Dish of the Week: Scratch-Made Hummus

From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and desserts, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week. Find other dishes of the week here.

This week, we're taking a look into hummus.

The Arabic word for "chickpeas," hummus is a spread or dip made of cooked chickpeas mashed and blended with tahini (sesame seed paste), olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic/spices. Traditionally served on a large plate and drizzled with olive oil and herbs, the spread is popular in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine, where chickpeas were known to be cultivated since ancient times.

Though chickpeas were one of the first crops of Mesopotamia and eaten in both ancient Rome and Palestine, the origin of the chickpea dip is unclear. According to the Encyclopedia of Jewish Food, a cookbook published in Cairo in the 13th century brought the earliest known recipe for hummus bi tahina (what we know as hummus).

Today, the dip is made all over the world. And because of that, several variations exist -- Greek yogurt, red peppers, cumin, paprika, and herbs are often incorporated. In parts of Palestine, Jordan, and Turkey, hummus is often made using butter instead of olive oil.

While you can find hummus everywhere these days, it's super simple to make yourself. This recipe, from Julia Moskin, is the perfect starter for a basic garlic and lemon-scented, from-scratch hummus. Feel free to add in any herbs, spices, and flavors you desire.


Ingredients 1 1/4 cup dried chickpeas (which you'll soak overnight) 1 tsp baking soda 1 cup + 2 tbsp light tahini paste 4 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice 4 cloves garlic, crushed Salt 6 1/2 tablespoons ice-cold water Optional: Drizzle of olive oil and paprika for garnish


Put chickpeas in a large bowl and cover with cold water at least twice their volume. Leave to soak overnight.

The next day, drain chickpeas. In a medium saucepan, combine drained chickpeas and baking soda over high heat. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add 6 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil. Cook at a simmer, skimming off any foam and any skins that float to the surface, from 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the type and freshness. Once done, they should be very tender, breaking easily when pressed between your thumb and finger, and should be almost but not quite mushy.

Drain chickpeas. You should have roughly 3 cups now. Place chickpeas in a food processor and process until you get a stiff paste. Then, with the machine still running, add tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Slowly drizzle in ice water and allow it to mix for about 5 minutes, until you get a very smooth and creamy paste.

Transfer hummus to a bowl, cover surface with plastic wrap, and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. If not using immediately, refrigerate until needed, up to two days. Remove from fridge at least 30 minutes before serving.

Serve drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with paprika if desired.

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Brooke Viggiano is a contributing writer who is always looking to share Houston's coolest and tastiest happenings with the Houston Press readers.
Contact: Brooke Viggiano