Has someone ever said something about you that made you think, “What the hell?!?!” My soldier did that to me the other day. I stared at him for a good five minutes thinking about whether I should cuss him out, then I remembered, “Jesus is watching.” So I chilled. But I cussed him out in my head, and had to repent later; which made me cuss him out again, which led to a whole lot of internal struggles and praying; it was all over hummus.
Specifically the hummus pictured above. He’s had hummus before. He’s had my hummus before, because I’ve made hummus plenty of times, but this hummus made him turn to me and say, “Damn, girl! I can’t believe you made this hummus!”
I’ll wait while you get over your shock. You good? Need some water? Okay.
That’s mad disrespectful, right?!?! I looked at him, lip curled up Elvis-style and said, “What is that supposed to mean?!?”
“Oh, no. I just meant, it’s the best hummus I’ve ever tasted!”
“But you’ve tasted it before. So, was it not the best thing ALL those other times that you said it was the best thing?!?!” At that he began to look to our twins for help. But, they’re smart (or scared) enough to turn away and act as if the art on the wall had suddenly began to speak. No dice, Chino. He was riding solo on this one.
“I’m just overwhelmed by the deliciousness of the food. I’m sorry. I couldn’t think straight for the joy the hummus brought to my heart.”
“Oh,” I said, “I thought so,” not, for a moment, attempting to conceal my attitude. The unmitigated gall! So, I suppose I can safely say that this hummus is so good, it starts fights. Because it’s true. I almost rocked him y’all (not really, but I thought about it really hard).
Consequently, I found myself having to apologize later, because as I began to host more and more parties where I served this hummus, I was met with the same response. The consensus was everyone thought this hummus was the best they’d ever tasted! Who am I argue with them? A girl needs a boost of confidence every once in awhile, after all. This hummus is so delicious, I’ve had Soldiers tell me it reminds them of their deployments…in a good way. Every Soldier that has tasted it has told me the only thing they miss about being deployed was the access to certain foods. Among them: the hummus. Now, they don’t have to miss mortar sirens and clouds of sand. Hopefully, you’re not pining for bunkers in Iraq, but in case you are- here’s something to tide you over.
I just couldn’t, for the life of me, figure out what was so different.
Then it dawned on me that, one of the primary differences between this hummus recipe and most of the ones floating around on the internet, is the use of fresh chickpeas. Well, technically not fresh, as these were dried at one point- but, freshly cooked. Call it psycho-babble, but I have found that cooking them produces a smoother, purer-tasting (that’s totally a thing) hummus. There’s a metallic quality to canned chickpeas that is off-putting to me, personally. When I make them ahead of time and freeze them for later use, I am happier with the overall taste and texture. I won’t judge at all if you decide to use canned chickpeas instead.
Another key for my soopah-smoove hummus is: I peel my chickpeas. It’s not a requirement, but it’s something I like to do because the weird, papery skins freak me out a little bit. It also cuts down on the gritty texture of the final product. There’s also a lot of scraping and re-pulsing in the instructions. I’m not trying to kill you with work, I’m just trying to make sure you get the smoothest hummus evah!
Begin the hummus by adding your peeled (or unpeeled-up to you) chickpeas to the food processor . Yes, even the lone gladiator that manages to stay atop the blade attachment must meet its demise.
Next, add your garlic cloves. I used to chop them prior to adding them to the bowl, but now, I just make sure I add them at the beginning so they have plenty of time to puree. Add more, or less, garlic depending on how spicy you like it. I’m only really spicy in real life, so I keep it mild when it comes to my hummus.
Puree for two minutes. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the bowl after one minute, then again after the final minute. Scraping down the bowl is going to become habit by the end of this recipe. Again, this is the best way to achieve that airy hummus we all want.
Add the lemon juice to the mix, and give it another go. Blend this for an additional minute. Scrape down the bowl after that time has elapsed.
Lookit how smooth it is!!!
Add the extra virgin olive oil. PLEASE!! For the love of all that is holy, use an olive oil that taste good on its own. Nothing is more disappointing than using a bitter, low-quality olive oil in a recipe like this. Olive oil is a prominent flavor in this hummus, so using one that has an acrid flavor does you no good. Few people realize…because, why would olive oil a topic of lively discussion amongst normals…that olive oils have different uses. To keep things simple, I splurge on an olive oil that tastes good straight from a spoon. Use Colavita if you need a cheaper option. This higher-quality oil is used only for drizzling. Like, the tribe knows, “LET ME CATCH YOU USING THIS ALL WILLY-NILLY!! It’s on and poppin'”. There’s the bulk container from Sam’s that’s for sautéing and other cooking. “Use that, you peons.” I tell my crew.
I don’t talk to them like that.
I call them peasants.
The inclusion of my Middle Eastern Spice Blend (or MESB-because I’m an Army wife and acronyms are LLLIIIIIFFFEEEEE), which makes a bold appearance in this recipe, may also be a reason this hummus is unique! If you don’t have any on hand (make some), go ahead and use an equal amount of ground cumin instead.
Add the tahini paste. I go into detail about the whys and hows of tahini in this 5 Minute Tahini Sauce recipe. Just like with olive oil, a poor-quality tahini will jack this dish up. Use one you trust…or, just use my recommendation. You do trust me, right?
Add a pinch of salt and blend for two to three minutes. Scrape down after one minute.
Look at that mousse-like texture!! That’s why scraping down is so important. Let’s just stare for a minute…
…okay, enough. Staring is rude. If the hummus is REALLY thick (like ice cream thick), add the water a tablespoon at a time. This hummus recipe tends to always be on the thicker side, I use about a quarter cup of water to thin it. Don’t thin it out too much by dumping water in it, though. You want it to be able to hold a well for the oil when serving. Too thin and you’ll have hummus sauce which is not something that anyone wants to eat.
Once you’ve adjusted the consistency, blend once more and scrape it onto a decorative plate or platter and chill, covered in plastic wrap, for thirty minutes to an hour. You can also store it in an air-tight container for up to two days. Once you’re ready to serve, swirl a fancy design using the back of your spoon, or just create a well in the center of the hummus and pour a couple of tablespoons of olive oil into the indentations. Garnish with paprika and cilantro and you’re ready to show off!
Serve with crudite of vegetables (celery, carrots, sweet peppers, broccoli or cauliflower), pita bread, or as a base for salad bowls. Pin this recipe for night’s you want to be insulted for your skills. Share it with your friends and family too!
Middle Eastern Hummus Recipe
- 1 lb cooked chickpeas or 15 oz can chickpeas drained and peeled
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 2 cloves garlic smashed
- 3 tbsp EVOO
- 1 tsp Middle Eastern Spice Blend link in post
- salt to taste
- 2-3 tbsp water
- paprika to garnish
- 1 tbsp chopped cilantro to garnish
- In your food processor, pulse together the chickpeas until smooth. Scrape down your bowl and blade.
- Add the lemon juice and tahini and pulse for 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and blade and pulse for an additional 2 minutes.
- Add the garlic, olive oil, spice blend and 1 tsp of salt to the mix and pulse for 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and blade and blend for an additional 3 minutes.
- Spoon onto a serving dish and, using the back of a large spoon, create a "moat" along the inside of your pile of hummus (about an inch from the outside rim).
- Drizzle olive oil around the surface of the hummus and sprinkle with paprika. Garnish with cilantro leaves.
- Serve with pita bread or crudite of vegetables and enjoy!
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