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Feb 13, 2011 07:07 PM

Making Hummus for the First Time

Hi -- I want to start making my own hummus. I'm not sure if it's a national brand, but the flavor I'm trying to reproduce is Sabra brand. (I have kids and they like hummus if it's mild and balanced.) I have a couple of questions. First: what type of olive oil would work best? I'm actually about to buy some more, so it's a good time to try something new. My local butcher has a whole variety available in bulk. Second: how much better is it to start with dried chick peas compared with canned? I'm planning on adding cumin & lemon juice as well -- is there anything else you'd recommend? (Again, I'm not looking for spiciness.) Thanks!

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  1. Traditional hummus,to my understanding,doesn't call for olive oil.It's usually drizzled on after.Lemon juice,fresh garlic,tahini paste,cumin S&P and some of the liquid from the chickpeas.I also add a drop or two of Tabasco to the mix.Try emulsifying the lemon juice and tahini before you add the other ingredients.Dried chickpeas yield a better product but they take a long time to cook so for convenience , canned is fine.

    1. I've been on a three batch a week hummus kick or three months now. Most days I stay traditional...beans, Tahini, garlic, lemon, parsley, a dash of cayenne, and olive oil. Other additions could be roasted red peppers, jalapeno, habanero, chipotle, lime, cilantro, olive, Basil, sun-dried tomato, capers, feta, smoked salmon and dill...use your imagination. As for olive oil...I prefer to use a light oil so it doesn't overpower.
      And to me, nothing wrong with opening up a can, though fresh would be cheaper in the long run.

      1. Hummus can be easy or a project:
        My preference for taste and health are:
        I use dried beans. I pressure cook them. Cook a little more and freeze; they freeze wonderfully.
        If I do use a little olive oil, and it's always extra-virgin olive oil.
        Or I might use yogurt instead of the olive oil.
        I use fresh lemon juice.
        Since Ilike the taste of turmeric, I usually add a little.
        I toast sesame seeds to make my own tahini. (Recipes abound)

        1. I think the only necessary ingredients are chickpeas, tahini, lemon, and salt. Balance those out to your tastes, and work from there on additional seasonings. Typically, olive oil is added on top of the hummus in the serving dish (e.g., in a recess spooned out of the top).

          Why not do a canned versus whole chickpea taste test and report back? If you have a food processor, it's easy to do such an experiment.

          1 Reply
          1. re: sushigirlie

            Great idea to do the comparison, will do. (And I completely blanked on the tahini, even though I just bought some!). So long as you don't mind a 2 and 6 year old sitting in on the tasting panel!

          2. Sabra Classic Hummus is pretty straightforward, with less tahini, more chickpea, a hint of lemon, garlic and salt. You're right in your assesment of that brand's classic hummus, it is mild and balanced. Soybean/canola oil, citric acid and some proprietary seasonings are used in their formula; obviously you can do your own version with fresh lemon juice. Start with less tahini and add in until you get a taste you prefer. Sabra has a number of flavored varieties as well, pine nut, spinach, sun dried tomato, extra tahini, roasted garlic, herbs, spicy; just shows you the versatility of hummus.

            Drizzle the olive oil on after for a garnish. I do add a little to the hummus occasionally when I puree it, in addition to the chickpea cooking liquid, but it's used more for garnish. Cumin is a nice flavor addition, as well as other other flavorings posters have mentioned. I sometimes add half a chopped onion in the food processor with the chickpeas while pureeing, along with the garlic.

            As for canned vs dried, I use both, prefer dried for flavor and a lower price, but don't always want to wait a few hours for the dried chickpeas to cook; the rinsed canned chickpeas make it very quick. Sabra most likely commercially strains their hummus; their product tends to be smoother than I can make at home, unless I pass it through a chinois after pureeing, but a bit coarser texture just says homemade to me.