In 1972, my younger brother came home to Denver after studying at Hebrew University and introduced our family to a delicious new dip. Back then, hummus wasn’t the ubiquitous, many-flavored item available at nearly every store where food is sold. In fact, we didn’t know of any store or restaurant in the entire state where you could get it, not even the Greek grocery where we regularly shopped. My family fell in love with hummus, made in our trusty blender or mashed by hand, and we started introducing it to friends at parties and potlucks. I even started making it in my dorm room when I returned to Boston University that fall! I like to think my family and I contributed to the spread of hummus across the geographic and cultural boundaries of North America! When I have time, I find it really satisfying to make it by hand, mashing the chickpeas to create a chunkier version. But I admit that most of the time I rely on my food processor to create creamy, tangy and healthy hummus in minutes. Either way, the homemade flavor takes me back to the first tastes brought from Israel so many years ago.
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas
- 1-2 small cloves garlic, chopped
- 2-3 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)
- Juice of at least ½ lemon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin or to taste
- Olive oil, paprika, sumac and/or coarsely chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
- Drain chickpeas in a strainer or colander and rinse well with cold water. Reserve a few whole garbanzos for garnish.
- By hand: Put the rest of the chickpeas and garlic on a flat plate and mash using a strong fork, or do in batches in a mortar and pestle. Add water gradually only as needed to just hold the mixture together. When the mixture is mashed to desired smoothness, transfer to a bowl and add the tahini, lemon juice, salt and cumin. Mix well, adding a little more water or lemon juice as needed for desired consistency. Adjust seasoning to taste.
- By machine: Put the drained chickpeas and garlic in the food processor and pulse a few times to coarsely grind. Scrape down the sides and add all the other ingredients. Process until you get to your desired consistency, adding a little water or more lemon juice as needed for desired consistency. Adjust seasonings to taste.
- Variations: Stir in a tablespoon or more of horseradish for a spicier hummus or change the taste and color by adding a few pieces of roasted red pepper to the blender.
- To serve: Spread the hummus in a wide, shallow bowl. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, a few sprinkles of paprika or sumac, chopped parsley and the reserved chickpeas. Serve with pita bread, homemade pita chips and cut up fresh vegetables. Also makes a great sandwich or wrap with thinly sliced cucumber, roasted red pepper, sprouts, cheese or anything else that you like to add.