Nearly everybody loves great hummus. If you want to make fresh, super-healthy hummus, this snippet is for you. Read on for fool-proof tips
and my secret ingredient.
Israel’s unofficial national dish is the humble plate of fresh hummus (although some might argue that falafel should take first place). As we all know, the national pastime in Israel is arguing, and Israelis love to argue about which Hummusia (hummus shack) is the best in the country.
Chickpeas are one of the oldest cultivated legumes on the planet, with domesticated chickpeas dating from the Neolithic period discovered near Jericho. Did you know that archaeologists found that just over 2000 years ago, Herod the Great was consuming chickpeas on Masada? Although we can’t be sure that anyone transformed those chickpeas into a plate of hummus, I have a feeling that it would have been a damn good hummus.
My well-meaning Canadian immigrant parents used to send me off to school with peanut butter and jam sandwiches, while the rest of the kids had hummus in pitta bread. As a kid, I didn’t particularly like hummus. Then came the day when I was at the beach with my dad, and he used the ultimate weapon to elevate the appeal of hummus. He softly mentioned to me, his eager motivated teenager, that all the soldiers in the IDF eat a lot of hummus. From that moment I was hooked. Over the years I developed a real love of hummus and considerably more judgement on quality. One of the things I enjoy is looking for unfamiliar hummus shacks in Israel, Palestine and Jordan.
Is hummus good for you? Chickpeas are a nutrient-dense food, high in protein, minerals and dietary fiber; while tahini is a great source of calcium and protein.
So let’s get to the point – what is the easiest way to make tasty, fresh hummus at home? Follow these instructions and let me know how your hummus turned out.
1 kg dry chickpeas
Soak overnight in at least double the quantity of water.
In the morning, drain and add fresh water for a few more hours. Drain.
½ teaspoon baking soda
Cover the chickpeas with more than double the quantity of fresh water
and add the baking soda. Cook on a medium heat for 2.5 hours.
Drain the chickpeas, reserve approximately 2 cups of the cooking liquid.
The cooked chickpeas will make about 4 containers of 2 cups each.
Keep one container out and put the others in the freezer for future use.
½ cup tahini
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 pinches salt
2 pinches white sugar
Add the above to the puree and blend for a further 1-2 minutes,
(preferably in a Magimix blender).
1 teaspoon natural peanut butter
Blend in my ‘secret ingredient’.
While blending the ingredients, slowly add the reserved cooking liquid until the hummus reaches the desired consistency. I recommend a creamy but firm texture.
Olive oil, Cumin, Hot sauce, parsley
Spread the hummus in a thick circular shape on a large place, indent the center to form a wide shallow crater. Decorate the crater with olive oil, cumin, hot sauce and parsley.
Optional: Stir-fried minced beef and pine nuts
This is an optional topping. I like to believe that this is how King Herod
ate his hummus on top of Masada.
Pitta bread or Challah
Serve your hummus with fresh & slightly toasted bread.
Don’t forget my secret ingredient. A small amount of peanut butter elevates your hummus to haute cuisine!
Tahini plays an important role in the flavor of your hummus. I strongly recommend that you buy good quality tahini from the Middle East or Ethiopia.
My personal favorite is Har-Bracha tahini, available through Amazon.
When you use one of your containers of frozen chickpeas for a new batch of homemade hummus, throw the frozen chickpeas into a pot with a little extra water and heat till it reaches boiling point. Cool slightly and you have warm chickpeas plus some warm liquid ready for blending.