When I first started this blog, one of the first recipes I posted was hummus. The truth is at the time, my mom was in Lebanon and I was trying to wing it. I wrote down her recipe, but something got lost in translation and it didn’t equate to hers. While mine tasted great, the texture was off. I always said that I’ll revamp the recipe to the correct one eventually. Well, it’s time.
If you hate hummus, then I don’t understand you. If you haven’t tried it because you think you don’t like chickpeas or you don’t like “look” of it, then slap yourself in the face. You’re really missing out.
Hummus is great with meats, fries, pita and the list goes on. It’s very versatile as a side dish. If you’re not familiar with hummus, which let’s be honest, it’s super commercialized now so how can you not be, then allow me to tell you more. It’s a delicious Middle Eastern dip made from chickpeas and tahini. In fact, “hummus” literally means chickpeas. Being Lebanese, I grew up with it at dinner table, at barbecues and all big family events. I was blessed you could say. Hummus has really caught on recently in America. We’ve got million dollar corporations making their own versions of hummus. I’ve seen so many different varieties too. I’ve seen stuff like red pepper hummus, black bean hummus, so on and so on. To me, that stuff isn’t hummus. Yeah, I’m sure you can grind up everything along with chickpeas in the blender and call it hummus. But to me, there’s only one true hummus. It’s the one I grew up with and still eat till this day.
This recipe is super easy and so freaking delicious. I promise you, once you make your own hummus, you won’t go for the prepackaged stuff ever again.
So you can technically make this with the canned chickpeas, but it’s much better with the dried ones. Place about 1 lb of dried chickpeas in a large tub with cold water and the baking soda and let it sit overnight.
The next day, drain the water and wash the beans well. Then move the beans to a pressure cooker, which is ideal. Cover the beans with water about 3/4 of the way up the pot and cook until it steams or until the beans are tender, but not overdone. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, use a pot, cover the beans 3/4 of the way and cook for about 2-3 hours, covered, medium low heat until tender, but not overdone. Once they’re cooked, strain the water and move to a new bowl and leave it to cool for 10 minutes.
First, you want to make this in a blender, not a food processor. I don’t know if this is one of those Arab myths, but my mom swears that it’s creamier if you make this in a blender instead of a processor. First place whole garlic cloves into the blender, then place about 4 cups or 30-35 ounces of the cooked chickpeas in there. (You can make more batches with the rest of the chickpeas or you can do what my mom does. She freezes the cooked chickpeas, once they cool a little more, by placing them in storage bags. They last months in the freezer and you can pull them out and enjoy as you go.)
Place the lemon juice, salt, tahini and water in the blender and mix.
Stop mixing after a minute or two and scrape. Continue mixing for another couple of minutes and scrape again.
If you find the mixture is too thin, add more cooked chickpeas, a cup at a time. If you find it too thick, add some more lemon juice and water.
Either way, give a taste after the second mixing and decide if it’s fine or if it needs more lemon juice or salt.
It’s really as simple as that!
Pour the hummus into a storage container and let it cool for at least an hour before serving.
There are so many ways you can garnish this. You can use chickpeas, paprika, parsley, mint, radishes, etc.
One thing that is not optional, is you MUST serve this with olive oil on top. Lots of it. That’s the way it’s intended to be eaten. Sorry, not sorry Gordon Ramsay. We just didn’t put olive oil on top, because this hummus was meant for my brother’s party at school and we didn’t want to put it on too early. Anyways, enjoy!
See how my mom makes it:
- Night before you want to make, place 1 lb of dried chickpeas in a tub with cold water and a teaspoon of baking soda. Let it sit overnight.
- The next day, move the beans to a pressure cooker filled with cold water filled 3/4 way full. Cook until the steamer goes off or until tender, but not overcooked. If you don't have a pressure cooker, use a regular pot filled 3/4 full with cold water and cook for 2-3 hours until tender, but not overdone.
- Once cooked, strain the water and move the beans to a different bowl. Let it cool for about 10 minutes.
- 3-5 cloves (if cloves are smaller, add 4-5, if they're smaller, add 3-4.)
- 4 cups or 30-35 oz cooked chickpeas ( Set aside the rest. You may need it if you find the mixture too thin. Freeze the rest in storage bags.)
