keito potato

December 16, 2009, 11:04 am
Filed under: recipes, starters | Tags: , , , ,

Honey, are you still buying hummus from a plastic carton? Can I help you break that habit? Honestly, hummus is one of the easiest things to make from scratch, and is worlds away from that stuff in the refrigerator case. Most packaged/processed hummus cuts corners by omitting the tahini, the crucial ingredient that makes hummus what it is. Haram! Without tahini, those dreary tubs are merely bean dip. If you’re ready to try, I can hold your hand through the process.

You can experiment with different brands of tahini to find a rich, toasty, flavorful tahini that you like. You might decide to avoid some of the cheaper tahinis which are pale in color, and as bland as mortar. Arab groceries and health food stores tend to carry a good variety. Try to find something dark and rich, something tasty enough to spread on toast. You can always ask the clerks what their favorite brands are.

I’ve been making hummus from scratch for 10 years, but 2 years ago a Palestinian friend helped me refine my recipe. He told me the basic ratio is 1 can of chickpeas to 1 lemon. In the past, I had added the lemon juice a few tablespoons at a time, tasting as I went. Now I know to simply start with a whole lemon as a solid foundation. You can always add more to taste, but this takes alot of the guesswork out of it. Since then, I have also started adding lemon zest. The zest adds a deeper, more elemental freshness.

Some people keep 2 kinds of olive oil in the kitchen at all times: one of decent quality for a saute, and another darker, fruitier olive oil for raw things like salads. If you have a fruitier olive oil on hand, you’ll want to use that here.

I’m lucky enough to have a big food processor in the kitchen, which whips this up in a snap with its big blades and massive motor. If you’re working with a blender or “stick” immersion blender, it will take just a bit longer because the blades are small. With a blender, you’ll need to pause from time to time to scrape down the sides and make sure everything is incorporated. You might also want to mince your garlic clove ahead of time, in case it gets ignored by the tiny blender blades. I suppose it’s easier than making it the traditional way with a mortar and pestle.


14-oz can of chickpeas
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
3-4 TBS tahini
1 garlic clove
1/4 tsp ground cumin
generous pinch of salt
generous stream of olive oil
1/4 cup water


Wash and rinse the canned chickpeas thoroughly in a colander over the sink to wash away all of the canning slime. Throw the chickpeas in a food processor with the rest of the ingredients. Blend until very smooth. Taste for adjustments. If you think a particular batch needs more flavor (depending on the size of the lemon or the brand of the tahini) you can add more lemon juice or tahini.

Serve at room temperature in a wide, flat bowl. Make a wide, shallow well in the center of the hummus with the back of a spoon. Drizzle olive oil in the well. Sometimes I sprinkle sumac or zaatar over the top for a pretty presentation. I also had a great version in Lebanon topped with warm, toasted pine nuts. If you’re setting up a mezza spread, muhammara is a natural complement.

2 Comments so far
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How many cups of cooked chickpeas equals one can?

Comment by kathy Thiessen

Since the can is 14-oz, it’s just under 2 cups.

Comment by Kate Wentland

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