It is unlikely that there are too many people who have not heard of Hummus. This creamy, high protein blend of chickpeas aka Kabuli channa, sesame aka til, garlic, lime etc, is a familiar dip used extensively in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. Said to have origins in the Middle East, this is now finger lickingly popular the world over.
Hummus is usually served drenched in olive oil and had as an accompaniment to breads like Pita but as I said, addicts (read yours truly) are happy just licking the plain stuff right off their fingers.
To suit personal tastes and to enhance the aesthetic appeal of this otherwise pale looking concoction, one can create variants based on the traditional recipe by tweaking the flavors, adding natural coloring and even shaking up the very foundation by completely substituting the base of chickpeas with ingredients that behave similarly creamy, like white peas, black eyed beans, lentils, edamame, pumpkin, corn and hold your breath … even jackfruit seeds.
Here I am presenting to you quite a traditional hummus and I have put together this recipe by going through several on the internet and mixing and matching and innovating what works best for me. I have also upped the visual appeal as you can see, to make the dip even more vibrant and exciting and you can let those wheels of imagination spin in any direction too and play with this highly forgiving and versatile recipe. So enjoy the process as you watch me go through it.
The basic recipe seems very simple and foolproof but I must tell you that the first time that I attempted it, I inexplicably managed to get it quite wrong 😀 Do not ask me how … maybe it was the overconfidence of being a seasoned cook but to this day I wonder if I am the only person in the world who has ever made hummus that tasted like chickpea toothpaste (if such thing exists), that bafflingly did not have that distinct flavor that it was supposed to have.
Well that incident and the look on my son’s face, actually made me hesitate to try it out again and we eventually resorted to buying tubs of hummus from the near by Arabic restaurant. This was sacrilege considering the price we were paying for that tiny portion but I was not inclined to attempt it once more. In any case, my son was staying in the hostel and whenever he visited home, I found it easier to quickly just pick up some of it for that weekend.
So what changed? The pandemic that changed nearly everything in this world, also got me back into the kitchen with renewed vigor and several new experiments began to be undertaken, which also included rectifying past failures 🙄
Of course the restaurants had closed too, so there was really no way to get our hummus fix other than make it at home. The son was also back from college and stuck at home like the rest of us, so this was a really good time to make use of my ‘guinea captives’ 😀
So the hunt began again for an optimal hummus recipe and if you cannot understand what the fuss is all about for such a simple recipe, believe me I could not understand it either 😀 But sometimes there is that flavor that you just do not know how to obtain and then one fine day it suddenly the puzzle suddenly clicks into place and then you wonder why you did not get it right in the first place.
There were many generic recipes that I browsed through and also obtained from friends but one particular recipe cum video from this blog called Inspiredtaste which I discovered while hunting, seemed the most appealing and easy to follow and that acted as a catalyst to get me my perfect hummus.
I have made a few changes and also added a few tips of my own to make it even more easy and I hope that you will like it enough to make this your Go To recipe for hummus.
Hummus Recipe –
Hummus is basically a blending of channa and an addition of Tahini which can be loosely defined as sesame (til) butter, which apart from lending added creaminess and flavor to hummus, is also used on its own as a dressing, sauce, dip or spread. One can make hummus by adding readymade or separately made tahini but I have chosen to make it as a part of the hummus itself, to avoid an extra step.
I also use a pinch of hing (asafoetida) while cooking the channa because hing aids in digestion and prevents gas, since channa does generate gas and at times causes a bloated sensation.
While serving hummus, one can poke craters in the surface and fill them with olive oil and/or sprinkle herbs and spices and/or add any toppings like olives etc. Basically you can knock yourself out having fun with whatever ingredients please you.
In my recipe I have mentioned the quantity of channa by weight. This is to make it easy for those who are cooking this gram from scratch and also for those who want to used canned channa.
