Hummus Bi Tahina, or simply Hummus, is one of the most known Middle Eastern dips throughout the world. It is largely made with chickpeas, olive oil, sesame seed paste and lemon juice. It has a lovely smooth texture and a tangy-zesty flavour.
Since no one knows the true origin of this delectable dip (but, according to historical information, hummus most likely originated in ancient Egypt) some countries, such as Israel, Greece, Turkey, Lebanon and others in the Middle East and Mediterranean have been claiming to be the home of its origin. I have even heard about scuffles breaking out in Jerusalem over who makes the best hummus! Apparently, it has been a very hot topic for debates among the local men there for a long time. I decided to undertake my own little research regarding the subject and have a good read about this centuries old hummus. I went as far as reading comments from the men on the internet-sphere, to find out what country in fact is responsible for making the best hummus. So far I have found no clear answer to that, but few of the comments gave me a good chuckle!
Another interesting fact about hummus is that the main ingredient in it, the chickpea, acts as an aphrodisiac.
I can see it becoming a real game changer for the newly coupled – asking someone over for a cup of coffee will become a thing of the past, and youngsters, (or the slightly older ) will be inviting each other over for a dip, ahem, the sexy hummus!
Words from Angela on the health benefits of the ingredients –
“Besides being an aphrodisiac hummus is very nutritious and nourishing too. The different ingredients all provide their own unique health benefits.
Chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) are dense with vitamins and minerals, such as iron, magnesium, zinc, calcium, manganese and are rich in protein and fibre. Oils in the tahini and olive oil provide us with good quality fats which are highly nourishing for cardiovascular, skin and hormonal health. Lignans from sesame seeds (tahini) also help to lower cholesterol and have anti-cancer properties. Garlic has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and the spices, seeds and dry herbs often added in or sprinkled on top carry health boosting effects too.”
Recipes for hummus slightly vary from country to country, but the main ingredients – chickpeas, tahini paste and olive oil remain the same. Chilli, roasted peppers and yoghurt are often added to hummus.
The recipe I’m sharing here has been inspired by the Hummus Bi Tahina I had in Dubai many years back. It was the best hummus I have ever tried; silky and incredibly smooth with delicious zesty flavour.
I have been making my version of this hummus for few years and have been asked for the recipe numerous times.
I avoid adding water to my hummus at all costs, in fact, I think adding water is a crime!
Good quality extra virgin olive oil, organic hulled tahini paste and a lot of lemon juice are the key ingredients in this hummus.
For the best result, I suggest adding ingredients, such as garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and tahini gradually. Start with the full amount of the chickpeas, add half the amount of the rest of the ingredients and continue adding them in gradually until your hummus tastes to your liking.
There are a few ways to serving hummus – it can be served as a dip or as a spread. It goes well with any grilled meat and I love it served with middle eastern pulled lamb, tabbouleh salad and labneh all wrapped in a flatbread.
1 1/2 cup home cooked or 1 canned chickpeas ( see note at the end )
4 tbsp tahini ( sesame seed paste )
1/4 tsp lemon zest ( optional )
1 1/2 large lemon juice
3-5 tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
1 small garlic clove, peeled and sliced
1/2-1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp sea salt or to taste
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
Dukkah ( optional )
- Drain the chickpeas and rinse well under running hot water.
- Place the chickpeas, half of the tahini paste, half of sliced garlic, 3 tbsp olive oil, 1-2 tbsp lemon juice and a pinch of salt and cumin into a food processor.
- Processes until smooth, taste, keep adding tahini paste, lemon juice and olive until reaches desired taste.
- Move hummus into a shallow rimmed wide bowl.
- Make a swirl with the back of a tablespoon, drizzle with plenty of extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with dukkah.
Serve with vegetable sticks or flatbread of your choice.
Prior to cooking chickpeas, pick over your peas to remove any discoloured ones out. Rince and soak in water for 6-8 hours or overnight. Drain and place in fresh water. Add 1 tsp of sea salt. Bring to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until tender.
For the smoother hummus, it is recommended to shell the chickpeas once they are cooked and cooled. I think the shelling of the peas is for the adventurous foodie folk and those with extra minutes on their hand.
If hummus appears to be too thick add extra olive oil and lemon juice.