18 May 2008

Homemade Hummus

Hummus, the creamy leguminous dip featuring pureed chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans or, in my family, tushie beans) and tahini (sesame seed paste), has become a staple in many American's diets.  Calling this undoubtedly Middle Eastern specialty an "American food" probably breaks a million codes of political correctness and smacks of cultural appropriation, but I'm gonna do it anyway.  No longer confined to natural food markets, multiple brands of hummus (many flavored creatively with olives, roasted peppers and garlic) can be found in supermarkets everywhere, and hummus sandwiches are featured on most any deli menu...and it's no wonder! Hummus is delish, and good for you too. Good for you, that is, if it's not chock full of additives, gobs of salt and saturated fats, which unfortunately is the case with many of these pre-packaged supermarket hummus options. The good news is that if you have a food processor in your kitchen, healthful and tasty hummus is super easy to make at home (and more affordable too).  I just whipped up a batch this afternoon after coming across this great recipe in Cooks Illustrated magazine--a recipe worth making again and again and customizing with your favorite additions.  I doubled the recipe to make a big batch and it worked out just fine. Next time around I think I'll play around with some different flavors and garnishes...pinenuts perhaps, or maybe roasted peppers.  And a few tips for any of you who might be uninitiated hummus-eaters out there:  hummus is a great appetizer/lunch served with pita bread, pita chips (or pretty much any kind of cracker), and crispy raw veggies.  It's also a great sandwich filling layered with cheese, roasted eggplant, sprouts or other veggies, or served as part of a Middle Eastern meal with baba ganush, tabbuli, dolmas, etc.  The options are many!

Best Hummus

3 tablespoons lemon juice (1-2 lemons)
1/4 cup water
6 tablespoons tahini, stirred well
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle on top
1 14 oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed through garlic press
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
pinch cayenne
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro or parsley for garnish

1. Combine lemon juice and water in small bowl or measuring cup. Whisk tahini and oil in another small bowl. Set aside a few tablespoons of whole chickpeas for garnish
2. Process chickpeas, garlic, salt, cumin, and cayenne in food processor until almost fully ground, about 15 seconds. Scrape down bowl with a spatula.  While machine is running, add lemon juice mixture in a steady stream through the feeding tube. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl and process for about another minute.  Again, with machine running, add the tahini mixture in a steady stream through the tube, continuing to process until smooth and creamy, about 15 seconds. You may have to stop to scrape down the bowl again. 
3. Transfer hummus to serving bowl or storage container and garnish with reserved chickpeas, chopped herbs, and a drizzle of olive oil. If serving rather than storing, cover with plastic wrap and let sit for about 1/2 hour to let flavors meld. Will last about 5 or so days in the fridge (maybe more). 


LaLaLaLeah said...

Well, you inspired me: I just finished making my first batch of hummus (yes, first - there are advantages to growing up in a house full of willing cooks). YUM! Why do people ever buy the packaged version?
! The recipe was simple and delicious.

laurel said...

Yay! You inspired me too! I just made my first batch of Baba Ganouj wish is incredibly easy, delicious, and a great compliment to hummus. Recipe to come.

laurel said...

I also like to make hummus with whatever bean I have on hand. I made it with fava beans yesterday, which was awesome. I've also heard of people who make it with black beans, but I have yet to try that version.