Make your own hummus!

Contrary to the image portrayed in Don't Mess with the Zohan, Israelis do not brush their teeth or style their hair with hummus (chick pea spread, pronounced CHOO-moos). However, we do just about everything else with it. Eating a hot dog? Stick it in a pita with hummus. Eating bread? Dip it in hummus. Preparing chicken breast? Season it, sautee it, and serve it over hummus. In fact, just about the only thing that Israelis don't seem to do with hummus all that often is exactly what Americans do with hummus most often: use it as a dip for vegetables. (Am I wrong?)

Despite the fact that we can get about 100 different varieties of hummus in the grocery store, most Israelis know how to make their own. I find that homemade hummus is tastier and healthier (no preservatives) than anything in the grocery store, plus (if you use dry chick peas) much cheaper. It took me a while to post this recipe because I had to actually figure out measurements, but the hummus I made last night turned out really well-- AND I remembered to measure all the ingredients. My husband will vouch for this hummus!

My Humus

1 cup dry chick peas (garbanzo beans)
1 tsp salt
4 Tbs tahini (I use tahini made from the whole sesame seed-- it looks brown so I assume it's healthier :)
Juice from one lemon (about 2 Tbs)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp cumin (optional)

Optional toppings:
Olive oil
Zatar (a middle-Eastern spice blend)
Whole cooked chick peas


1. Soak the chick peas in plenty of cold water for a few hours or overnight. (The chick peas will just about cover the bottom of a medium saucepan. Fill water about half way up the saucepan.)

2. Generously salt the water (I take a few large pinches of kosher salt-- be generous because this is what will salt the hummus itself) and simmer the chick peas for a few hours, until soft. While the chick peas are still warm, spoon them into a food processor along with the rest of the ingredients. Using the food processor blade, blend to a smooth paste, adding enough of the liquid from the chick peas to make a smooth paste. (One of the great things about using warm, freshly-cooked chick peas is that the paste will get a bit more solid as it cools. So add plenty of water so that you get an easily-blended paste, about the consistency of mashed potatoes.)

3. Transfer the hummus to a serving or storage container. Add topings if you wish. The easiest topping is a bit of drizzled olive oil and a sprinkling of paprika. You could also drizzle olive oil and sprinkle a different spice or herb, such as cumin or zatar. Or, you could chop up some parsley and whole chick peas, set on top, and drizzle with olive oil. Chopped olives would be good too. Use your creativity! This recipe makes about a pint of hummus.

In my experience, hummus lasts over a week in a sealed tupperware in the fridge. In fact, er, we've probably eaten it when it's at least two weeks old. I've never tried to freeze it-- does that work?

A note about my recipe: I don't include as much tahini or lemon juice as some do, because I don't like a bitter flavor. I do like a LOT of garlic... so adjust according to your taste. :) I don't always add in cumin, and I sometimes add just a pinch-- I don't like a strong cumin taste. If you want to make reddish hummus, add some spicy paprika to the paste itself! Also, sometimes my chick peas never seem to get totally soft when I cook them, but if I blend them up when they're warm the hummus still turns out smooth and delicious.

And, er, if you want to make the presentation a bit nicer, pick a nicer container and wipe its sides after you put in the hummus. Sorry that the picture above is mildly disgusting.

Enjoy! How would you modify my hummus recipe?


  1. I've frozen homemade hummus many times, and works just fine :-). Hmmm, I think I'll make some hummus very soon myself once again-- you've inspired me, Maya!

    Love from your American Ima

  2. It's a lot of work - but removing the skins from the chickpeas before mashing/crushing them makes a world of difference. Also, I think rinsing 2-3 times at that stage is important, too.


  3. hmm... I've never tried removing the skins! I figure that grinding up the chick peas an extra long time in the food processor does the trick. :) Maybe I'll try that some time I'm feeling patient, though!

  4. Just FYI,
    The sesame seed is one of the rare food that's actually more healthy peeled then whole. (You're welcome to look it up.) At any rate, the Hummus is quite good.

  5. So here is why I came here. Was just eating hummus and was looking for israeli hotdog + hummus recipe and found this.

    i will try and let you know if its a success. I just went to our local Israeli restaraunt here in Minneapolis yesterday. My first time eating that food here as the population is very sparce.

    I did not try the hummus because it is always inferior to Israeli hummus (like @ pinati). however, this Sabra brand is ok. I want to find the secret! maybe you have it here.

  6. If not have tahini, I use p'nut butter, it works. Add more garlic, it covers taste. I am up in the lower Sierra's and do mail-order. Can get za'tar from penzeys.com (spice stores) and they usually throw in a sample with your order. Plus have good recipes in their paper catalogue and on-line.

  7. I think you should not put salt in while you boil the hummus. Salt in general makes dried beans less tender and so it is a waste of time and energy to salt the beans while they are boiling as then you have to boil them longer. You can easily salt them to taste as you are grinding them (when you add the cumin). I make my own hummus and soak the beans first and in one hour of simmering they are completely cooked and ready for hummus.

  8. Add a little baking soda when you cook the chick peas, it helps them soften.

  9. looks good! I'll have to try making it (:
    but isn't hummus an arabian dish?

  10. I should try your recipe next time as well as some of these great ideas in the comments. I linked to you in my hummus post http://nonrecipe.blogspot.com/2010/10/hummus.html

    I found what I think are peeled, halved, chickpeas in and Ethiopian spice shop outside my shuk.

  11. wtf, hummus is not isreali at all, its arabic


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