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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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

avesta March 24, 2009 at 10:16 am

mmmmmm….I love eating my hummus with meat! I used to do that at my restaurant all the time! your hummus looks great!


Sarah March 29, 2009 at 4:48 am



Sazji April 5, 2009 at 3:27 pm

Mmmmmmm too! Any chance of getting the recipe for the meat? (what spices?)


Sarah April 13, 2009 at 9:08 pm

sorry for the late reply,
I fry one onion until very golden, sometimes I add a clove or two of garlic and cook it for a few seconds. I add 500 grams of ground meat (I use beef because lamb is hard to come by) and fry it until it changes color. sometimes I add a tablespoon of tomato paste but not necessary. I spice with about 1 teaspoon of salt, pepper a bit of baharat (mixed spice with cinnamon and allspice and others). Browned pinenuts make a nice addition. Enjoy!


Sazji April 15, 2009 at 1:18 pm

Thanks! I’d never have guessed that lamb would be scarce there, why is that?


Sarah April 17, 2009 at 9:57 pm

Lamb is not abundant because of the dry,hot climate,the country is scorching hot for half the year and there are no rolling green meadows for them to graze. Second there isn’t much room, Israel is a densely populated country. There are two types of lambs here, the baladi (Bedouin) which has a strong taste and the lamb imported from NZ or Australia which is called Merino and now raised in the North.You need to order them especially from the butcher.


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