ideas of hummus. When I make it myself, it's pretty much your recipe except I can't find dried garbanzo beans in my area. I live in Germany and to buy just a CAN of garbanzo beans on the economy is almost 3 euro, they're more of an "exotic" item in this country. I'm here with the military so I buy my cans of beans at the commissary but unfortunately they don't carry dried garbanzo beans either. I'd probably have to drive 45 minutes to Nurnberg to find a Middle Eastern store to get the dried beans.

Anonymous said...

I'm SO glad I found your blog today! You generously share much of your food experience and knowledge with us--which is just like the spirit of the Middle Eastern people I have been lucky enough to get to know here in the Deep South of the US, of all places.

I have already taken many good things from your blog, but these backroom secrets about hummus may prove to be the most coveted. I never knew why homemade by family was best, but I believe that every world cuisine is delicious, when you have the grandmothers of that culture preparing it! And you seem to be sharing some of those well-loved secrets.

So yes, SHUKRAN, Mercedes!!!

Safe journeys and happy memories wherever you go.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful article; thank you!

Note that you had a misspelling in the last paragraph:

"stir the garlic-lemon mixture into the tahini so that it lightens in olor and..."

"olor" seems to be "color" misspelled.

Anonymous said...

This looks delicious! I am excited to try it and then I'm sure I will have to stop buying the processed fake and nasty hummus that I have grown to love! LOL It's always better to learn the real recipe, and thanks to you I will try it for myself!

Aloha,
Virginia

Joey Joe said...

Jeez, every time I forget to keep the cooking water. And I need a better food processor or a food mill, my hummus isn't smooth enough. Guess I should stick with Sabra.

HiLo said...

Thank you for your post. This has become my go to hummus recipe and it always gets me tons of compliments. We rarely buy hummus from the supermarket since this version is so much better and relatively easy to make. Thank you again for sharing!

Sylvia said...

I love hummus, and I wish it was done better around here. It's hard to find good hummus in Texas-- I've never seen it with presentation as beautiful as yours!
-Sylvia
Solar Arizona

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your website. I m Middle Eastern and I knw what you mean when making a certain food the way it is. I can't stand when a dish from the Middle East is altered and not done the original way. I m a hardcore cook and baker and I know what good food is. So thank you for explaining the difference of certain foods.

Alisha @ Unusual Passions said...

I never knew that it was un-authentic to use both olive oil and tahini! That must be something people do to save money on the imported tahine. Thanks for the great post and recipe! It's the best!

Carolina said...

I use this recipe exclusively, and I wanted to share a time saver. Soak the dry chickpeas for two hours and then cook them in a pressure cooker at high pressure for 15 minutes. Works every time.

Christina said...

i am SO in love with this post. AH! thank you for this.

Zaid said...

Great recipe and comments on hummus. My family is from the Middle East and have been making hummus at home for generations. The recipe posted here is very close to our family recipe. I have to disagree with one reader's comment though - baba ghanouj and mtabbal are both commonly used to refer to a "dip" based around eggplant. Dalia is right in one way though, it does not have yoghurt in it. It is basically roasted, pureed eggplant, mixed with tahini, garlic, lemon and salt - almost like a "hummus" using eggplant instead of chickpeas as the base. I'm not sure where the language distinction between the use of baba ghanouj and mtabbal to refer to this dish comes from but both names are commonly used by people living in the Middle East of with that ethnic background.

Anonymous said...

I just made this using a food mill, and it has a wonderful texture, much better than the times I've used a food processor. I also like the subtle flavor of garlic, not overpowering as in some other hummus recipes I've tried. Thanks for this post. I will come back to this recipe again and again.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipes and insights.

To avoid artificial ingredients and save money I prefer to avoid store bought foods whenever possible. Yours is my go-to recipe for hummus every time and I share it with friends at every chance.

I sometimes substitute roasted garlic and add a couple of home roasted red peppers, sweet paprika, and a pinch or two of cayenne-the red pepper and paprika give it great color too.

Red lentils are an interesting substitute for chick peas as well.

On a cold winter day nothing beats hummus on grilled sourdough with fresh roasted turkey breast and melty cheddar cheese accompanied by a big bowl of piping hot tomato soup.

M.A. said...

I am in Israel now and want to buy a food mill. Any idea where I would look?

Riv said...

I've tried this twice so far, and it's fantastic! I've been trying to replicate a hummus I had at a restaurant in Israel and I think my second try is pretty darn close... I processed it in a blender the second time and the consistency was smoother. I also used canned chick peas and made a careful effort to remove all the skins, which I believe added to the smooth texture. Yummy!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, I am looking forward to making this! Very interesting to read about.

Marea said...

A thousand thank you's!!! FINALLY a recipe for hummus that looks and tastes like the stuff I get out at Middle Eastern restaurants!!! It was very time consuming peeling each skin off of each chic pea, but totally worth it. I wonder if there is an easier method of doing that process? Thanks again for sharing the real deal hummus!! :)

sidhrt said...

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for this post. I just made some rather remarkable hummus (bi zeit). Feeling pleased that I don't have to submit myself to the mortar that passes for hummus in Mumbai

Separately - if you ever happen to be in Doha - you must try the hummus from Cafe Al Foul Al Moomtaz restaurant. Supreme stuff.

HazelPeanut said...

Thanks so much for these recipes! I have just returned from a dream holiday in the Middle East and I'm dying for those flavors again. I've just made your hummus and it is dreamy! I'll have to work my way through all of your recipes...

Robin's Nesting Place said...

I found this recipe on Pinterest and made it today. It was delicious! I don't have a food mill so I did it in the Vitamix. I also didn't have tahini on hand so I made my own by toasting the sesame seeds and grinding them to a paste in the coffee grinder, (used only for flax and sesame seed). I added a little sesame seed oil to the paste. I'll definitely make this again! Thank you!

simple sustenance said...

Very informative post about hummus. Love it.

Hina said...

I just made this and it's amazing! The recipe was on point and very informative. Thank you sooo much!

Yillie said...

I made this hummus this evening and it was fabulous! I ate so much of it I spoiled my appetite for dinner :). Removing the skins made it special and so smooth. Thank you for sharing.

p0runam0r said...

I just made this and it is perfectly smooth and creamy. Thank you.

WestCoastGal said...

I think hummus is one of the few perfect foods in existence. I make mine like yours, I learned from my Turkish neighbour. I can't tolerate store bought hummus anymore! Do you have recipes for chicken with green olives and lemon, or chicken with prunes and honey that you could share? Keep up the good work!

Arc of the Curve said...

Finally got a decent food processor and immediately sought out authentic hummus recipes...which led me here. Not only did I find an amazing hummus recipe (there's simply no excuse for me to buy hummus again unless I'm ordering at a restaurant), I've bookmarked nearly two dozen other recipes I'm eager to try.

Sofia - As We Travel said...

I love hummus!!! It's dangerous though, because you never know when you've had enough - you can always have another spoon.

Anonymous said...

Truly the best recipe/technique. Finally, hummus that tastes like my old M.E. restaurant who closed :( made.

richard & erica said...

Great blog and hunnus article....just one question on the tahini...there is roasted and unroasted varieties...which one is the prefered one?...cheers!

chiropam said...

Excellent recipe - made it with organic dried chickpeas - came out lovely!

Sharon1965 said...

Hi Mercedes, great tips re the hummus! I've tried searching your recipe blog but are you still populating it? I hope so? !
Cheers
Sharon

faiçal MIKOU said...

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