Usually I also usually soak all the various kinds of gram that I buy and then store them in airtight boxes in the freezer. This is for the convenience of being able to use them instantly instead of waiting for an overnight rehydration. So I have also mentioned the soaked weight in case you want to make the hummus using the frozen gram.
Having said all this, please remember that these are merely guidelines for the weight and need not be adhered to strictly. I use these measures because after a lot of trials, this is what works as a foolproof recipe (even for the fool who got it wrong the first time :-D)
Chickpeas/Kabuli Channa (dry) – 100 gm
(the same channa after soaking weighs – approx 200 gm)
(weight of the same channa after cooking, which is also the same as using canned – approx 250 gm)
Water – 1/2 cup approx 100 gm
Hing (asafoetida) – a pinch
White sesame seeds/white Til – 25 gm
Garlic – 10 gm
Lime juice – 3 tablespoon/from 2 large limes OR to taste
Jeera powder (cumin) – 1/2 teaspoon
Olive oil – 1 tablespoon + 2 tablespoon (you can adjust as you wish)
Salt – 1/2 + 1/2 teaspoon (or to taste)
Ice cubes – 3 – 4
Soak the channa overnight or for at least 8 hours, in plenty of water, at least 3 – 4 times by volume.
Once the channa has rehydrated fully, drain out the water.
If you are using pre soaked channa that you have kept in the fridge or freezer, then you can obviously skip the above steps.
Add 100 gm drinking water and a pinch of asafoetida and pressure cook the channa. Cook by placing it in a vessel and placing the vessel inside the cooker OR cook by directly putting the channa and water in the cooker.
After the first whistle or sound, reduce the flame to the lowest and allow it to cook for 10 minutes. Let the pressure release on its own. Check the channa to see if it has turned soft. It should be easily mashable between your fingers. In case it is undercooked, please cook it further till the desired consistency is achieved.
If you are using canned channa, then you can skip all the above and proceed to the next step.
Drain the water and keep the channa aside. Do not discard the water.
At this point you can decide if you wish to deskin the channa or use it as it is. Deskinning gives you a far creamier end product and also puts less pressure on your mixie/blender but does involves a bit of labor. Depending on my mood, at times I remove the skins and at times I do not. The texture is definitely superior if you remove the skin.
A tip for easier skin removal is to submerge the channa in clean water and just press each one with thumb and forefinger. They slip off easily.
Also note that the skins have fibre and nutrients, hence do not discard them. I have made a nice soup with them (which I will post someday) and you can grind and use them practically in anything including your roti and bread dough.
Now we will go on to making our instant tahini. Dry roast the sesame till it gives out a nice toasty aroma. Do not burn it.
Once cooled, powder it in the mixie. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt (this is the basic tahini paste in case you want to store it or use it separately).
To this, now add the cumin powder, garlic and half of the channa. Grind till the channa breaks down a bit and then add the rest of it.
Now add the remaining 2 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 3 tablespoon lime juice and blend to desired consistency. You can add as much of the reserved water as you wish and even more plain water if need be. Sometimes I like my hummus a bit rough and at times I make it very smooth.
At the end, toss in 3 -4 cubes of ice and blend further. This aerates the paste and makes it lighter. This step is optional.
Finally taste for salt and lime and make adjustments if needed.
Store the hummus in an airtight glass or metal container. I personally do not prefer plastic. This stays good in the fridge for about 4 days. I have tried freezing it but I was not happy with the outcome.
Serve with olive oil poured into depressions made in the top. You can add herbs or any garnish of choice.
This recipe makes around 450 – 500 gm hummus, which we polish off in a couple of days 😎😋
In this batch, to some of the hummus, I added home made beet powder and to some I added some turmeric powder. I piped it onto home made sourdough wholegrain crackers and topped with some Zereshk berries for a nice sweet and sour tang. This is a great way to serve hummus. You can try your own ideas and come up with many appealing ways to serve.
I hope you will successfully try this recipe and I would really appreciate if you leave your feedback in the Blog comments.