Hummus. A simple chickpea spread that anyone can make in seconds, lined up on supermarket shelves and appearing everywhere. How amazing that this simple Middle Eastern staple should become such an international superstar. No surprises really, it ticks all the boxes, as simple or complex as you want it to be, everyday comforting or maybe cleverly sophisticated, substantial but healthy. You can just pluck a jar off the supermarket shelf and many of these are of a very high quality, you can pick up a can of chickpeas and in seconds in a food processor or with even the cheapest stick blender have made your own (probably for not much more than a couple of dollars) or soak some chickpeas over night simmer them for an hour and go from there. Because I love the comfort of the kitchen and I love chickpeas I will always take the route of soaking and cooking my own chickpeas, that definitely doesn’t mean you have to.
My history owning Habebes Cafe, and a love of carbs like these, means I have cooked a LOT of chickpeas in my life. As versatile and useful as Hummus is so are chickpeas,
- Use them in a summer salad, with tomatoes, green beans, red onion, fresh herbs olive oil and lemon juice. Or tomatoes, cucumber peppers red onion and feta or black olives, olive oil and lemon juice or vinegar of choice.
- Mash or chop them a little and use them as you would couscous or grains such freekah or brown rice in a salad
- Make a winter salad, with roast pumpkin, red onion, chermoula dressing and feta or toasted almonds and greens such as rocket spinach or kale.
- Roast them with whatever spices or pastes goes with your mood or fridge staples, you could use some Thai paste, Harissa, curry powder or just salt pepper and olive oil. Eat as a snack, or like little croutons in a salad.
You are very welcome to make this hummus with a couple of cans of chickpeas and it is going to be good! But I think you should soak and cook a whole bag of chickpeas. Use half for this hummus and give the rest of them a place in the fridge for a couple of days. They will provide inspiration, and a spring board of ideas your next couple of meals.
A SIMPLE HUMMUS RECIPE
- 1/2 a 500gm bag of chick peas soaked overnight, rinsed well, and cooked for approximately one hour till tender. (see method below)
- Or, alternatively use two tins of chickpeas.
- 4 big goopy tablespoons of tahini (its difficult to get a precise tablespoon of tahini and I’m not going to tell you to try, it is delicious a little more is not going to hurt)
- Garlic 1,2,3 cloves, do use a little and if you love use a lot
- Salt to taste
- 2 or 3 lemons depending on how juicy they are, start with two and be prepared to add more to taste (If you are short on lemon juice you can sub in a little apple cider vinegar, but not all )
- optional extras – extra virgin olive oil, 1 tsp toasted cumin seeds, 1 tsp ground cumin and coriander, chilli flakes or fresh chilli, fresh herbs such as parsley or coriander. Place your list items here
To cook chickpeas. Rinse well and add to a pot and cover with enough cold water to cover by approximately two centimetres. Gently boil these for about one hour till tender. Tradition says you will toughen beans by adding salt to this water but I do not find this to be so, and I like to season the water with a little salt (1/2 tsp). I also season the water with a clove of garlic a sprig of rosemary and or a bay leaf and or sprig of thyme. Not necessary but nice. Some recipes call for baking powder to help tenderise chickpeas but I believe this may deplete there nutritional value. Once they are tender remove the seasonings and throw away, don’t worry about little floaty pieces of herbs though they will only add to the flavour.
Or use two tins of chickpeas.
In blender add your lemon juice, salt (approx 1/2 tsp), and garlic. Blend to combine
Using a cup add your chickpeas from the pot leaving most of the liquid. DON’T TIP THE LIQUID OUT!
If you tip the liquid out don’t panic just add water.
Add Tahini and turn on the blender. You want your hummus to be as smooth as possible so let it run for at least 30 seconds before stopping and checking for consistency.
At this point you will need to add more cooking liquid and or extra virgin olive oil to bring to a dipping consistency (the olive oil is definitely optional and is up your dietary preferences and can be just as affectively drizzled over when serving) , start with about 1/2 a cup of liquid blend for a minute and recheck. You can add any other seasonings you like now as well, or keep it simple and sprinkle them over when serving The hummus will thicken a little on resting so don’t panic if you think it is a little to thin.
Blend and check till you are happy with the taste and texture.
I had some fun and using my abundant cherry tomatoes and some char grilled vegetables and made this hummus antipasto platter for the starting point of a family dinner. It looked so pretty and was delicious as well. In a perfect world some toasted or charred pita breads would have made the perfect accompaniment but I used what I had and life was still good! Remember these are spring board ideas take them and make ithem your own, and please share any good ideas you have.
Enjoy your day!