Okay ... I can hear hundreds of hummus makers across the world wagging their fingers and asking what would a girl from NZ know about hummus.?
There are blog sites dedicated to this one thing and hummus bars whose entire menu orbit the chickpea!
On my last visit to Israel, everyone I asked pointed me to a different hummus bar - each time passionately extolling the virtues of their favourite place.
Universally consumed across the Arab world, from Syria, Israel and Lebanon to North Africa. the basic recipes are the same with minor variations, however all would contest their hummus to be the best.
I make hummus at least once a week - sometimes more. It's a great snack or carbohydrate replacement at dinner time, loaded with protein and essential vitamins and minerals.
The best versions of hummus call for soaking the chickpeas overnight and cooking them yourself. In theory, I do agree - the end result is a nuttier flavour. Right now all you hummus aficionados will be shaking your heads again, but I'm a girl on a mission and super busy - more often than not I reach for canned chickpeas which I can whip into shape in less than 10 minutes.
Once you get the basics right, you can change up the flavour with different spices, essential oils like garlic or lemon and even throw in a smoky roasted red capsicum.
Below is my go to recipe with some ideas for flavour changes and for good measure, I’ve added in the basic hummus recipe from one of my favourite cook books Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi.
1 400grm can organic chickpeas
1-2 cloves garlic
1 tsp good quality salt
1 large lemon juiced
1/4 cup hulled tahini paste
Approx 6 tablespoons iced water
Drain and rinse chickpeas
Pulse together, chickpeas, salt and garlic to a coarse paste
Add tahini and lemon juice and slowly blend in water.
Make your changes and additions here
Depending on how you like the consistency either stop blending when it's the coarseness you like or keep going and add more iced water to get a smoother, thinner consistency - more tahini here will also change the richness, smoothness and the taste.
Add 1 tablespoon of garlic or lemon infused olive oil
Add 1 chargrilled red capsicum and 1 tsp of mild paprika. I throw the capsicum on a gas ring and when its blackened rub off the skin with a paper towel)
Add 1 tablespoon cumin or other middle eastern spices like ras-el- hanout.
Save some of your chickpeas and roast them the oven with a splash of olive oil then add through the hummus at the last minute for texture or crumble and sprinkle over the top before serving
Before serving add a splash of olive oil and sprinkle with roasted pine nuts, chopped flat leaf parsley or spice like cumin or paprika.
Jerusalem Basic Hummus
1 1/4 cups dried chickpeas
1 tsp baking soda
6 1/2 cups water
1 cup light tahini paste
4 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 1/2 tbsp ice cold water
The night before, put the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover them with cold water at least twice their volume. Leave to soak overnight.
The next day, drain the chickpeas. Place a medium saucepan over high heat and add the drained chickpeas and baking soda. Cook on high for about 3 minutes stirring constantly. Add water and bring to boil. Cook, skimming off any foam and any skins that float to the surface. The chickpeas will need to cook between 20 and 40 minutes sometimes longer depending on freshness. They should be very tender, breaking up easily when pressed between your fingers, almost but not quite mushy.
Drain the chickpeas and place in a food processor and process u ntil you get a stiff paste. Then with the machine still running, add the tahini, lemon juice, garlic and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Finally, slowly drizzle in the iced water and allow it to mix for about 5 minutes until you get a very smooth and creamy paste. Refrigerate before serving.
Hummus lasts about 3-4 days in the fridge. - Experiement and enjoy! I'm off now to make one of my favourites - basic hummus with truffle infused olive oil
Note: Baking soda is used to soften the hard outer shells and allow cooking time to speed up.