Hummus: is it Israeli or Arab?

Many Israelis, and many people around the world, believe hummus to be an Israeli dish. On the other hand, when they want to eat good hummus, most Israelis will go to an Arab hummus place. So who invented it? Who does hummus ”belong” to?

If you’d tell a Syrian, a Palestinian or an Israeli Arab, that hummus is an Israeli dish, they will probably laugh at your face. Hummus is eaten all over the middle-east, and is a part of the traditional Arab kitchen. There’s no way it was brought here by European Jews…

This does sound reasonable, although chickpeas are known to man for at least 9000 years. The Greeks loved it and the Romans made various dishes with it. Technically, the first documented use of chickpeas to make something that resembles hummus is from the time of the crusaders – which may have picked the recipe in the holy land.

True, the use of chickpeas to make a traditional dish called “Hamitz” was mentioned in the Talmud, some 700 years earlier. But nobody said anything about tahini there – and there are many dishes that has chickpeas in them and aren’t hummus.  Read more

The primitive American hummus culture

Though relatively young and poor in content compared with it’s older Hebrew brother, The Hummus Blog is getting lots of attention these days. Over the comments at one of the sites who talked about us, someone said something like “Americans don’t know shit about hummus”.

Read more

Hummus nutritional value: dried vs. canned chickpeas

Canned and preserved foods are not as healthy. Specifically, when using canned chickpeas instead of dried ones to make hummus, you loose half the nutrients.

Most of the recipes for homemade hummus found on the web, are based on canned chickpeas (a.k.a garbanzo beens). To those of you who are acquainted with the original flavor of hummus (not the industrial type, that is), this probably sound like a but idea. True, the use of canned peas demands less effort, but it doesn’t taste that good.

For those of you who see think canned chickpeas are a reasonable substitute, I collected some data about the nutritional differences between cooked dried chickpeas and canned ones.
Read more

Real Hummus recipe

Making hummus isn’t too hard, but it’s not all about having the right recipe. Our simple recipe for traditional homemade hummus, comes with a little of our hummus-philosophy.

See also:

Quick Tahini Recipe

Arbis chickpea snack

the Real Falafel recipe 

[These three are all far less intellectually challenging]

.There’s nothing like good, healthy, homemade hummus, and there’s no reason for you not to try making it. Making good Hummus isn’t just about having a good recipe, though. True, there are quantities to keep and procedures to follow, but in order to make a really good hummus you must you should go into a cerain state of mind (and preferably practice it for years).

Home made hummus. Mine.

You shouldn’t, and can’t, compete with people who have been making hummus all their lives. On the other hand, you can still make a very tasty hummus the first time you try. It will taste 10 times better than any packaged hummus you can buy, and be 10 times healthier as well (read more here). With time, you will get the touch and become a hummus expert.

A hummus made right, will not make you feel heavy or bloated after you eat it. It will not make you – excuse my French – fart like crazy, either. It should go down smoothly, leaving you light and happy, and in a cheerful mood.

To solve the gas problem, BTW, you should soak the chickpeas in clean water for 10-15 hours, switch them at list once, and take off the foam that appears over the boiling water during the cooking. That’s all (and if you’re extra sensitive, put one bay leave into the cooking pot).

Also, washing the chickpeas well between every two steps of the making, will help you leave out the aftertastes.

There are lots of different hummus recipes. I came across dozens of hummus recipes, and practically tried them all. The recipe before you, is the best in my opinion. Accurate and well tested – although you should feel free to experiment. Good luck!

Ingredients

[4 extra-large bowls of Hummus]

1 cups dried chickpeas (the smallest you can find)

1/2 cup tahini

juice from 1 squeezed lemons

1-2 garlic cloves

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1 tablespoon + 1/8-1/4 teaspoon baking soda

salt

olive oil

parsley

How do I make that into Hummus? (Directions)

[Brut: 10-20 hours. Net: 30 minutes]

1. Pour the chickpeas over a large plate. Go over them and look for damaged grains small stones, or any other thing you would rather leave out of the plate.

2. Wash the chickpeas several times, until the water is transparent. Soak them in clean water over night with 1 tablespoon of baking soda. Then, wash it, and soak again in tap water for a few more hours. The grains should absorb most of the water and almost double their volume.

3. Wash the chickpeas well and put them in a large pot. Cover with water, add the rest baking soda and NO salt. Cook until the grains are very easily smashed when pressed between two fingers. It should take around 1-1.5 hours, during which it is advised to switch the water once again, and remove the peels and foam which float over the cooking water. When done, sieve the grains and keep the cooking water.

4. Put the chickpeas into a food processor and grind well. Leave it to chill a little while before you continue.

5. Add the tahini and the rest of the ingredients and go on with the food processor until you get the desired texture. If the Humus is too thick, add some of the cooking water. It should be thinner than the actual desired texture.

Serve with some good olive oil and chopped parsley.

Humus in the Bible

The first documented use of chick-pees to make humus in the middle-east, is from the age of the crusaders. What few people know is that humus was also mentioned in the old testament.

On the first time Ruth and Boaz had met in Bethlehem, he offered her some humus: “And at meal-time Boaz said unto her, Come hither, and eat of the bread, and dip thy morsel in the vinegar” (Ruth 2-14).

This is a mistranslation of course. The original word in ancient Hebrew, is “Hometz”. Which not only sounds a bit like “Humus”, but also resembles the word “Himtza”. The Hebrew name of chick-pees.

True, “Hometz” in modern Hebrew is vinegar. But you don’t really think Boaz was so rude as to offer Ruth to dip her bread in vinegar, do you? Got to admit it’s more reasonable to think it was Humus (the credit for this idea belongs to the Israeli writer Meir Shalev).

Hummus or Humus?

This seems like the right place to start our journey: how should I spell my favourite dish: Humus or Hummus? Wiki says it’s Humus for the soil and Hummus for the food. Google finds many more occurrences of Humus though, which may suggest people prefer the single m form. But than again – there’s a popular rock band called humus, and I’m not sure if hummus is more popular in this point of time. Yet, I’m sure it’s going to.

And well, the spelling issues are irrelevant now that I’ve already registered humus101.com. That’s a self explanitory domain, I think, but in case you wondered: yes, this is a 101 blog for Humus lovers.

English, as you might have already guessed, isn’t my mother tongue. And I guess some of the people who will get here will be non-native English readers too. But what are language barriers when it comes to the love for Humus (or Hummus). Especially in the era of globalization.

Humus, in case you didn’t know, is the Arabic word for chickpeas. It is also the name of a dish, made of chickpeas, tahini (aka thina, a sesame seeds paste) and a few other ingredients (the full recipe).

In future posts, I’ll discuss the history, sociology and culinary of Humus. In this point I will only note that it is a very ancient dish, that is being eaten for at list 1000 years, and even 3000 accorsing to some (who claim it was actually mentioned in the bible).

But my main interest will be in current status of Humus on the planet. Such as places around the globe where you can eat good Humus – a subject in which those of you living outside the middle east might have more helpful information than I do.

Well, Humus is about sharing – so please share the information with the rest of us.