Thursday, January 15, 2009


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I love Middle-Eastern foods and hummus is no exception. But I never managed to make some good hummus at home, and to be honest, even at restaurant sometimes hummus can be disappointing. A good hummus for me needs to be moist and smooth and not have a major ingredient flavour overpowering the others, like lemon, cummin or garlic. That is exactly how my past attempts were, dry and too garlicky, or too lemony... To try and moisten it up I often added more olive oil but still didn't get what I was looking for.
When I read Mercedes post and recipe about Hummus, I knew that my search for the perfect hummus was over. If you are interest in making  good, authentic hummus, I encourage you to read her post, it is super informative and she gives lots of variations to the Hummus bi Tahine, which is the one I made (and the most common one). It was a real surprise for me to find out that a hummus recipe doesn't use both tahini and olive oil. It is either one or the other. Most of the recipes I see call for both, and believe me, I looked (and tried) at a lot of hummus recipes.
I made half of the original recipe from Mercedes,  because I am the only hummus-eater here at home.The bowl you see in the picture is all of it, about 2 cups.
I love this hummus and I am very excited to be able to share this recipe with you.  Enjoy it!

Hummus bi Tahine
adapted from the blog Desert Candy

I used:
1 15 oz can of chickpeas
1 teaspoon of salt
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup of  tahini
1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice
olive oil and paprika for serving at the end

First prepare the chickpeas:
Rinse and drain the chickpeas and transfer to a pot. Cover it with water by one inch or so. Gently rub the chickpeas with your hands to loosen their skins and remove the ones that come off. Bring water to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes or until the chickpeas are very soft. Drain and reserve about 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Remove any other pieces of skins.

In the food processor, add the tahini, lemon juice, salt and garlic and process for a couple of seconds. Add the chickpeas and process until it's all incorporated. At this point the hummus is probably on the dry side. Add the cooking water, about a tablespoon at a time and pulse. Keep adding cooking water until it gets to the desired consistency.
Transfer to a bowl or serving platter, make an indentation and drizzle some olive oil. Sprinkle with paprika and voila!


kayce. said...

great pic! i found you via foodgawker and i am a major fan of hummus. :)) i like it both traditional as well as wacky, but agree w/ you that it is often a disappointment. i do have one tip to share, though, if you're interested... ;)

instead of cooking water, try adding ice... when i worked at the ritz, both my exec chef and my immediate garde manger chef had both worked many years in the middle east (dubai and qatar respectively) so you can imagine what dictators they could both be about their hummus and tabouleh, LOL. anyway, my exec chef insisted on ice, about a cup for a large batch (in your case, 1 or 2 cubes would do it).

from your post, i think this would rectify your problem w/ the average recipe b/c it really adds a lot of moisture and smoothness w/ out intensifying any one flavor. it's easy, too: after you have the hummus together, just add the ice w/ the food processor running on high.

Hayley said...

This hummus looks perfect! So smooth and creamy. I too LOVE hummus, but never have much success making it on my own. I'll have to give this recipe a try.

I'm having a round-up of lemon recipes from around the web, and I would love to include a link to this if you're interested. Let me know, Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I love hummus and I REALLY like this beautiful photo!

I live in Japan now and we can't really get good hummus here or the needed ingredients for it. I wish that we had an Emily's Lebanese Delicatessen here!

Thanks for inspiring me!


Anonymous said...

Looks great, but a 1/4 cup of Tahini can be very expensive!

I paid $10 for a jar, and in past recipes only used a few tablespoons (also used EVOO). Have not been happy with past attempts, so I think I will give yours a try

Rita said...

chef the city - thank you so much for the tip, I will try it next time I make hummus.

Hayley - thanks, and you are welcome to link back here for your round up.

Peko-P - I hope you get to make it soon! I would love to visit Japan someday...

Anonymous - I am not sure how much I payed for the tahini paste here in Seattle, my jar lasts a real long time though, I 've had mine in the fridge for at least 8 months now.

Anonymous said...

I've been making my own tahini for about 40 yrs now, got the recipt from a tiny Arab restaurant in downtown Brooklyn back then. it's very similar to yours but they first made taratoor using garlic, tahini, salt, water and lemon juice. They used dry chickpeas, soaked and cooked. Then they made the hummus, adding some of the taratoor to the chickpeas with more garlic, lemon and some of cooking water. I think they used the taratoor to make other dishes and over the years I've simplified the reicpe to just dump everything in the processor until it tastes right.
re: tahini
I get mine from the local health food store. I'm in the Hudson Valley though, so I have a choice of 3 stores in my area. They sell the tahini in bulk so you can buy as much as you want. It keeps for a good long time in the fridge. I also recently read something about using baking soda while cooking beans to make them soft. I have never used it but might try to see if it really makes a difference.

Miss Honey said...

Thanks so much for sharing. I've long had the same problem as you - very dry with the wrong balance of flavours. Will definitely be giving this one a try:D

Rita said...

Anonymous - this recipe can be made with dried chickpeas (soaked and cooked), it is probably better that way, I just had canned ones in my pantry. Never heard of the baking soda thing, I just try to use beans that are young.

Miss Honey - You're very welcome, I hope you like it!

Liz Larson said...

Looks like a great recipe. From my days living in a small Iowa town where tahini was quite difficult to come by, I substitute peanut butter + sesame oil when making hummus. It yields a very good flavor and texture, so I don't bother with tahini even when I can get it.

Rita said...

Liz Larson - never heard of that! Interesting, would have to give it a try...Necessity often brings creativity, no?

Margaret said...

I also use peanut butter in my hummus but the 'just peanuts' variety. It always turns out and it gives it a richer taste.

Rita said...

Margaret - I saw that on a cooking show, but never tried it at home. I'll try that next time i run out of tahini.

Leslie C Saber said...

Great photo Inice use of depth of field) and oh yeah, the hummus was delicious too! Looking forward to trying the recipe, especially with that tip about using ice! Thanks, Rita!

Anonymous said...


Is this recipe supposed to be served at room temp or directly from the fridge after overnight? How would you describe the texture. Firm toward the runny side??



Rita said...

@Tim:this hummus is softer (runnier) than the ones you buy packaged in the supermarkets, for example. It should not be firm at all. I like to serve it at room temperature, I think most foods don't taste so great straight out of the fridge.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing! I'm looking forward to making this. I have heard similar positive things about using ice cubes. Bon app├ętit!

Anonymous said...

I followed your recipe step by step and it turned out wonderful (I did use the ice cubes) I made your authentic hummus and some with sundried tomatoes and some with sriracha....I loved all of them....Thank You for sharing your recipe....

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