Hummus is the ultimate Mediterranean dip.(Photo: 99541527@N03/flickr)

How to make hummus

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People love their hummus. And why not? The creamy purée, perfumed with garlic and lemon, satisfies hunger for something with a little heft, but which isn’t heavy. It’s packed with good-for-you protein and calcium, and it’s delicious. And inexpensive, to boot. When I’m shopping in the local open-air market, I like to drop into the hummus joint and order a dish of freshly made hummus topped with prepared tahini dip and a little mound of dark, floury fava beans. With a little chili dip on the side and a wedge of lemon to squeeze over the ensemble – and a warm pita – that’s lunch.

I’m offering you a convenient way to make it with canned chickpeas, but you might try making it with dried chickpeas, in which case you’ll need to soak 2/3 cup dried chickpeas in plenty of water, overnight, and proceed from the beginning of this recipe.

While hummus will keep 2-3 days in the fridge if tightly covered, it’s really best served the day it’s made. And think of this – your hummus will be seasoned to your personal preference and free of preservatives and commercial additives.

Hummus

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Prep10 mins
Cook Time30 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 15 oz can of chickpeas
  • ½ cup raw tahini paste (not ready-to-eat tahini)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 large garlic clove, mashed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼-½ water from chickpea can
  • Olive oil, paprika and ground cumin for garnish

Instructions

  • Drain the chickpeas, reserving 1/2 cup liquid from the can. Reserve 2 tablespoons of chickpeas for garnishing, too.
  • Blend the chickpeas in a food processor or blender until you have obtained a rough paste.
  • Add tahini, garlic, lemon juice and salt. Blend until you have a smooth purée. Add 1/4 cup reserved water, blending meanwhile. Stop the machine to check the purée for desired texture. Some like their hummus grainier, some like it very smooth and light. If you want a very light, creamy hummus, add reserved water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you're satisfied. Don't add a lot of water at once; that may result in something more watery than you really want.
  • Taste the hummus. Add more salt or lemon juice if desired – again, just a little at a time. Resist the temptation to add more garlic at this time, because the garlic flavor becomes stronger over time. Leave the hummus in its blender or food processor bowl; cover and let it mellow in the refrigerator for 1/2 hour. Taste again. I find that I don't need to add garlic, but if desired, add a small, mashed garlic clove and blend again, thoroughly. Serve in a medium bowl, or several smaller bowls placed around the table. Sprinkle each bowl with pinches of paprika and/or ground cumin. Draw a circle of olive oil around the surface of the hummus. Garnish with a few reserved chickpeas.
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