A literal translation of the word ‘Hummus‘ means chickpeas, in Arabic. This is a dish that is central to the middle eastern cuisine and is enjoyed all over the world. The historical origins of hummus, remain a mystery, as what we call hummus today is actually referred to as ‘Hummus bi Tahini’ in Arabic. That in itself only requires two ingredients, hummus and tahini (sesame seed paste).
Recipe books from the 13th century, from Egypt refer to a recipe using vinegar in hummus instead of lemons and garlic and one from Syria uses lemons instead. The hummus we know today, uses chickpeas, garlic, tahini and lemon juice, before it is drenched in olive oil creaminess.
In my version here, I don’t use any oil whatsoever. I still get the same flavour and the desired texture, without the added calories. I can hear you saying that olive oil is good for me, and yes, I agree it is really healthy in moderate amounts, but I would like to eliminate it from some of the dishes I enjoy where it is unnecessarily adding calories I can do without. Besides, there are a lot of people who live on a tight budget and cannot necessarily afford good quality olive oil in their everyday meals. This hummus, really doesn’t need the oil, whether for budget reasons or calorific concerns drive you to trying out this recipe.
This version is high on garlic, so feel free to adjust to taste.
1 cup dried chickpeas
a pinch of soda bicarbonate
1 large juicy lemon, juice and zest
5-6 garlic cloves, minced (adjust to taste)
Salt and a little black pepper to taste
2 tsp cumin powder
3 tbsp tahini paste
1 tbsp hot chilli sauce (optional)
Sumac to sprinkle on top (optional)
Soak the chickpeas in cold water overnight, or a minimum of 8 hours. Drain the water, and add some water before boiling them with a pinch of soda bicarbonate. It helps them soften.
Drain the chickpeas, but reserve the water that they were boiled in, before placing them in a large bowl. I like to finely grate my garlic onto the chickpeas.
Why waste the flavour from the lemon peel? It is packed full of nutrients and flavour. But make sure you have the unwaxed ones before you grate the peel, and give them a quick rinse and pat them dry.
Since we love spicy food, I like to add a little hot sauce into my hummus. The sauce I am using is homemade. Add all the remaining ingredients.
I used a hand blender to blitz the whole thing. I like my hummus a little grainy, but if you would like yours smoother, just add the reserved water from the chick peas until you reach the required consistency you prefer and keep blending till it gets creamy and smooth. I sprinkled a little Sumac on top for garnishing and even a little extra lemon juice, as I love the extra lemon flavour.
This was thoroughly enjoyed with fresh homemade Pita bread.