By: Matthew Asfour
Hummus is an Arabic dip or spread, made from cooked chickpeas, blended with Tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic. It is a very popular dish in the Middle East; from Lebanon, my hometown, to as far as Egypt where they all love the presence of this dish.
Once upon a time, when I was a very young boy, I would be awoken by the smell of cooked chickpeas in my house. I could distinguish this smell from a mile away; the smell of homemade Hummus spread through every room in my home. This smell was so good that I rushed to get ready, brush my teeth and take my shower so that I could have the chance to eat the Hummus fresh with warm pita bread; this was my ideal Saturday morning breakfast. As the years went by, there was not one Saturday where my mom didn’t wake up at 8:00 am to prepare this dip for us. My father, my brother and I adore Hummus and every time it’s on the table it’s like a holiday in the house. “Dad! Come here, Ma made Hummus”, I yelled from the kitchen so my dad could hear me clearly and join me to eat some of the Hummus. This was very rare for me to do though because when my mother made Hummus I wanted it all to myself because it was so good. Chickpeas blended with lemon and garlic is the perfect mix for any dip. To this day, my mother wakes up every Saturday morning to prepare this amazing dish for the family. I could easily say that Hummus became part of the family tradition and will probably stay for another 100 years.
Hummus is served in a flat dish and decorated with parsley leafs and drizzled with good quality olive oil and served with a fresh warm pita bread for everyone to enjoy.
(Serves 3 – 4 people)
- 2 cups dry chickpeas (to be rinsed and drained before use) soaked in water
- ½ tsp. bicarbonate of soda overnight
- 3 cloves of garlic crushed
- ½ cup Tahini (sesame seed paste)
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- salt & pepper
1. Soak the chickpeas: Take a large bowl and put in the chickpeas. Then, pour over enough water to cover the chickpeas. Leave to soak overnight. In the morning, they will look plump and swollen.
2. Cook the chickpeas: Place a saucepan on the stove and add the chickpeas with the water. Turn on to a high heat. As the chickpeas begin to simmer, foam will rise to the top. Skim off this foam. Then, turn down the heat to a very slow simmer and cover with the pan lid. Cook for an hour and a half, adding more water through out the cooking if needed. Once cooked, the chickpeas should be plump and soft. You should be able to squash them.
3. Make the hummus: Place two spoonfuls of the chickpeas into a bowl and set aside. Then, spoon the remaining chickpeas into a blender. Put the lid on and purée until it becomes a fairly smooth paste. Repeat the process until all the chickpeas are used. Spoon the blended paste into a bowl.
4. Finish the hummus: Take the juice from the squeezed lemon and add it to the bowl of blended chickpea paste. Add in the tahini, season with salt stir well. Then, add a little water to moisten the mixture. Stir again until it is all well combined. Check that the amounts of salt and lemon juice are to your liking.
5. Make the chickpea garnish: Add the paprika to the bowl with the reserved chickpeas. Follow with the cumin, the tablespoon of lemon juice, olive oil, chopped green chili, chopped parsley and some salt. Mix it all together.
6. Serve and enjoy: Place two big spoonfuls of hummus onto a serving plate. Then, using the back of the spoon spread the humus around in swirls creating a hollow in the middle. Place the chickpea garnish in the center and enjoy!