Will The Real Ho’mous (Hummus) Please Stand Up

by Caterina Borg, Good Food Gourmet on April 11, 2015

 Will The Real Ho'mous (Hummus) Please Stand Up, www.goodfoodgourmet.comI just cringe when I see the word h-u-m-m-u-s…

You know — the Americanized spelling of that delicious spread made from garbanzo beans known in the Middle East as ho’mous (pronounced ho-mousse). I can just hear my dad’s voice insisting that I use the correct pronunciation – a respect for different cultures and their food that I learned from him. This delicious Middle Eastern dip became popular here in the USA in the early 90’s, but my family had been making it at home long before that.

My parents were born in Egypt and would tell me stories about their life growing up in the Middle East. Like many other poor countries, people in the Middle East rely heavily on the well rounded nourishment provided by beans, lentils and grains. You might say that most of the population does not really have the financial means to afford things like meat, chicken or fish. These items are so expensive and not within reach for most people. Grains and legumes are an easily stored, inexpensive food that can be embellished with other delicious vegetarian items to create delicious meals that has sustained an entire population. My parents would tell me that all of the bread they grew up eating was brown and made with whole wheat because white flour was also very expensive. They would laugh when sharing stories about their meals and realizing that they were eating healthy food all along and never even knew it!

This simple dip that is also used as a sandwich filling comes together quickly with only a few key ingredients.  The biggest decision you will have to make is whether you want to peel the garbanzo beans (for a smoother result) or simply leave them as is for a slightly coarser texture. Commercially speaking, most companies insist on selling a smoother product. I find that as long as the authentic flavor and consistency is correct, I’m not bothered by a slightly coarser texture.

There really is no need to buy this readymade, because it’s so very simple to make. Serve it with fresh pocket pita bread, pocket-less pita or simit rings. This, my friends, is the honest-to-goodness food of true champions.

Middle Eastern Ho’mous (Hummus)
1- 15 oz can of garbanzo beans (or boil your own, about 1 3/4 cups)
2 heaping tablespoons of tahini
½ cup fresh lemon juice ( about 2 large lemons)
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons salt (add more as necessary)
¼ teaspoon white pepper
**whey from chickpeas to thin out mixture or use a little water, but lemon juice should be enough

For garnish
2-3 Tablespoons of good olive oil
1 tablespoon of lemon zest
Reserve 2 tablespoons whole garbanzo beans for garnish before pureeing
1 teaspoon fresh parsley, finely diced
1 teaspoon of mild paprika

If you begin with dried garbanzo beans and plan to cook them yourself, make sure to soak them well for 1-2 days and frequently change the water. I have found the best luck in using a pressure cooker to cook the beans slowly and evenly. I usually cook 6-8 cups at a time, and this takes about 1 hr and 15 minutes or slightly longer. If you are using a can of precooked garbanzo beans, simply strain out the liquid, rinse them well and reserve 2 tablespoons of the whole beans (for garnish) and place the rest in your food processor.

Will The Real Ho'mous (Hummus) Please Stand Up, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Will The Real Ho'mous (Hummus) Please Stand Up, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Will The Real Ho'mous (Hummus) Please Stand Up, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Mix them until you have a thick paste. Add in the tahini, lemon juice, lemon zest, minced garlic, cumin, salt, white pepper and process this again until it is a finer consistency. The oil in the tahini will be enough to homogenize the mixture and make it into a nice smooth paste. If it is too thick, you can add some of the garbanzo whey (if you cooked them yourself) to thin it out, or even a little more lemon juice or water. I find that the quantity of lemon juice in the recipe is more than enough.

Will The Real Ho'mous (Hummus) Please Stand Up, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Taste for salt and pepper and when you finally have it to your liking, put a large mound in the center of your serving bowl and smooth out with a spoon, creating deep wells. This part is important because these deep wells will cradle the olive oil which enhances your eating experience as you dip in your fresh bread.

Will The Real Ho'mous (Hummus) Please Stand Up, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Will The Real Ho'mous (Hummus) Please Stand Up, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Add the paprika…..

Will The Real Ho'mous (Hummus) Please Stand Up, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Add the reserved whole garbanzo beans and the olive oil in the center…

Will The Real Ho'mous (Hummus) Please Stand Up, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Add the fresh parsley and the lemon zest…

Will The Real Ho'mous (Hummus) Please Stand Up, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Voila…

Will The Real Ho'mous (Hummus) Please Stand Up, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

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