Who doesn’t like Hummus? All of us that enjoy a good crudité platter expect there to be hummus. It’s just a standard. We’ve all had hummus that’s delightful and we’ve all had hummus that’s pretty sad. However, there is no need to go shopping for hummus anymore – you can make amazing hummus at home! In just a few, easy, steps, I will teach you to make the world’s best hummus.
Hummus: A very brief history
Hummus is a Levantine dip that is made from cooked chickpeas, blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic, among other ingredients. Hummus bi tahina (in Arabic) is a middle eastern staple that can be found around the globe. Regional versions are just as rich and varied as the areas from which they come. While the origin of hummus is subject to debate, the form of pureed chickpeas served cold with tahini don’t seem to appear prior to the Abbasid period in Egypt and the Levant region. This is around the 700’s.
The earliest known written recipe for hummus comes from Cairo in the 13th century. This puree of chickpeas and tahini appears in the Kitab Wasf al-Atima al-Mutada. Curiously, this recipe also contains vinegar, spices, herbs and nuts. Noticeably absent are garlic and lemon. Additionally the text states that it is served by rolling it out and letting it sit overnight. Another version, from the Kanz al-Fawa’id fi Tanwi’ al-Mawa’id does include pickled lemons, herbs and spices but no tahini or garlic! Even from the earliest examples, hummus varies widely by region.
Hummus Health Facts:
Why do health conscious people always seem to eat hummus? Well, it has a lot of health benefits. Here’s a few:
- It’s a great source of plant based protein and very nutritious. 100 grams (about 166 calories) provides about 7.9 grams of protein.
- It contains ingredients that help fight inflammation and is rich in antioxidants.
- Hummus is high in fiber with 6 grams of dietary fiber per 100 grams. Chick pea fiber also helps promote healthy gut bacteria.
- Hummus has a low glycemic index, so may help control blood sugar levels
- Contains heart-healthy ingredients that may reduce heart disease risk.
- Hummus is naturally gluten and dairy free.
The Secret to Making the World’s Best Hummus:
In the course of my many attempts at making hummus, I have discovered there are a few secrets that will yield amazingly smooth, creamy and delicious hummus. I am going to share those with you right now. Ready? Here they are:
- Add the ingredients slowly and in the specific order I have mentioned.
- There is a LOT of blending time in your food processor. This is a multi-stage process where I add the ingredients slowly, and spend a good deal of time blending between each stage. I will lay out this process below.
- Slowly add in reserved chickpea liquid at the end, blending between, until your hummus reaches the right consistency and smoothness.
- Refrigerate before serving. The mixture needs time to cool and for the flavors to fully blend.
30 Ounces of canned chickpeas. (2 cans)
1/3-1/2 Cup of reserved chick pea liquid.
½ Cup of tahini
½ Cup of olive oil
Roasted red peppers (buy them in a jar, as pictured)
2 Lemons, juiced – or bottled lemon juice in a pinch.
4 Garlic gloves, minced or chopped.
1 Teaspoon of cumin
½ Teaspoon of salt.
1) Add tahini, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic to your food processor. Toss them all in together.
2) Process for 30-45 seconds. We want all these elements thoroughly mixed.
3) Next, add the cumin and the salt.
4) Process again for 30-45 seconds. Stop and scrape the mixture together if needed in order for the cumin to get thoroughly mixed in.
5) Open both cans of chick peas and drain – BUT reserve this liquid! You will need it.
6) Add about half of your pile of chick peas to the food processor once it has drained off excess liquid.
7) Process for 1-2 minutes.
8) Add the remainder of your chickpeas.
9) Process for 1-2 minutes.
10) Add as many roasted peppers as you would like.
11) Process again for 1-2 minutes.
12) Here is where you start to make an evaluation about how smooth or thick/thin you want your hummus. Usually, I will add in some of the reserved chick pea liquid at this point – how much you add is up to you. Start with 1/4 cup increments with processing time between.
At the conclusion of this step, your mixture should be quite smooth – and don’t be afraid to just let the processor go for a bit if your results aren’t quite up to your expectations. Each batch is a bit different.
Tahini: The tahini, if it has been sitting for a while or on the grocery store shelf for a while will have separated in the jar slightly. The thickest, heaviest portion of the sesame seed mixture will have sunk to the bottom of the jar and the light, oily part of the mixture will have been reserved on top. Every new jar, I put in a long handled wooden spoon and stir it up. This isn’t easy and requires a bit of effort – especially if the mixture is highly separated. But make sure you get it stirred up before measuring and adding tahini to the mixture.
Additionally, I find it is important to thoroughly process the tahini first with the lemon juice and olive oil in order to get the three thoroughly integrated. It’s more difficult to get a smooth, uniform mixture if you wait to do this after adding the chick peas.
Chick peas – The Skin Debate: some cooks claim that raw chickpeas, boiled at home, with the skins removed, make for a smoother hummus. This may indeed be true. But my results would indicate that is a very long process to effect the same result by intentionally ensuring all ingredients are thoroughly mixed with the food processor, and spending some extra time processing the mixture as I have detailed above. Any smoother of a hummus and you’d likely have goat’s milk.
If you DO start with dried chick peas, make sure you cook them until they are soft and done – al-dente chick peas are very hard to work with when making hummus and usually yield very grainy results.
The Process vs. The Ingredients:
What’s important here is the slow, methodical process. THAT is what yields your best results. Blend times will alter based on your ingredients, of course, but following this kind of a deliberate and thorough process should yield amazing results. As I mentioned above, in the history of hummus, there are many, many versions. Experiment! Make it your own! Like pine nuts? Add them! How about cashews? Add them! Or oregano, cilantro or paprika! It’s easy to make, and easy to alter. And it’s always …always a crowd pleaser! Bon appetit!
Pretty much all hummus comes in somewhere between 25-35 calories per tablespoon.
For more information on healthy eating:
You can find more information on creating a healthy diet plan here.