Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Here Comes The Hummus!

Here’s a dish that makes a great appetizer or a side, and can be made well in advance. Hummus has its roots in Middle Eastern cuisine, which is a staple here in the Detroit area because we have a large Middle Eastern population. And like many ethnic recipes there are countless variations. Many families have their own unique set of ingredients or process of making hummus.

As food goes, hummus actually delivers a good bit of nutrition, too. The main ingredient is chick peas, also known as garbanzo beans or chi chi beans. It also contains tahini, which is made of ground sesame seeds. It is a thin paste and available at most major markets (it also can be ordered online) and the tahini gives the hummus its unique flavor. Other ingredients include olive oil, garlic and lemon juice – all good stuff!

While most hummus recipes share the basic ingredients above, the spices that get included vary. Ralph makes a great hummus, and I think his stands out because of the seasonings. For this reason, we put Ralph in front of the camera this time to share his recipe! He also makes delicious homemade pita chips to go along with the hummus, but that’s another episode!

This makes a large batch – good for a big party or dinner crowd. Feel free to cut the recipe in half if you don’t need a huge amount.

2 – 15oz cans chick peas, drained with the liquid reserved
4 cloves garlic
3 TBSP tahini
4 TBSP olive oil
6 TBSP lemon juice (fresh is best, but you can used bottled)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp granulated chicken bouillon or chicken soup base (optional – leave out if you want to keep it completely vegetarian, but add a little more salt instead)
½ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp white pepper
½ tsp ground cumin
½ cup+ reserved bean liquid (you can add a little more if you want hummus a little thinner)

You really need a strong blender or a food processor for this recipe. I think a food processor works best. In the bowl of your food processor, put in all the ingredients (in order) except the reserved bean liquid. Start the processor and run for about three minutes. While running, gradually pour in the bean liquid and let run for another three minutes. Taste. Adjust seasoning as necessary. If the hummus is thicker than you would like, add a little more of the bean liquid and run for another minute. 

Serve with pita bread, pita chips, raw veggies, crackers – it’s great with almost anything!

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