Humus, originally a Middle Eastern meze, “is high in iron and vitamin C, and also has significant amounts of folate and vitamin B6. Garbanzo beans make it a good source of protein and dietary fiber; the tahini consists mostly of sesame seeds, an excellent source of amino acid, complementing the proteins in chickpeas”, says Wikipedia. Humus is a very convenient food for those who prefer a vegetarian or vegan diet and like other combinations of grains and pulses, when eaten with bread it serves as a complete protein. It’s great for your digestive system as well.
Its creamy texture and earthy, yet rich, flavor balances great with the mild and acidic flavors of olive oil and lemon juice. I am always up for regional staple food recipes as they are usually amazingly well balanced both in terms of health and taste. I am not a drinker at all, but some say, humus when eaten with alcoholic beverages helps avoid a nasty hangover.
Here goes the recipe for humus:
1.5 cups of canned or boiled garbanzo beans, hulled
Half cup of tahini
Half cup of extra virgin olive oil
Juice of two lemons
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, replace with paprika if not available
A dash of powdered cumin
1 teaspoon of salt, reduce if chickpeas are salted
Olive slices, pickles, pepper flakes, paprika and/or parsley leaves to garnish (all optional)
For a better, gourmet-like meze, do not use canned beans, boil chickpeas the night before, cover and let soak in water overnight. A tip to make them softer: Add in a dash of baking soda to the boiling water. In the morning, drain the chickpeas and remove their hulls by rubbing between your hands. Again, soak the chickpeas into a bowl of water to make the skins float, so that you can easily separate them.
In a food processor, mix the chickpeas, olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, cumin, salt, garlic, red pepper/paprika and blend until soft and creamy. If the chickpeas are soft enough, you can mash them with a bean masher which eventually turns it into a better tasting dip. Add more olive oil, water and lemon juice, if too thick. Remember, it continues to thicken if not served immediately after making. Serve in small sauce cups, wide plates, however you may like. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, paprika, parsley leaves, pickles or olives.
Serves well with meatballs, bread, chicken or anything else you may like. Please feel free to share your serving suggestions. Bon Appetit.