Hummus with a Gazan twist

A Fool Proof, Step-by-Step Guide to Making a Delicious Homemade Hummus

Hummus is a savoury dip originating from the Middle East that has evolved beyond its traditional roots and nowadays can be found in virtually every supermarket, and in many cafes and restaurants. Its popularity has skyrocketed due to its remarkable taste, versatility and health benefits. This delicious spread, made with chickpeas, tahini (a paste made from sesame seeds), olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and an assortment of aromatic herbs, is known for its silky, velvety texture. But no ready-made hummus can beat a home-made one. Whether you’re looking for a tasty snack, a delicious dip to share or a refined addition to your favourite dishes, hummus is a beloved delicacy that never fails to impress.

To pay tribute to Gaza, our recipe is infused with an authentic Gazan touch.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 20-40 minutes (or as must as needed to soften the chickpeas)

Ingredients (for one small bowl of hummus):

– 2 cups of cooked and drained chickpeas (from a 15-ounce can), or slightly less than ⅔cup of dried chickpeas (Note: when using dried chickpeas, you’ll also need ½ teaspoon of baking soda)

– ½ cup of tahini paste

– 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more to taste

– 2 small cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

– ¾ teaspoon of table salt, or more to taste

– Approximately 3/4 cup of water or the reserved cooking water from the chickpeas

– Olive oil, paprika powder, cumin, or sumac, and an abundance of khubuz (pita bread) for serving.

Traditionally, in Gaza, sumac, a dash of lemon juice and olive oil are used in the hummus. However, paprika and cumin can also be added as a topping.

Directions:

  1. Cook the chickpeas

When using dried chickpeas, you have different cooking methods at your disposal. Feel free to choose the method you prefer or follow this one: Start by placing the chickpeas in a large bowl and covering them with at least twice their volume of cold water. Let them soak overnight.

The next day, drain the chickpeas and sauté them in a medium saucepan along with the baking soda (which is said to help reduce the gas-inducing effects of fresh beans) for about three minutes. Add 3/4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Skim off any foam that forms on the surface. Depending on the freshness of the chickpeas, they will need to cook for about 20 to 40 minutes – at least until they are soft. To check: try to squeeze them between your thumb and index finger. The chickpeas are ready when they easily break them apart.

Tip: Another method is to cook the chickpeas in a slow cooker on high setting with baking soda for about three hours, which eliminates the need for constant monitoring. Then strain the chickpeas and reserve the remaining stock for soups or to thin the hummus if desired.

If you use canned chickpeas, boil them in plenty of water for 20 minutes to soften them even more.

  1. Peel the chickpeas

Let the chickpeas cool so you can easily remove their outer skins without burning your fingers. Whether you’re working with fresh or canned chickpeas, this step is essential for achieving a hummus with a soft and smooth texture. The easiest way to peel the chickpeas is to gently squeeze them between your thumb and the two adjacent fingers, ensuring that the pointy end faces towards your palm, and then effortlessly popping the pea from its skin. Discard the skins.

  1. Puree and season

Puree the chickpeas in a food processor until they form powdery clumps, which may take about a minute. Be sure to scrape the sides of the processor to process all ingredients evenly. Next, add the tahini, lemon juice, garlic and salt to the mixture and blend until well pureed. With the machine running, gradually add water or the reserved chickpea cooking water, adding one tablespoon at a time. Continue this process until you achieve a smooth, light and creamy consistency. The amount of water needed is typically about 4 tablespoons, although you may need a little more or less depending on your preference.

Taste the mixture and add more salt or lemon to taste. Note: at this point we recommend waiting before adding garlic. With experience, you’ll find that the garlicky flavour tends to intensify when the hummus sits in the refrigerator overnight – a phenomenon often called “blooming.

  1. The finishing touch

Place the hummus in a bowl and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes – or longer, if possible. When serving, drizzle a little olive oil on top and sprinkle with sumac for an extra Gazan flavour.

Variations

The beauty of hummus lies in its ability to be tailored to individual tastes. Some may prefer a stronger, garlicky kick, while others may opt for a milder, more balanced blend of flavours. Additionally, adventurous food lovers can experiment with alternative variations by adding ingredients such as roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes or fresh herbs such as parsley or cilantro, taking the hummus to new heights of culinary excellence.

Healthy choice

Health-conscious people especially appreciate hummus for its nutritional composition. Chickpeas, the main ingredient, are an excellent vegetable source of protein and fibre, which contribute to the feeling of satiety and aid digestion. Plus, the addition of tahini provides a significant dose of healthy fats, while the sesame seeds provide essential minerals like calcium and iron.

Source: gazancuisine.blogspot.com

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