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Hummus

Hummus

With the arrival of the holidays I got distracted from sharing my adventures on the Taste of Israel tour (see part 1: Kanafeh/K√ľnefe)! After an evening out on the town Tel Aviv there was an early morning tour of the old port in Yaffo, along with sampling some of Yaffo's tasty treats. One of the first things that we stopped for was hummus!

Now if you thought that hummus was just a dip that you bought at the grocery store or made at home with canned chickpeas every once in a while, it could not be further from the truth! In fact there is quite a large hummus 'culture' out there with secret recipes, shops dedicated to making hummus and only hummus, that have been been in business for generations, and even great debates on who makes the best hummus, over dinner, which is just hummus and pitas for dipping. Our first food stop was at Abu Hassan which is apparently one of the fore runners for making the best hummus in Israel. I have to admit that the hummus that I had at Abu Hassan's was the best hummus that I had ever had and that of course meant that I would have to work on my hummus recipe when I returned home!

Hummus
After talking to several people in Israel and doing some research online I found that even though the recipe for hummus is a simple mixture of chickpeas, tahini (sesame paste), garlic, lemon juice and salt, there are about a million different ways of making it! The first main difference that I came across was whether to use dried or canned chickpeas and since I had only ever used canned chickpeas I was eager to see what the difference was. As it turns out it's actually pretty easy to cook chickpeas, you just need to soak them in water overnight and then cook them for 2 hours on the stove or just throw them into a slow cooker for the day so as long as you remember to start the night before, it only take a few minutes of extra active time to use dried chickpeas. Just comparing dried chickpeas vs canned, the dried ones somehow taste lighter and cleaner than the canned ones so I was very interested to see the difference it would make in hummus.

The next main difference that I came across was whether to peel the chickpeas or not. Yes, you can peel chickpeas! They have a thin skin that can be removed and the idea is that the skin does not taste as good as the flesh within and it's removal allows for a smoother hummus. I had not realized that you could peel chickpeas so I had to try it and it is actually pretty easy, I was able to get through an entire can in less than 5 minutes and it's even faster once you get both hands going at it at the same time.

The first test that I set up was a rather large one with me making 4 batches of hummus comparing dried vs canned and peeled vs unpeeled. The results were that the cooked chickpea hummus was lighter, cleaner and creamier than the canned chickpea hummus which was coarser and required more liquid to puree. The differences between the peeled vs unpeeled were that the peeled was smoother with a lighter and brighter flavour and the unpeeled was coarser with a heavier, nuttier flavour. All in all I liked the cooked and peeled version the best and I will make that version when I can but the canned and unpeeled version was still very good and leagues better than any store bought, so called, hummus (more on that later).

The next test that I tried was with respect to oil. I found that a lot of 'western' recipes for hummus call for large amounts of oil whereas many Mediterranean recipes do not include any oil in the hummus but rather just serve the hummus topped with oil. In this test I made 3 batches of hummus, one with no oil, one with a small amount of oil and one with even more oil. I found that the recipe with a small amount of oil was slightly creamier that the one with no oil but adding more oil really did not have much affect. My conclusion to this test was that you could add 1 tablespoon of oil if you desired but it only makes a small difference from using no oil. (All tested were done with extra oil drizzled on top.)

Hummus
Wow, with all of that testing, I was eating hummus for months! Hummus actually does make for a really tasty, light, healthy and satisfying meal especially when served with whole wheat pitas along with a simple side salad of cucumbers and tomatoes.

Although I made 7+ batches of hummus over 2 months I have only just started to scratch the surface of all of the different ways to make the best hummus and so I will have to continue with more tests! I felt that my tests with hummus would not be 'complete' without one more test, store bought hummus... When I was in the grocery store one day a top brand named hummus was on sale for only $5 for about a half a pound (argh! That's like an 10X markup on homemade!) so I picked some up. I looked at the ingredients on the side and found all of the expected ingredients and one additional that I was not familiar with and cannot pronounce so I am going to assume that it is a preservative. In all honesty, I could not finish the thing, after just two tablespoons it tasted, well, just wrong, I could not quite place my finger on it and it left a bad aftertaste. I am not one to waste food but it was no accident that this tub of store bought hummus somehow got lost in the back of my fridge until one day I did find it and I had to throw it out without opening it for fear that what I could see growing in it might jump out and eat me. I will definitely be sticking with homemade hummus; it's so easy to make an so much cheaper!

Hummus definitely makes for a great snack for watching the game so if you are looking for a lighter, healthier and tasty snack for the football playoffs this weekend, some homemade hummus would be perfect!

Hummus
Top your hummus with something tasty, like sauteed mushrooms!

