It’s not enough to call a certain dish “hummus” for it to become hummus. If I had a nickel for every strange looking hummus I saw, I would probably have some… 20 bucks by now.
When I say “pseudo hummus” I refer to dishes which may look like hummus, or even have somewhat similar ingredients, but do not taste anywhere near the real thing. Of course, when something don’t even look like hummus, this may be a good indication for it not being hummus. Unfortunately, having tasted some of these hummus-mutations, I can assure you they do not come close.
It’s clear that many people are extremely excited about hummus and about the concept of making it by themselves. Only there are many misconceptions about it, and too many people who obviously never got the chance of tasting real traditionally made hummus – otherwise they wouldn’t go for all these miserable substitutes.
Let’s make one thing strait: “hummus” isn’t a general nickname for a dip or a spread. “Hummus” is both the Arab and Hebrew word for chickpeas – so it reasonable to assume that if you use other legumes to make it, what you’ll eventually get won’t be “hummus” – even if it comes out tasty.
So, yes guys, recipes such as Asha’s black-eyed pees hummus (Foodies Hope), Resemary’s White Bean Hummus (cdkitchen and here’s another one) or the Black Bean hummus at The Moronspheres, are not really hummus. As for Rachel Cole’s strange looking beluga lentil hummus (Mighty Foods) – I strongly suggest you won’t make it the next time you have your Israeli or Arab friends to dinner. Or at least don’t call it hummus.
Many other recipes I came across, mix hummus with different colorful additives, such as dried tomatoes, Green onions (check out Cooknknit‘s Green Hummus) or curry (like in Recipe Zaar‘s yellow Curry Hummus).
I believe these kind of recipes usually originates from restaurants who’s hummus was so distasteful, that they had to mix it with various ingredients in order to conceal it’s poor flavor. Some, I believe, are the outcome of irresponsible experimentalism by people who’s knowledge of hummus is very poor.
Sometimes, I get to see pictures of hummus which strongly suggest they were made by people who don’t really know how hummus should look like. Like Darlenes hummus, in the Former Fat Guy Blog which seems to have the right ingredients, lacking only a proper amount of water – judging from the photo.
One possible reason for all this is that many people only know packaged hummus or only ate hummus at Greek or Turkish restaurants, for example. You’d have a hard time finding hummus in Greece or Turkey, because it is not a Mediterranean dish – it is Arab. And when food manufacturers make industrialized foods, everything goes – as long as it prolongs the shelf life of the product or meets the customer expectations.
One colleague-blogger had recently told me that I’m being too pedantic about the subject. Maybe so, but some of the shameful things I’ve seen and tasted convinced me that this is an area where ignorance is not a bless.