Just like last week’s Baba Ganoush, Hummus is a Lavantine dish that is well known throughout the Middle East. Channa/garbanzo/chickpeas are pureed with tahini, lemon juice, salt, garlic and olive oil to make a creamy concoction that can be used as a spread or a dip.
There are regional variations of the dish with regards to ingredients included in the puree and what tops it. For example, in Egypt, Hummus is flavoured with jeera (cumin) and other spices. I always put freshly ground jeera in my hummus, that smoky, aromatic flavour makes it really inviting.
It’s just like how a Guyanese-style boil ‘n fry channa would not be the same without jeera. In terms of toppings, chopped fresh coriander/cilantro, tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, whole chickpeas, olive oil, paprika, sumac, cured olives, pickles and pine nuts can all be used. Chopped roasted and marinated peppers make for a meaty addition. I also like to top hummus with chutneys and pastes such as pesto and tomato chutney.
The best tasting hummus, in my opinion, is made with chickpeas that have been rehydrated instead of canned chickpeas. They are creamier and do not have the briny tang that canned chickpeas do. I want to control and add my own acidity in the form of fresh lime-lemon juice. There is much debate about whether hummus should be made with the skins of the chickpeas removed or not. It is a matter of personal taste.
The hummus is creamier and a little lighter with the skins removed but honestly, the difference is marginal for the couple of hours one would have to spend removing the skin off of each chickpea.
Serve the hummus as a dip with flat bread – I make a thin, soft version of Sada roti to go with it; include it on your platter of crudités. Or, you can use it as a spread on sandwiches and wraps, or as an accompaniment to grilled foods.
- 2 cups dried chickpeas, rehydrated overnight, cooked in lightly salted water
- 1/3 cup tahini
- Fresh lime/lemon juice to taste
- 1 heaped teaspoon freshly ground cumin or to taste
- Salt to taste
- ½ – ¾ cup cooking liquid (from chickpeas)
- Olive oil, paprika and chopped parley to garnish
- Drain the cooked chickpeas well, reserving the amount of cooking liquid indicted in the list above.
- Tip the peas in the bowl of a food processor along with the tahini, lime/lemon juice and salt to taste. Puree until smooth.
- Adding ½ cup to ¾ cup water to the mixture to loosen the mixture making it easy to spread/dip. Taste for salt and acidity and adjust to suit your taste. Pulse a few ti
mes to mix well.
- Transfer mixture to a bowl or deep serving dish; using the back of a tablespoon, swirl the top to make an indentation. Drizzle with top quality olive oil, dust with paprika and sprinkle or dot with parsley.
- If not serving immediately, cover with plastic wrap placing the wrap directly on top of the hummus; garnish just before serving.
- 1 cup dried peas/beans rehydrated, yields 2 cups.
- The hummus can be made a day or two ahead of serving – store in the refrigerator in an airtight container. First cover with plastic wrap directly touching the hummus to prevent it drying out and forming a skin. When you are ready to serve, remove the container from the fridge and let it come up to room temperature or warmer before removing it from its storage container and transferring it to a serving bowl/dish. Garnish and serve.