Chickpeas, garlic, olive oil, sesame paste and lemon juice – 5 basic ingredients and you’ve got yourself what has become one of the world’s most popular appetizers originating in the Middle East.
My fondest memories of hummus (authentically pronounced “hommous”) are from my trip to Dubai in 2012, when my parents and I chanced upon a Lebanese restaurant called Wafi Gourmet which, to us, was just another restaurant in just another big, fat mall. Except it was bustling with what seemed like very happy customers, and for that purpose alone, we decided to give it a shot. One walk through the aisles proudly displaying mountains of freshly made Baklava, barrels of juicy olives, piles of roasted nuts and counters full of fresh meat… We knew we were in good hands. Everything we ordered turned out to be utterly delightful, yet nothing will linger in my mind and on my palate like the taste of their warm puffy pita bread and tangy garlic hummus.
My husband, Dhruv, spent many of his growing years in Muscat, Oman and he simply loves hummus in any way – hummus and meat, hummus and carrots, hummus and bread, hummus and hummus… hence the added motivation to perfect this recipe. My aim was to recreate the same flavours I had experienced at Wafi Gourmet. And according to my taste buds, I think I was pretty successful! Hurrah! I can proudly say I am never buying that wonderful-but-not-wonderful-enough packaged hummus from Cold Storage again!
Unfortunately, toasting ordinary pita bread doesn’t quite do the trick like WG’s fresh puffy bread. But hey, you take what you get.
Here’s the recipe for authentic hummus with toasted pine nuts. You could also enjoy this as a dip with carrots and celery or in a Lebanese style wrap with meat.
- 1 can of chickpeas (Garbanzo beans), drained and properly rinsed (That’s approx. 1 1/2 cups if you’re cooking them at home)
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (approx. 1 large lemon although you might not need the whole amount)
- 1/4 cup Tahini (Sesame paste – no real substitute for this.) Click here for a recipe of homemade Tahini in case you can’t buy it.
- 3/4 tsp garlic paste (or about 2-3 large cloves crushed)
- 1 tbsp Olive oil
- 1/3 tsp ground cumin (jeera powder)
- 1/3 tsp cayenne pepper
- A pinch of freshly ground black pepper
- 2/3 tsp kosher salt
- 1/3 cup water, plus more if required
- 2-3 tbsp pine nuts
- A sprig of fresh parsley to garnish
- Pita bread to serve
- In a blender or food processor, add half of the squeezed lemon juice (add the rest later little-by-little to taste), Tahini, garlic, olive oil, cumin, cayenne pepper, black pepper, salt and water and blend, adding a little more water if the paste is too thick.
- Then add the rinsed chickpeas to the blender and blend together, adding a tiny bit of water if required. You could also add a little lemon juice.
- Taste and adjust whatever you like. For instance, I like just a dash of more cumin, cayenne and garlic. And I love mine tangy and lemony, but be careful not to make it TOO lemony, especially if it’s going to sit in the refrigerator before you serve it, as it soaks in a lot of the flavours then and the taste of lemon might get overwhelming later.
- Lightly toast the pita bread for a few minutes either on a grill or in an oven or toaster, or even in a pan on low heat. You want it to be just hot, but not too crisp. Cut the pita bread into small-medium wedges.
- In the mean time, put the pine nuts in a small pan over medium heat, shaking and moving them every 20 seconds. Roast until they begin to turn light brown and emit a nutty aroma, about 3-4 minutes. Be careful not to burn them!
- To serve, put the hummus in a bowl, top with toasted pine nuts, a sprinkle of cayenne and a sprig of fresh parsley. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Serve with warm pita bread on the side.
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