Hummus
Hummus

Hummus

Prep Time: 10 minutes Soak Time: 12 hours Cook Time: 2 hours Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes Servings: 8 (~4 cups)

A creamy chickpea dip or spread that is so easy to make and addictively good!



ingredients
  • 1 cup dried chickpeas, picked over
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (optional)
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (~1 lemon)
  • salt to taste
directions
  1. Cover the chickpeas in two inches of water, mix in the baking soda and let sit over night before rinsing well.
  2. Place the chickpeas in a pot, cover with 2 inches water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the chickpeas are tender enough that you can crush them between your fingers and that you can easily pinch of their skins, about 1 1/2 - 2 hours before draining, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Skim off any scum that may form on the surface of the water after bringing it to a boil.
  3. Puree everything in a food processor adding as much of the reserved cooking liquid as needed to get the hummus to the desired consistency.

Slow Cooker: Implement the recipe as written except in step 2 place the chickpeas in a slow cooker, covered with 2 inches of water, and cook on low for 6-10 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.

Option: Remove the skins from the chickpeas by pinching it off for a smoother hummus.
Option: Add 1 tablespoon olive oil off for a smoother hummus.
Option: Serve topped with chickpeas, olive oil, chopped parsley, paprika and cumin to taste.

Tip: Look for tahini with a lighter colour that has a sweet after taste as tahini darkens with age and becomes bitter and you don't want that in your hummus.
Tip: Try to get dried chickpeas that are not too old as old chickpeas may not ever soften just like other dried other beans.
Nutrition Facts: Calories 181, Fat 9g (Saturated 1g, Trans 0), Cholesterol 0, Sodium 101mg, Carbs 19g (Fiber 5g, Sugars 2g), Protein 7g
Nutrition by: Nutritional facts powered by Edamam

Quick and Easy Hummus

Quick and Easy Hummus

Prep Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 10 minutes Servings: 8 (~4 cups)

An addictively good homemade creamy chickpea dip or spread that is ready in less than 10 minutes!



ingredients
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans (~3 cups) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (~1 lemon)
  • salt to taste
directions
  1. Puree everything in a food processor adding as much water as needed to get the desired consistency.

Option: Remove the skins from the chickpeas by pinching it off for a smoother hummus.
Option: Add 1 tablespoon olive oil off for a smoother hummus.
Option: Serve topped with chickpeas, olive oil, chopped parsley, paprika and cumin to taste.
Nutrition Facts: Calories 182, Fat 10g (Saturated 1g, Trans 0), Cholesterol 0, Sodium 278mg, Carbs 27g (Fiber 1g, Sugars 0.3g), Protein 10g
Nutrition by: Nutritional facts powered by Edamam

Sauteed Musrooms

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes Servings: 4

Easy and irresistible sauteed mushrooms that are great with pretty much everything.



ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons butter or oil
  • 1 small onion, sliced or diced
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme, chopped (optional)
  • 1/4 cup white wine or broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped (optional)
directions
  1. Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat add the onions and mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms release their moisture, it evaporates and the mushrooms start to caramelize and turn golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
  3. Add the wine, deglaze the pan and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  4. Season with salt and pepper and enjoy!
Nutrition Facts: Calories 83, Fat 5g (Saturated 3g, Trans 0), Cholesterol 15mg, Sodium 5mg, Carbs 4g (Fiber 0.8g, Sugars 2g), Protein 2g
Nutrition by: Nutritional facts powered by Edamam

32 comments:

Jenny Flake said...

I could eat hummus every single day and be so happy :) Yours looks great!!!

Maria said...

Hummus is my favorite and yours looks perfect!

Marian (Sweetopia) said...

Thanks for all your experimentation! I can't wait to try your recipe!

Julie @ Table for Two said...

wow, what gorgeous hummus! i never thought i'd say something like that to describe hummus but man, it's really pretty! haha

Sommer @ASpicyPerspective said...

I love hummus! And the hummus is always fun to experiment with! Great recipe!

Michelle @ Esculent Dreams said...

I don't know if I'll ever get tired of hummus ;) thanks for working so hard to experiment! Sauteed mushrooms are genius.

Dixya said...

thanks for explaining and taking time to experiment. I read on some blog or website too that traditional hummus recipes does not call for oil..which is great. I hate peeling the skin - whats your secret on being so patient?

John said...

Serendipity: Going to your favorite food blog to see if there is a hummus recipe...hummus recipe on front page.

marla {Family Fresh Cooking} said...

LOVE hummus. Could eat it everyday!

bumble bee said...

Thanks for sharing. I can't wait to try your recipe :-)

Katie said...

I love making homemade hummus but have never made it from dried beans. Must try soon!

Gaby said...

