Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hummus



I had a ½ pound of garbanzo beans soaking in my fridge leftover from when I made falafels and decided to use them for hummus.
 
Hummus is a Middle Eastern dip made from ground garbanzo beans, flavored with garlic, fresh lemon juice and tahini (ground sesame seed paste) which can be adjusted to your own personal taste when you make it at home.   Everyone makes it slightly different and it is readily available on your grocers shelf but why buy it when it’s so easy to make yourself.

The other wonderful thing about making it yourself is that you can fancy it up in so many different ways to make it your own by adding other beans (white or black) to the garbanzos to change the flavor just a bit or go for the kicked up version and roast an eggplant or red bell pepper and mix it into the hummus or drizzle the hummus with olive oil and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and dried herbs.  Kicked up hummus is a delicious alternative that will turn a simple hummus into a triumph.

If you are thinking that it seems like a long time to soak and cook the dried beans, it really isn’t.   It is more about thinking ahead.  The beans go in the water before bed or in my situation into the fridge for a few days, then into a pot to cook while you are doing something else for an hour and that’s it.  I was doing laundry and some of my other household chores and the hour was done in no time as well as a bunch of my chores. 

If you choose to use canned beans they also work perfectly. The ingredient proportions do slightly differ when using dried verses canned beans.  For dried, you will need more salt (2 tsp.) and more water to thin it out to your liking (up to 2 cups).  For the can beans you will need only half the amount of salt and water.

I used the water that I cooked the beans in but cold tap water will work fine also.

A blender will work in a pinch to make your hummus but will be a little trickier because as the beans thicken up your blender will have a hard time moving them around.  The trick to using a blender is to add the water to the bottom of the blender then add the beans so they will move and chop.  But if you have the luxury of a food processor, that would be the fastest and easiest way to make it.

HUMMUS
½         pound              dried garbanzo beans or 2-15oz. cans
3          cloves              garlic, minced
4-5       Tbsp.               tahini
1          large                lemon, juiced (about ¼ - 1/3 cup)
1/8       tsp.                  cayenne
1-2       tsp.                  kosher salt
¼         cup                  olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1-2       cups                water

Soak the garbanzo beans overnight.  Then place them in a pot with fresh tap water that covers them by at least 3 inches.  Bring to a boil and let simmer for an hour or until cooked and tender.  If you are using canned beans drain and rinse.

Place the garlic into the bowl of a food processor and mince.

Add the garbanzo beans, tahini, lemon juice, cayenne, olive oil and kosher salt.  Blend until you have a smooth paste.  If using dried cooked beans add 2 tsp. kosher salt.  For canned beans only use 1 tsp.

Add the olive oil and water.  You will need more water when using dried beans and less for can beans.  I used the cooking water but tap water would work also. Mix to blend.  Chill.  Serve with pita or vegetables.                          

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