- 1/4 cup cold water (more if need)
- 1 teaspoon salt , add more if needed to taste
- 5 tablespoons lemon juice, add more if needed to taste
- 2 large regular kitchen tablespoons tahini
Combine the garlic cloves, chickpeas, water, salt, lemon juice and tahini in a blender and mix for a minute or two.
Stop the blender and scrape with a rubber spatula. Mix for another minute until thoroughly blended.
Stop the blender. Taste. If it needs more lemon juice, garlic or salt, now is the time to add it.
If you find the texture to be too thin, add a cup of cooked chickpeas that you have to the side. If you find the texture too thick, add more lemon juice and water.
Store covered in the fridge for about an hour before serving.
Garnish with anything from mint, chickpeas, parsley, radishes, paprika, etc. Serve with olive oil and pita!
Store in a container covered, refrigerated for about a week.
The key to good hummus is adjusting. Make sure you taste and add more garlic, lemon juice or salt if needed. Tahini is not needed for a flavor adjustment. Make sure you assess the texture. It should be nice and creamy. Not too thick, not too thin. Adjust if needed!
I’m not one to brag, but the Lebanese just know how to do it right when it comes to food. Fattoush, hummus, shish kabobs, stuffed grape leaves. I can go on and on. Well, one of the most delicious staple dishes that is a personal favorite is called kafta. The lucky ones out there already know what this is and have perhaps had it before. Those who haven’t been so fortunate are probably saying, “kafwhat?”
Kafta is a meat mixture composed of beef or lamb, parsley, white or red onion and some spices. If I’ve peaked your interest, let me keep on going. To simplify it to the average everyday American, kafta is akin to a meatball, but with less ingredients! There is an added advantage kafta brings to the table though. It’s unbelievably versatile.You can take the kafta base and make a dozen different dishes. You can skewer them and grill them. You can saute them in a little bit of olive oil and drizzle some lemon over top of them. You can add some tomatoes and potatoes and enjoy with some rice. There are just so many ways to utilize this mixture. The method I’m going to show you is by far the easiest and makes for a quick, delicious dinner in under half an hour.
We’re going to cook it in pita bread. Cooking the kafta in the bread gives you a crispy edge and a chewy, moist middle. You can dip the bread in some laban (Lebanese yogurt) and have at it. It is one of those dishes, I wouldn’t mind eating everyday.
You can use either ground beef or ground lamb to make kafta. It’s all about personal preference. We prefer beef because it’s less gamey. Add the meat to a bowl.
Chop the onions into a small dice. You can use a knife or food processor to do this. Also, you can use red or white onion. We switch it up every now and then. This time, we’re using red.
Chop the parsley until fine. Again, you can use a processor knife, whatever is easier for you.
You’ll also need some salt.
Some freshly ground black pepper. Makes a difference.
Some seven spice.
Some good pita bread will also be needed. Not the thick ones. Try to find the authentic thin ones.
Combine the onions and parsley with the meat. Add the salt, pepper and seven spice.
Mix until thoroughly combined.
Smear heaping tablespoons onto the inside of the pita and spread into a layer. Fold the other half over and place it on a baking sheet lined with greased aluminum. Continue to do this until you fill your baking sheet in a single layer.
Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F for 10-15 minutes or until the inside is no longer raw and the outside is golden brown. The moisture from the meat may make the bread wrinkly on some of them. No biggie.
Serve immediately with some laban and fries. Enjoy!
See how my mom does it:
- 3 lbs ground chuck or ground lamb
- 2 large white or red onions, chopped
- 3 bunches flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 1/4 teaspoon seven spice
- Good thin Pita bread
Chop the onions into a small dice and chop the parsley until fine. An easy method is to chop the onions and parsley in a food processor until desired size.
Add the parsley and onions mixture to a mixing bowl.
Add in the salt, black pepper and seven spice.
Mix it thoroughly and taste a small piece to adjust seasoning if necessary.
Open up your pita so it's open faced. Smear two heaping kitchen tablespoons of the meat mixture onto the pita.
Bake at 350°F on a baking sheet lined with greased aluminum for about 10-15 minutes or until the meat is cooked inside, but the outside is golden brown.
Enjoy immediately with some laban and fries!