After a few weeks without much blogging I'm trying to get back to my regularly scheduled program.
Right now I'm in the middle of some CRAZY spring cleaning. I'm talking the hard-core, all-day event cleaning the entire apartment, along with things I haven't touched in the 4+ years that I've lived here. Yea, I'm crazy like that sometimes. A switch goes off in my head and if my place isn't spotless I'm a wreck. (Unfortunately that switch does not go off more often...) I'm going on hour 7 now (with some breaks, but quite minor ones) and decided to give myself a longer break by catching up on the blog.
Today I bring to you a Middle Easterner's favorite party food: hummos (or hummus, hummous, however you wanna spell it).
Now I love myself some Trader Joes hummos (the Mediterranean kind is ridiculously amazing and home-made tasting) but sometimes I want the simple flavors that remind me of every single family gathering I had as a kid. Why every single gathering? Well, you can't have a bunch of Assyrians together in a room without someone bringing the hummos! It's like Americans and their chips/dip.
Chickpeas, olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, garlic and salt. That's it for the recipe, but you can't just slap hummos on a plate and call it a day. Ohhhh no. Hummos needs to be dressed up. Lightly dusted with paprika and decorated with tomatoes, cucumbers, kalamata olives and a healthy drizzle of olive oil. That's the way my mom prepared it, and after all these years it's still my favorite way.
My single serving of hummos, sans the olive. To this day I have a hard time eating hummos if it isn't pretty. My mom ruined me in that way.
Random sidenote: I have a theory. People who are of a certain ethnic group have difficult times messing around with their classic dishes, whereas people outside of that race have no problems playing around with flavors. For example: I've never seen a Middle Eastern person use sun dried tomatoes, or jalapenos, or basil, or any other random ingredient in their hummos. Don't get me wrong, I love all the different varieties that pop up in my local grocery store, but it's almost sacrilege to mess with a classic in that way. The biggest "risk" I've seen a Middle Easterner take with their hummos was to use lemon pepper in it. Seriously.
Now when I originally made this I actually wrote down the proportions of ingredients I used. But that scrap paper is long gone now. Which means there's no actual recipe for you. But I'm going to tell you what my mom told me (which I hated oh-so-much): eyeball it.
But for hummos the amounts of what you use really comes down to personal preference. Don't worry, I'll guide you through the process...
First you'll need some chickpeas. I'm lazy and use the canned kind. Feel free to prepare them yourself in a pot or slow cooker if you'd like.
If you use the canned kind DO NOT throw away the liquid. I like to use it in my hummos. So drain the chick peas, making sure to reserve the liquid.
Now you can simply throw these in the food processor. BUT- if you want the silkiest, smoothest hummos (and you have ~10-15 minutes of your life you don't mind wasted with a tedious, mindless task), use your fingers to pop the chickpeas out of their little casings.
I won't lie, it's kinda annoying. And about halfway through the can you're ready to give up. But seriously try it, if only once. It leads to pretty amazing hummos!
OK, so I have no photos of the next steps, but this is what you do:
1. Put chickpeas in food processor.
2. Blend until they're as smooth as they can be.
3. Add tahini and lemon juice to the desired flavor level. I'd say at least 2-3 TBSP tahini (depending on how strong it is) and a few TBSPs of lemon juice. (When I made it I think I used ~5+ TBSP lemon juice. I like it lemon-y!)
4. Add 1 small clove of mashed garlic and salt to taste. (The garlic flavor will become more pronounced in the dish as it sits, especially overnight. It's raw, so be careful in not using too much!!)
5. At this point the hummos is still probably too thick, especially if you didn't use a lot of lemon juice. Now you can make the hummos smoother using the reserved chickpea liquid, water and/or olive oil. I like to have the machine running while slowly adding the liquid.
To be honest, I like a touch of oil in my hummos, but not so much. I think it can quickly overpower the dish. So I prefer to use my oil drizzled on top vs. added in large quantities to the hummos. And I prefer the reserved chickpea liquid vs. water because I feel it doesn't "dilute" the flavor as much.
Feel free to add some lemon pepper, pepper, or anything else your non-Middle Eastern heart desires.
May I suggest making your hummos look pretty as well?
Hummos is just so blah looking without a punch of color.
To eat: rip off a piece of pita bread, fold with your fingers to turn it into a scooper, grab a hunk of hummos...
...and stuff your face silly.
It's OK- it's healthy and good for you!
1 can chickpeas (15 oz), liquid reserved
tahini ( I used ~4 TBSP, but my tahini was quite mild)
lemon juice (I used ~5 TBSP, quite tart!)
1 small clove garlic, crushed
pepper (or lemon pepper)
Blend chickpeas in food processor. Add tahini and lemon juice to taste. Add garlic, salt and pepper. Hummos will still be quite thick at this point. To thin it out more, add small amounts of the reserved liquid from the can, olive oil or water until desired consistency is reached.
To serve, spread out on a large platter. Top with light dusting of paprika and veggies arranged in an attractive manner. (Tomatoes, cucumber, green/yellow/red peppers, parsley, olives, etc work well.) Drizzle with olive oil and serve with pita bread or lavash.