Sometimes the simple things in life are the trickiest ones to nail down.
Not to discourage you, but you might think that by taking a no-cooking recipe with a few basic ingredients, whizzing them all together in a food processor, then voila, you’ll have hummus? Eh, no. It doesn’t quite work that way.
Life’s simplest pleasures are at times elusive, mysterious, and beyond reach. Way beyond taking one earthy ingredient, another spicy, the third playful, the other sharp, creamy, savory, and sour, and marrying them all together into one happy dip. You might think that all you need is The Formula for how to put them all together to create the one magical ultimate mixture. But no. It’s not that easy.
I used to buy store-bought pre-made hummus. Then I decided to go all the way and make my own from scratch, including cooking the dried garbanzo/chickpeas. But I gave it all up and now I settled for buying organic canned beans and continuing from there. So, it’s sort of a compromise and finding my place somewhere in the middle of the completely pre-made to the completely cooked from scratch continuum. And why did this happen in the first place?
I have tried for years to perfect this paste and I have never expected to be faced with so many complaints and… criticism. Sniffle. Ahem ahem. Yes. My dear husband ( Hi honey!) used to complain/whine/nag that my hummus was one or more of the following:
bla bla bla…
He thought it was THAT easy.
Until he tried to make it himself.
Well, those attempts ended pretty fast.
Indeed, the simplest things sure can be the most complicated.
You know, countries are fighting over this beige food! You got to read this NY Times article! + you’ll find a few other hummus recipes and variations over there. Next, go and read this article and you’ll see, people do go nuts when it comes to Hummus.
So don’t take it lightly!
And for sanity’s sake, let’s just agree that people of the Eastern Mediterranean (Lebanon, Israel, Palestinians, Syria, Jordan) seem to like it a lot and are very attached to it.
Now, back to us.
Where was I?
My conclusion: follow your own lead, be your own person, forget about other people, leave aside world conflicts, listen to your inner voice! What does it tell you?
So what if I like my hummus with a small puddle of fruity extra virgin olive oil that adds creaminess, some chopped parsley for color and zest, a few toasted pine nuts, and sometimes a little sprinkle of paprika (but not today).You… you have the freedom to choose and do whatever you want! Exercise it!
Just make this and taste as you go, but before it becomes too smooth… That is, if you like it chunky…
I found that using organic canned chickpeas has a similar taste to home-cooked dried beans. It’s a great shortcut and in any case, it’ll taste so much better then buying a completely pre-made one.
Oh, one more thing, tahini*! Very important. There are a few brands out there. Try a few different ones and choose the one that tastes best to you. (I like Joyva. It’s an orange and brown colored can and I’ve seen it in a few grocery stores so maybe your store carries it too, or try a local Middle-eastern store.)
I believe you got my point, hummus is a very individualized food. Use more/less of any ingredient. Make it the way you like it.
Makes 2 cups
1-2 garlic cloves
1 can (14-16 oz.) organic garbanzo beans, drained
1/3 cup tahini
6 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1-2 lemons)
1/4 teaspoon cumin
6-8 splashes of fruity extra virgin olive oil
ground black pepper
for serving: drizzle olive oil, toasted pine nuts, paprika, chopped parsley, and warm pita
Place the garlic in a bowl of a food processor and pulse until it is minced. Add all the other ingredients and pulse until the hummus is coarsely pureed. Taste and adjust the flavors. Add some water or olive oil if it’s too thick and pulse a few times more to the desired consistency.
* tahini is a creamy puree of sesame seeds.
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