Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Hummus, not seriously


I got addicted to hummus in Insead and a year after graduation it seems it is not going away that easily. My cravings finally made me learn to make it and, surprise, it turned out quite rewarding both in terms of the result and in terms of the process.


I haven't yet been to Middle East so my taste for the food including hummus formed exclusively in France, thanks to my Lebanese housemates. One of the first things we noticed in our Fontainebleau house when we moved in were ten or so cans of chickpeas. Soon we started cooking a lot at home, so the chickpeas went straight into the blender. Lemon juice, olive oil, salt et voila - I dipped my first piece of baguette into the bowl of hummus. Then the next one. And one more...

I don't really know how many times I need to have hummus to finally calm down about it. For now I still can never stop eating before the whole bowl of hummus is gone. It is one of those foods you don't feel while eating - you just have no idea how much you had already. As soon as you stop you realize you should have had way less. And the next time you have hummus around you exactly repeat the thing.


This time at home I made hummus from dry chickpeas. I have to say, I liked the result more than what we got from canned chickpeas in France and definitely more than any ready made hummus I tried so far. However hummus from canned chickpeas can be made in just 10 minutes and it is definitely tasty too. So I always keep it in mind as a quick option.

Making real hummus it is considered to be an art, but I just can't get myself serious about this it. As far as I understand it emerged as simple food of simple people. It's whole nature is about eating with not much manner or precision (dipping bread into an often shared bowl of hummus). Just try to keep a serious face while eating hummus - it doesn't work. I'll probably always make it to taste and dip in whatever I feel like right now. To me it is about enjoying.

Hummus (recipe adapted from the brilliant Hummus blog)

2 bowls

175 g dry chickpeas
1 table spoon + 1 tiny pinch of baking soda
70 g tahini (sesame paste)
juice of 1 lemon
1-2 garlic cloves (I prefer not to add it, but the classic way definitely calls for it)
½ tea spoon ground cumin
salt to taste
olive oil
fresh parsley (for serving)


Cook the chickpeas. Soak the dry chickpeas in room temperature water with 1 table spoon of baking soda for 12 hours (overnight). Drain, rinse, soak again in clean water for around 4 hours. Drain, rinse, add enough cold water to cover the chickpeas and add 2 cm on top. Add a tiny pinch of baking soda. Bring to the boil and cook for 1 – 1.5 hours till the chickpeas are tender and mash easily.

Drain the cooked chickpeas (keep the cooking water). Reserve a handful of whole chicpeas (for decoration) and mash the rest in a food processor. Add some cooking water if needed to help them transform into puree. Let cool for 15 – 20 minutes.


Add tahini, lemon juice, garlic (if using), ground cumin, salt and 1 tbs of olive oil and mix in a food processor again till it is smooth. Add the cooking water to loosen hummus to desired texture. It should be thick, so you can easily pick it up using a piece of bread, but silky and spreadable.

Serve at room temperature drizzled with olive oil, topped with some whole chickpeas and chopped fresh parsley. My favorite complements are tortilla chips and baguette. If you wish to be more authentic, use the pita bread or just experiment with other bread / chips of your choice.

Related: