Hummus Recipe Experiment with Middle-Eastern Cuisine

Hummus is a middle-eastern food that has gained popularity in the western world in recent decades. The standard hummus recipe consists of mashed or pureed chickpeas, tahini (a paste made from sesame seeds), olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt.

Hummus topped with paprika

Legumes such as chickpeas are an important component of a healthy vegetarian diet, making hummus a particularly popular food with the veggie crowd. Many vegetarian protein sources do not contain a full complement of essential amino acids, so combinations of two or more protein sources are used in order to get complete protein. Nutritionists recommend combining legumes with whole grains in order to obtain a good balance of amino acids, in combinations such as beans and brown rice, or hummus on whole grain bread. The chickpeas in the hummus recipe also contribute a decent amount of iron to the dish, which is another important consideration for vegetarians. While meat eaters generally do not need to worry about iron deficiency, vegetarians may need to watch their iron intake to avoid anaemia.

Due to its popularity, ready-made hummus can be bought in little plastic tubs at the supermarket, usually somewhere in the vicinity of the produce section. Several varieties may be available, such as hummus with extra garlic, chopped olives, or roasted peppers. My first taste of hummus came from one of these little supermarket tubs. It wasn’t bad. I ate it on and off for years.

The contents of those little plastic tubs, however, did nothing to prepare me for the treat that is freshly made hummus. (Well, relatively fresh, I assume.) Of all places, it was in a little cafe in a strip mall in Mobile, Alabama that I found out what good hummus tastes like. It came warm on a plate, with golden olive oil pooling on top of it, alongside tender slices of toasty warm pita bread that didn’t come from a supermarket package either. It was smoother than the supermarket stuff, and wholesome, like biting into a crisp stir fried vegetable after a lifetime of eating all your veggies out of cans. Alas, I didn’t get their hummus recipe, but delicious hummus recipes aren’t hard to come by, if you know where to look.

Many people have put their own spin on the classic hummus recipe by changing or adding ingredients. Switching out the chickpeas for other legumes is a popular sort of variation. There are recipes for lentil hummus, using red, green, yellow, or brown lentils in the place of chickpeas. Some humus recipes replace the chickpeas with black beans, too.

Traditional hummus recipes with tahini are relatively high in fat, so versions without tahini have been invented. Some people don’t mind the fat, but either dislike tahini, are allergic to sesame, or can’t find any tahini at the store and don’t have time to make it. Smooth peanut butter is controversial as a substitute for tahini; either you’ll hate it or you’ll love it. Some cooks also just use sesame oil in their hummus recipe instead of using tahini.

Those are the common substitutions. Now let’s talk about additions. Some people like to spice up their hummus with things such as cayenne pepper, cumin, and even jalapeno peppers. Olives, particularly large, sweet Kalamata olives, go well with hummus, either on the side, or chopped up and added to the hummus. Other black olives can work – even the generic canned ones intended for sprinkling on pizza -but green olives are inadvisable. Other popular things to add to hummus recipe include feta cheese, roasted red peppers, and sundried tomatoes.

Making good hummus takes practice, but it’s not hard to beat the stuff that comes in supermarket tubs. It’s important to remember that your selection of ingredients is at least as important as your hummus recipe. If you’re going to buy tahini, try to get some that was actually made in the Middle East. Freshly squeezed lemon juice is better than the stuff that comes in a little plastic lemon, and high quality extra-virgin olive oil should be used. Smaller chickpeas are better, and many hummus enthusiasts feel that a hummus recipe that starts with dried chickpeas, as opposed to canned ones, is the only way to go, although soaking and cooking them properly takes quite a bit of time, and some knowledge.

 

Easy to Make Hummus

A very simple Hummus recipe that you can make in about 15 minutes and without making a huge mess

Ingredients:

  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 (19 ounce) can garbanzo beans
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • black pepper or cumin to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

  1. Remove “some” of the liquid reserve from the can garbanzo beans, the more liquid you maintain the creamier the hummus(on first attempt remove half the liquid)
  2. Add the garlic to a blender and let it chop it up nicely. Pour garbanzo beans into the blender and hold back about a tablespoon for garnish. Place lemon juice, tahini, chopped garlic and salt in blender. Blend until creamy and well mixed.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a medium serving bowl. Sprinkle with cumin and pour olive oil over the top. Garnish with reserved garbanzo beans.