Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Homemade Hummus

Huma-what? I know you're asking...what is hummus? Hummus is a Middle Eastern chickpea dip. It is made by blending hummus, tahini, olive oil, and a couple of other ingredients together. I had never heard of hummus or tasted it until 11 years ago when we were having a birthday party for David and a friend brought some. It is traditionally served with pita bread, but I've seen it served alongside chips, veggies, crackers, or used as a spread in sandwiches and wraps.

I came home today after getting Christina from preschool and starting digging around in the pantry for lunch, because I was starving. I saw the 2 cans of chickpeas I'd bought before the Hurricane Ike hit. I didn't make hummus liked I'd planned because we didn't have power for 15 days. Then I found some chips and celery too... hummus was sounding better and better!

This is a cinch to make, but you really need a food processor to make it properly. You can use a blender or immersion blender if you don't mind your hummus a bit chunky. I like my hummus perfectly smooth.

Canned chickpeas can be found in same aisle as all the other beans (kidney, black, pinto, etc), and tahini can be found on the ethnic aisle. Tahini is essentially ground sesame seeds. I don't know why the container says, "Biladi." If your container says just "Tahini," you should be fine.

You will need to stir it very, very well before using as it settles (like a can of paint).

Homemade Hummus

2 cans (15.5 ounces each) chickpeas
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (bottled lemon juice is fine)
1/4 cup tahini (stirred very well)
2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
kosher salt to taste
olive oil for serving (optional)
paprika for serving (optional)

Open your cans of chickpeas, and drain 1/4 cup of the liquid into a measuring cup. I know, I overdid it a little here. Sorry...happens. Set aside the liquid.

Now dump the chickpeas into a colander placed in the sink, drain off the rest of the canning liquid, and rinse them under cold running water. Shake off any excess water.

Put the chickpeas in the food processor and process them for about a minute.

Honestly, you can put everything in except for the olive oil and paprika and just let it go, but my food processor will leak if I put straight liquid in it. So I process my chickpeas first to reduce the leaking issue.
Then add the lemon juice and garlic, and process that for a minute.

The last things to go in are the tahini, salt, and cayenne pepper. If you like hummus with a kick, feel free to add more cayenne.

Process the hummus until nice and smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings. I added a bit more salt and lemon juice to this particular batch. And yes, that little path in the hummus was me sampling. I promise my finger was clean... :-)
Whatever you do, don't add more garlic unless you really want to. I've found the garlic taste becomes very pronounced after a day or two in the fridge. I'd rather have an aftertaste of tahini and lemon juice instead of a real garlicky flavor. The hummus should be nice and thick, but spreadable, with a consistency similar to refried beans (sorry, only think I could think of!).
Serve with pita bread, chips, celery, or anything else you desire.
I ate my hummus today with some celery sticks and these awesome rice chips.

Don't run away because they have seaweed in them...they taste mainly like rice. You can find them in the whole foods aisle of the grocery store. They make a sea salt variety have to try them!
If you want to be very traditional, make a well in the hummus, pour in a little olive oil, and sprinkle with the paprika. Again, totally optional, but I did it so you could see the way is is usually served. The little blue ramekin would hold enough for 2 people, but I was so hungry by now, I ate it all myself. (Excuse me while I lick my fingers).

God Bless your table tonight!

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