“Hummus” comes from the Arabic word meaning “chickpeas”. The dish originated in ancient Egypt and was used as an appetizer and dip. From Cairo, it spread to several countries across the Middle East before showing up in the United States. During our travels to Egypt and Turkey, we ate a lot of hummus. The taste of hummus varied a bit between the two countries, but not by very much. However, the accompaniments certainly did vary. Hummus is scooped with flatbread, such as pita in some parts. In other regions, It is served as part of a meze (selection of small dishes served to accompany alcoholic drinks) or an accompaniment to falafel, meats and eggplant. Garnishes varied from chopped tomato, cucumber, coriander, parsley, caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, whole boiled chickpeas, olive oil, pieces of hard-boiled eggs, paprika, olives, and pine nuts. Outside the Middle East, especially in the US, I have seen it mostly served with tortilla chips or crackers.
As a side tidbit, hummus has not been without controversy (remember the controversy about Basmati rice?). In October 2008, a group of Lebanese industrialists petitioned to the Lebanese Ministry of Economy and Trade to request protected status from the European Commission for hummus as a uniquely Lebanese food, stating that “Israelis have usurped several Lebanese and oriental products”, and claiming that Lebanon exported the first hummus dish in 1959. They accused Israel of “stealing” their national dishes, like hummus, falafel, tabbouleh and baba ghanouj (a yummy dish made out of eggplant).
In 2012, Australian filmmaker Trevor Graham released a documentary, Make Hummus Not War, on the political and gastronomic aspects of hummus. More recently, another film by name Hummus! The Movie was released. An eclectic, touching film about Hummus, the delicious super food sweeping across America. Watch the trailer here.
I guess hummus has become so international like wine, that no one country or one region can lay claim upon it. Our worlds are blending into one another – a true melting pot of cuisines.
When we first decided to make our own hummus, I was honestly shocked at how easy and fast it is. With a few simple tricks, you can make creamy smooth hummus at home and yes, we really do think this is better than store-bought.
I prefer to soak and cook dried chickpeas to make my hummus because of BPA concerns, but if you are short on time or inclination, feel free to use BPA free cans of cooked chickpeas.
The recipe calls for tahini, a creamy paste made from sesame seeds. You can make your own, or several large grocery stores or specialty markets carry pre-made tahini. Just make sure the only ingredient used is sesame seeds. Please do note that the Nutritional Information does not include the crackers,
pita, or the veggies you may use for dipping.
Hummus’s ingredients, including chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic, load the thick paste with vitamins, antioxidants and minerals. The superfood is not only heart-healthy, it delivers a myriad of benefits for the mind, body, and soul. Chickpeas are an excellent source of fiber, which not only helps build a healthy digestive system, but also makes you feel full and satisfied. Pass the chickpeas!
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Make Your Own Creamy Smooth Hummus
- 3 Cups Chana (Chickpeas) Whole Garbanzoes, cooked or canned (1 can of 425 grams)
- 1/4 Cup Lemon Juice Fresh
- 1/4 Cup Tahini Well Stirred
- 1 Clove Garlic Minced
- 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1/2 Teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt Or To Taste
- 3/4 Teaspoon Cumin Powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon Paprika Or To Taste
- 3-4 Tablespoons Filtered water
- 2 Teaspoons Pine Nuts Toasted
- If you are using dried garbanzos, soak in water (make sure all the beans are immersed in water) for 8-10 hours. Pressure cook the garbanzos or cook over open flame (this will take lot longer) until the garbanzos are tender. If you are using canned chickpeas, drain the water and rinse the garbanzos under running water. Set aside.
- Add tahini and lemon juice to a high speed blender and process for 1 minute. Scrape the sides of the bowl and process again for 30 seconds. This makes the tahini very smooth and creamy. Add the minced garlic, olive oil, cumin powder and salt to the blender and process for 30-60 seconds, wiping down the sides a couple of times so everything nicely blends together.
- Add the chickpeas and process for 2-3 minutes, repeatedly scraping the sides until the consistency is smooth. If needed, add water to help grind down the chickpeas.
- Cut up some carrots, celery, bell peppers and dip in! Other options to add as toppings are chopped tomato, cucumber, coriander, parsley, caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, whole boiled chickpeas, pieces of hard-boiled eggs, and olives. Use your imagination, and let it go wild.
- Dribble some olive oil, sprinkle a dash of paprika for a bit of spiciness, some toasted pine nuts for crunchiness and enjoy!