Hummus, the Middle Eastern dip made of mashed chickpeas and seasonings, is has become so popular in recent years that it is a virtual staple in many household kitchens. But with its now-widespread availability and reasonably low price, it’s been easy to fall back on the store-bought stuff — even though hummus is very easy to make at home.
It takes only a few minutes to throw together the handful of ingredients you need to make a good basic hummus. The following is an adaption of an unfussy recipe from the About.com Middle Eastern Food site, which is pretty standard.
* One can of cooked garbanzo beans, as chick peas also are known (you can cook the dried beans from scratch if you want to be all purist about it, but we’re talking easy here, and the canned beans work just fine).
* 1/4 cup of the beans’ cooking liquid, which in a 15 oz. can is almost all of the liquid if you don’t want to bother measuring.
* Two cloves of fresh garlic, crushed (just peel and smash the cloves with the palm of your hand or carefully with a knife blade).
* Juice of one medium to large lemon (if you don’t have a citrus juice reamer, get one, because they’re cheap and you extract virtually all of the juice).
* 1-1/2 tablespoons of tahini, a sesame seed paste that you can find near the peanut butter or in the international food section, depending on your market. I cheated a bit on this, using a tahini sauce from Trader Joe’s that added a little extra punch.
* 1/2 teaspoon of salt (I use kosher salt)
* 2 tablespoons of olive oil
Now I get to introduce one of my favorite all-time cooking tools: the stick, or immersion, blender. For pureeing (including hot soups, which you can do right in the pot) and simple blending chores like hummus or smoothies, there is nothing that simplifies your life better.
Here’s how easy it is. Dump all of the ingredients into a container, adding the cooking liquid last. Mix them together with the stick blender, which takes seconds. Literally. Just blend until it’s the right consistently for you. If it’s too thick for you, add a bit more cooking liquid or olive oil.
The beauty of this stuff is that you can get as creative as you wanna be by adding to or adapting the basic recipes. You can add different veggies, such as roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes or kalamata olives, to the mix. You can sub in different kinds of beans, including black beans, white beans or edamame, for the chick peas. Want spicier? Add a bit of paprika, cayenne, hot sauce, cumin or even a Cajun spice blend. Cooked ground meat, including lamb, is a good addition if you’re not a vegetarian. And a lot of people like to serve it with a little pool of olive oil in the center.
Have at it. And if you have your own hummus recipes you’d like to share, please do and I’ll post them as yours.