Who loves hummus? Was that a silly question? I mean who doesn’t love hummus? If you open most refrigerators these days, you’re bound to find some version of a store bought hummus inside. But, my hummus has a secret ingredient and it is shockingly easy. Keep reading to find out the simple, yet magical ingredient that will transform your hummus creations.
This dip/spread/eat by the spoonful goodness seemed to start popping up at parties and grocery stores in the mid 2000’s. Hummus, a Middle Eastern staple, is something I grew up eating at home. Being half Egyptian, my mom (who is Indian) learned Egyptian cooking from my paternal grandmother for two reasons. First, my mom loves to cook and learn about new cuisines (clearly this is inheritable). Second, my papa needed the food he grew up eating! So, before hummus became popular, it was a dish that I was already quite familiar with eating and making.
(I always top mine with a single kalamata olive because that is what my mom does and sometimes “because that’s how my mom does it” is reason enough.)
Now, before I get too far into my hummus recipe, let’s talk about the pronunciation. Here in the U.S., the norm is to pronounce it as “hum-us,” but in the Middle East, it is pronounce “hoom-oce,” with a flow connecting the two syllables versus sharply isolating them. I admit that I am a bit of a chameleon of sorts in that when I’m with my friends, I make sure I pronounce it the “American” way so that everyone knows what I’m talking about, but when I speak to my family I say it the Middle Eastern way (which, to me, is the authentic way). All the cool kids say “hoom-oce.”
Making your own homemade hummus is not only easy, but it’s also healthier as it’s free of any additives or preservatives. Chickpeas are full of fiber and a great protein source (about 12 grams per cup). Plus, they are SUPER affordable. I also encourage you to check out any local Middle Eastern markets to get the best price on tahini (here in Chicago, I recommend Al-Khyam on Kedzie or any store on Devon avenue should also have it at a much more reasonable price than your grocery store).
This recipe is great as is or as a base. I recommend having fun with mix-ins. Try horseradish, olive tapenade, or even sriacha sauce.
Also, let’s briefly talk about skinning the chickpeas. To skin or not to skin the chickpeas is a question that I have come across during my hummus making journey. Ok, truthfully, I only have skinned them once and it took so long and was kind of tedious. Removing the thin skin from each chickpea was something that I had hoped would contribute to its creaminess, and it did, but the real difference is in your kitchen appliance. USE A BLENDER! A food processor (at least in my opinion) still leaves bits of chickpeas, resulting in a grainy texture. So, whether you skin or not, a blender provides the power an attention necessary to achieve a smooth product. Save yourself the trouble and feel free to leave those skins on as long as you’re using a blender, friends.
Lastly, I have examined many, many hummus recipes in my day and I’ve yet to find one that includes the magical ingredient that I find to be so imperative that I wouldn’t make hummus without it.
The chickpea liquid! Save all the liquid after heating the chickpeas (we heat to soften them a bit and make blending easier) as adding up to a cup will give you the creaminess without sacrificing the flavor. Plus, you’re saving on extra calories from the olive oil. Win! If you are using dried chickpeas, reserve some of the cooking liquid.
Making my basic hummus is very easy.
You will need chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), garlic, tahini (sesame paste), lemon, olive oil, and salt.
Heat the chickpeas and their liquid on the stove until heated through. Strain, reserving all the liquid.
In your blender add the rest of the ingredients (including about a 1/2 cup of the chickpea liquid) and give it a whirl.
Be sure to stop the blender a couple of times to add more liquid and stir the mixture so that the liquid can get down to the blades and work its magic so you get a smooth, creamy texture.
Doesn’t this look like a vortex of hummus that any hummus lover would be happy to be sucked into?
I hope that the next time you are looking for your hummus fix, you consider trying out my homemade hummus instead of store bought. It is affordable, delicious and nutritious!
- 2 15oz cans of chickpeas
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 tbsp tahini
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Juice of half a lemon
- Salt to taste
- (This recipe makes about 2 heaping cups of hummus)
- Heat the chickpeas on the stove with their liquid
- Strain and reserve all the liquid
- Add the chickpeas and remaining ingredients into your blender with 1/2 of the reserved liquid
- Blend and stop periodically to stir, adding up to another 3/4-1 cup of chickpea liquid
- Blend until smooth
- Top with olive oil to prevent crusting