Sunday, November 23, 2008

Hummus

What is hummus?
Hummus
(Arabic: حمّص‎; also spelled hamos, houmous, hommos, hommus, hummos, hummous or humus) is a Levantine Arab dip or spread made from cooked, mashed chickpeas, blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic. It is a popular food in various local forms throughout the Middle Eastern world.

Because both chickpeas and tahini (sesame seeds paste) are wonderfully healthful, hummus is a nutritionist's delight. Chickpeas are a good source of protein, potassium and fiber. Sesame seeds are also a source of protein, along with vitamin E and a powerful antioxidant. So when you blend them together into hummus, you're really cooking!

You can buy hummus in the deli section of the grocery store, but it's so easy to make yourself and you can adjust the flavors just like you want it. You may have to buy the tahini paste from a middle-eastern grocery store or online. If you are feeling adventurous, you can even make your own tahini from sesame seeds and vegetable oil.

To make hummus, no cooking is required, just a food processor. Drain a can or two of chickpeas. In this instance, the canned variety is preferred over cooking your own from dried garbanzos. They mash up better than their more freshly prepared equivalents. Dump the chickpeas in your food processor and puree them.

Tahini should be about a fifth to a quarter of the total, so if you have two cups of pureed chickpeas, add about a half cup of tahini paste. Throw in a few peeled cloves of garlic. Don't hesitate to taste as you go, and add ingredients incrementally -- that way if you get too little garlic in, you can add more, but it's hard to take out the garlic that's already there. Add some lemon juice for zing -- a quarter cup or more. If the paste is too stiff, adding a little bit of water or olive oil to the processor will soften it right up.

Now that you have your hummus, toast some flatbread or heat some tortillas in a warm oven and dig in. You can use hummus as a sandwich spread, as a veggie dip or on crackers. Fun stir-ins to hummus can include olives, green and black; pine nuts; diced crispy vegetables such as cucumbers or celery... the list is only limited by your imagination and tastes. Now enjoy your hummus and know you are getting valuable protein, fiber and antioxidants at the same time.

History of hummus
Many cuisine-related sources carry forward a folklore which describes hummus as one of the oldest known prepared foods with a long history in the Middle East which stretches back to antiquity, but its historical origins are unknown. The historical enigma is such that the origins of hummus-bi-tahini could be much more recent than is widely believed. One of the earliest verifiable descriptions of hummus comes from 18th-century Damascus and the same source claims it was unknown elsewhere.

Meanwhile some cookbooks repeat the legend that hummus was first prepared in the 12th century CE by Saladin. Sources such as Cooking in Ancient Civilizations by Cathy K. Kaufman carry speculative recipes for an ancient Egyptian hummus, substituting vinegar for lemon juice, but acknowledge we do not know how the Egyptians ate their chick-peas. Similarly, no recipe for hummus has been identified among the many books on cooking surviving from ancient Rome.

Nutrition Information about Hummus
Hummus is high in iron and vitamin C, and also has significant amounts of folate and vitamin B6. The chickpeas make it a good source of protein and dietary fiber. Depending on the recipe hummus carries varying amounts of monounsaturated fat. Hummus is useful in vegetarian and vegan diets and like other combinations of grains and pulses, when eaten with bread it provides essential amino acids.

Hummus Recipe

1. Lebanese style hummus recipe

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups of cooked chick peas or (1 can (450g))
  • 1/4 cup liquid in which peas were canned
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup of tahena
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Preparation:
  • Puree all the ingredients in a blender (Reserving a few whole peas for the garnish)
  • Add additional tahena and /or lemon juice until you have achieved a flavor and consistency that suits your taste.
  • Spread in an oval serving platter, drizzle lightly with olive oil and garnish lavishly.
  • Serve at room temperature with pieces of Arabic bread for dipping.
2. Greek style hummus recipe

Ingredients
:
  • 1 19 oz Can chickpeas (drained, reserve liquid)
  • 1/4 Cup reserved chickpea liquid (or more depending on consistency desired)
  • 4 Tbsp Lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp Tahini (sesame paste)
  • 2 - 4 Cloves crushed garlic (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 Tsp salt
  • 1/8 Tsp Paprika
  • Sprinkle of cumin (or to taste)
  • 3 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
Preparation:
  • In food processor add chickpeas, reserved liquid from chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, salt, paprika, and cumin if desired.
  • Process until all combined and well blended.
  • Continue processing and add Extra virgin olive oil slowly.
  • Continue blending until desired consistency. Add additional liquid if a runnier consistency is desire.
  • Shorter time for coarse texture and longer for smoother texture.
  • Make ahead and let flavours meld together for several hours prior to serving.
  • Garnish with a sprig of fresh parsley and a sprinkle of paprika on top.
  • Can be stored in refrigerator for up to 3 days.
See more hummus recipes...

Hummus with tahini
Hummus without tahini

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