That is a lot of hummus testing, but oh so tasty! One of my very favorite snacks for sure.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, first of all, for all the recipes of beautifully photographed and gourmet-like fare on your blog! On the hummus from dried beans, I have a question -- am uncertain about what the recipe means when, after the part about pinching the skins off the beans, it says "about 1 1/2 - 2 hours skimming any scum off before draining, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid." Could you say this another way? Do you mean it TAKES that long to skim the scum off the liquid...? I hope not, b/c that might just have me starting with the canned chickpeas!

Ally said...

Mr. Kevin! Thank you soooooo much for re-creating this and going through all the testings! I shall make, blog and sing YOUR praises!! Happy New Year my friend! xo ~~ally

Honey said...

OMG... Kevin I'm loving the look of that Sauteed Mushrooms Hummus... OMG WOW! Did you add onions to it? What else? I'm so making this. I've made hummus from a can, but yeah, gotta make it with real chickpeas. :-)

vanillasugarblog said...

I always forget to add in fresh herbs.
Always!
And they totally make the dish AND the photo.
Lucky you for getting a sweet trip!

oceo said...

Thanks Kevin. I'm going to try your dry chickpea recipe. Fifteen Spatulas has come up with what looks like a quicker way to peel the chickpeas. http://www.fifteenspatulas.com/the-secret-to-really-smooth-hummus/

Peggy Lynn said...

Kevin, don't laugh when I tell you this....by looking at your picture of the lemon, I've just learned what one of those wooden things are for! :-)

veredgy said...

I am an Israeli (and therefore a Hummus expert :-) ). There are another 2 criterions (at least) that are very important when making hummus. 1. the dried chickpeas must be as fresh as possible (there are people who prefer the Bulgarian chickpeas whish are smaller). 2. You must eat hummus while it's still a little warm, meaning fresh. Chilled hummus from the fridge won't do. Hummus in the Arabic tradition is a breakfast dish. Good hummus joints cook it and prepare it very early in the morning and by noon they close the shop. The best hummus in the world (for me) Is Ali Caravan (Abu Hassan) in Jaffa..

veredgy said...

Ali Caravan pours a mixture of olive oil, hot green chili, lemon salt and garlic over the hummus. Best to serve it separately.

Holly B said...

You can never have too many hummus recipes.

Joanne said...

I LOOOVEEE hummus as a meal! Especially when made from dried chickpeas. That's the best.

Mary in A2 said...

Chickpeas take about 35 minutes to cook in the pressure cooker, too. Also, we added the zest from the lemon to the hummus the last time we made it and it was so fragrant and tastey. Highly recommended.

Kevin Lynch said...

Mary in A2: Great to hear about the pressure cooker! I need to pick one up!

Kevin Lynch said...

Anonymous: Cooking will take up to 2 hours, if any scum forms when you bring it to a boil skim it off and if there is any before you drain it skim it off as well. You don't really need to check more often than those two times and it should only take a few seconds to remove it. It is actually really easy to make from dried! Enjoy!

Kevin Lynch said...

Honey: The sauteed mushrooms also have onion, a little garlic and thyme. I have added the recipe! Enjoy!

Kevin Lynch said...

oceo: Nice! I will have to try that method of peeling the chickpeas next time! Thanks for sharing!

The Little Ferraro Kitchen said...

This is wonderful and I LOVE your explanations and experiments! I just got back from Istanbul and their version of hummus is much different than ours. I have never peeled the skins, but I am intrigued to now!

Anonymous said...

Try roasting the garlic...it's more mild. Or a combination of roasted and fresh garlic.

Anonymous said...

I was going to mention pressure cookers too. If you love legumes it will change your life. No presoak impromptu hummus cravings satisfied in 30 minutes!

Momma moo said...

My daughter just got back from visiting Israel and Jordan . She finally tried hummus and loved it there. She loved all the food. Now I can make it for her when she comes to visit . I love all the different versions. Thank you Kevin!

Anonymous said...

I'm one who loves the effort that all of you put into presentation, of these recipes...the Israeli person is right, that being said...I lived in Lebanon, & yes they do serve hummus for breakfast with olive oil floating on top & white flat bread! I believe warm or cool, if your enjoying this lovely mid-eastern dish it's up to you how & when you eat it!
This is 2014...many of us are living in a reality that is about a HEALTHIER spin on classics, and with the addition of the web an international view of culinary mastery! Of course it's great to input the views of those of us who have lived there, now...I tweek that info. into my everyday life & use the goodies/spices/herbs/tools we have now. Would I use any oil to excess NO, will I rise hours before my family, go to the orchard, gather fresh chickpeas? Um, no I live in the desert & no one but me likes hummus...I buy organic whole wheat flat bread & whip up the healthiest hardiest meals I can for myself & my family...
I love this site & thanks for this...Andrea

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