Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hummus bi Tahini

Hummus is one of those grocery store items that is egregiously overpriced, enjoying a markup of 500 to 1000%. But it is ridiculously easy to make with a food processor or decent blender. And like many things, homemade always tastes better. It freezes well too, so even if this recipe makes too much for you (but really, who doesn’t want to eat three cups of hummus in one sitting?), it’s still worth making at home.

Serve hummus as a dip with pita bread (Arab style, not Greek), raw veg, or pretzels. Or use it as a spread in sandwiches and wraps.

1 can (540 mL/19 ounces) chickpeas*
4 tbsp tahini**
4 tbsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
2 to 4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 to 2 tbsp olive oil (do not use “light-tasting” olive oil)
couple pinches salt
pinch ground cayenne

Drain and reserve a bit of the liquid off the chickpeas, leaving enough to just cover the peas. Place the chickpeas, their liquid, and remaining ingredients in a food processor or blender. Process to a smooth purée.

Taste and adjust the salt. Adjust the consistency as necessary with the reserved chickpea liquid (note: the hummus will firm up a bit after chilling). If you want the hummus to have a light “whipped” consistency, omit the extra liquid and process for a couple extra minutes.

Chill hummus for at least an hour. To serve as a dip, spread in a shallow dish, drizzle with olive oil and top with finely chopped parsley, plus any of the following:

Sprinkling of ground paprika, cumin, or cayenne
A few whole chickpeas, reserved from the can
Oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, julienned
Artichoke hearts, julienned
Roasted red peppers, julienned
Black olives, sliced
Cucumber, diced
Green onions/scallions, sliced
Roasted garlic
Toasted pine nuts

*I swear by Unico chickpeas. So does everyone I know. The end.
**A description of tahini and where you can buy it can be found here.

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