Hummus, chickpea spread

by Sarah on March 24, 2009

My son, Alon has healthy eating day at school and volunteered to bring (Mom! Can you make hummus for tomorrow?) homemade hummus which I am preparing for tomorrow. He is always enthusiastically volunteering for me to make one thing or another but he knows never to ask me to bake cake because baking is not my passion and it shows in lumpy over/under cooked cakes. I am always cutting corners and trying to get the recipe as stream lined as possible: separate eggs- not necessary, shift flour-you must be kidding?, melt chocolate over a bain-marie- zap it in the microwave, temper eggs?-well, perhaps as my last cake came out like a quiche. My oldest said that his favorite part of my cakes are the chocolate coated lumps of flour he finds hidden within it. Ah, what a gourmet!
So today I am cooking in my comfort zone but in fact it was awhile before I knew how to make hummus properly. How difficult can it be? My major problem when cooking chickpeas or any other large bean, and something I didn’t realize for years, is the exceptionally hard tap water in the area. After doing some research I read that Calcium ions, Ca2+, found in hard water, can form cross links between pectin molecules making them less soluble and keeping the beans tough. The baking soda binds the Calcium molecules allowing the beans to soften. Too much baking soda leaves a soapy after taste and also degrades some of the B vitamins. My husband’s grandmother always used baking soda and I always dismissed this as an old wives tale but she was right all along.
One of my favorite hummus sites is
My recipe is very simple, I don’t like extra spices in it just lemon juice, tehina, a clove or two of garlic and salt. I also don’t always peel the chickpeas because that is such a tedious job but many do this extra step to produce a smoother product.
Two cups of dried chickpeas
¼ -1/2cup tehina
Juice of about one lemon, or ¼ cup
2 teaspoons salt.
1-2 cloves garlic

Soak the beans overnight with abundant purified water, if in doubt us a pinch of baking powder. Boil the beans in purified water and then reduce heat to a simmer. Once the beans are soft but still hold their shape, drain them and the cooking water. Put aside about ¾ cups of cooked chickpeas. Put the remainder of the chickpeas in a food processor until a paste is formed. The paste should hold together and not be liquid but the consistency of creamy peanut butter. Add tehina, garlic lemon juice and salt.
To prepare a plate of hummus, take a few tablespoons of hummus and spread it on a plate using the back of the spoon, creating a valley in the middle to put a handful of whole chickpeas, garnish with generous amounts of olive oil. Chopped parsley, paprika oil and pine nuts make attractive garnishes. The hummus above is topped with spiced ground meat and pinenuts.

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