Meze or mezze means appetizer in Iran, Turkey, Greece and other Persian countries. It is a part of the world I have always wanted to explore, beyond the food we can get here in Canada. I want to land my feet on the mysterious Persian Empire, touch the silky Persian carpet and of course stomach down some (or a lot of) Turkish falafel hummus flatbread wrap. For now though, hummus will have to do!
A classic hummus is made with simple ingredients: cooked chickpeas, tahini, lemon and garlic. That’s it! However, I’m told that hummus is a dangerous subject because people in Persian areas are very passionate and fixated on their hummus. More tahini, less tahini … Not to mention the topic of where hummus originated (that’s a declaration of war!).
Thanks to commercialization, hummus is a North American grocery store staple. Hence the thought of making a post for hummus has never occurred to me because hummus is such a simple, not fancy-enough-dish to blog about…until now, since someone made a specific request!
For the record, I am not a hummus expert. I have never been to Persia, nor have any Persian roots. However, I have been regularly making my own hummus for years and I believe in using the best ingredients possible. Especially not canned chickpeas!
Making hummus is like courtship: it requires lots of attention, time and love. Soaking the chickpeas overnight, slowly simmering until tender and then processing it with a zealous amount of energy. In return, hummus is never boring since you can have it plain, or flavor the hummus with roasted red pepper, or use sundried tomato, or add a kick with smoked paprika.
We find that this basic hummus recipe has the PERFECT tahini to chickpea ratio for OUR taste. We hope you agree!
Prep time: overnight soaking + 40 minutes simmering + 10 minutes processing
Makes 3 cups
- 1 cup dried chickpeas
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup tahini
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice (juice of 1 lemon)
- Salt to taste
- Soak the dried chickpeas in a large pot overnight with at least 2 inches of cold water above the chickpeas.
- Drain and change the water, leave at least 2-3 inches of water above. Add baking soda and bring the pot to boil over high heat. Skim all the floating foam and turn the heat down to medium-low. Let the chickpeas actively simmer for about 40 minutes or until tender.
- Set the chickpeas aside to room temperature before processing.
- Preserve one cup of cooking liquid, then drain the chickpeas well to reach that nice thick consistency.
- Place the chickpeas and garlic in a food processor and process until smooth.
- Juice one lemon (~ 3 tablespoons), add into food processor with tahini, cumin and salt. Process until desired smoothness.
- If the mixture is too thick to process, SLOWLY drizzle in the cooking liquid to smoothen it. Depends on how well I drain my chickpeas, I sometimes use none to ½ cup of cooking liquid.
- Plate the hummus on a shallow dish and swirl with the back of a spoon to create a well in the middle. Garnish with more cooked chickpeas and your choice of seasonings (sumac, paprika, za’tar, roasted sesame… )
- Serve with warm pita or crudités, or both!
- Bon appétit!