Culinary Q

Q as in "cue" as in "to prompt." A recipe is only the beginning…

Finally – Ultimate Hummus!!!

I love Middle Eastern food, and have been making hummus for years – and doing a pretty darn good job it too, I might add. 🙂 However, being prone to experimenting, combining recipes, and just plain guessing on measurements, sometimes the texture or flavor would be just “okay” and, a few times, I added too much liquid and couldn’t fix it, having run out of garbanzo beans. Making hummus thicker with more tahini doesn’t work too well because the flavor and texture of the tahini become too overwhelming.

BUT – I believe I have it down, now. First, the basic recipe, than I’ll give a tip or two for an extra flavor boost.

This makes about [have to go measure the container it filled to tell you! I’ll update if I end up posting before I get this. My guess is 3 or so cups.]

Hummus with Roasted Red Pepper

1 15 oz can of garbanzo beans (chick peas) drained and rinsed
2 cloves of garlic, minced (I use big cloves)
1/3 chopped parsley – not firmly, but not lightly (mediumly?) packed when measuring
1 medium carrot, grated
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/8 cup olive oil
1/3 cup of tahini (sesame pasted from lightly toasted sesame seeds)
1 roasted red pepper (medium/smallish – measuring about 3×3 when flattened)

I always prep everything, first, and wash up any dirty dishes or utensils, then start filling the
food processor: [NOTE – remember to use a spatula to scape down the ingredients from the side of the bowl as you go along.]

I put the garbanzo beans in, and then added the next three ingredients, minced garlic, chopped parsley, and grated carrot, distributing each somewhat evenly in the food processing bowl.

Then I ran the processor, pulsing a bit, to get them mixed up and the garbanzos to a coarse texture.

Then I added the lemon juice, and pulsed a bit, then the olive oil, and let that run for a bit.

Next, I added the tahini and ran the processor for another bit, sometimes stopping to scrape down the sides, until well-mixed.

Last to go in was the roasted red pepper. Just toss it in whole, and don’t bother patting it dry, first. It will blend in nicely.

And, that’s it! So easy! So delicious!!!! And healthy!!! Can you tell I am excited about this? Colorful, too.

NOTE – many hummus recipes call for a little water. DON’T use water unless, at the very end, the hummus seems too dry. I used water previously, not considering the water content of the added veggies, especially the roasted red pepper, and it came out a tad soupy.

I doubt you’ll need any water with this recipe. However, factors can vary – maybe the tahini is dry, or the chickpeas have a lower water content for some reason. But, wait until the end before considering adding the H2O.

Now, for the flavor boosters. First, this hummus is great when using store-bought tahini and bottled lemon juice. And, obviously, it uses canned garbanzos. I also use store-bought, jarred roasted red pepper. I bet roasting a fresh red pepper and cooking up one’s own batch of dried garbanzos would give a boost, as well as reduce the sodium content of the hummus from these prepared items.

But, I can tell you for sure that squeezing the lemon juice fresh and making your own tahini really adds a punch!

Fresh squeezed lemon juice is easy – I have a little hand juicer (plastic and thus not as stable as I would like) that works fine. After cutting the medium-sized lemon in half, I had more than the 1/4 of juice I needed.

Making tahini isn’t difficult, but it is more time consuming than squeezing a lemon. But the flavor is well worth it. I am sure I’ll keep a jar from the market on hand, but I am also going to make sure that I always have sesame seeds around, as well!

To be honest, while I almost always have fresh lemons on hand and use bottled lemon juice in a pinch, I don’t think I had ever made my own tahini. Today I did because, part-way into prepping to whip up a quick batch of hummus, I realized that I had finished off my last jar… Luckily, I had a bag of sesame seeds in the fridge. Whew!

Now, tahini can be made from either toasted or raw sesame seeds. My understanding is that Asian tahini is made from raw sesame seeds and Middle Eastern tahini is from toasted sesame seeds. So, how to toast?

Many recipes say to spread the seeds on a baking sheet and put in the oven, but I prefer the quick, easy, and more energy efficient method of dry-roasting in a frying pan. Just make sure it is a heavy frying pan. I prefer to use a cast iron pan for dry-roasting nuts, seeds, and grains, but a sturdy stainless steel pan should work, too.

To make just a tad more tahini than you needs for this recipe, put 3/4 cup raw sesame seeds in a 10 inch or larger skillet/fry pan, that has been preheated on medium. Just stir them around as they heat up, start popping here and there, get a bit darker, and release a wonderful aroma. Lightly toasted with do the trick.

Then, put them in a wide bottom bowl or other container so they will cool off a bit, then put them in the blender. Run the blender on “grind” for a bit until they start looking ground up. Then, (and this is where I didn’t measure but think I “eyeballed it” okay) add maybe 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil (I used canola) and see how it looks. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides and mix things up a bit before continuing. Then add a tad more oil, grind some more, see how it looks. I think I used 3 tablespoons of oil.

WOW – REALLY good!!!! I’ve always enjoyed tahini from the store, but it rocks when you make it yourself. Also, the store-bought kind always separates, and that can cause problems as to getting the right texture in foods in which tahini is an ingredient.

So, the recipe is great even without doing the “from scratch” ingredient thing. But, I highly recommend 1) fresh squeezed lemon juice and 2) homemade tahini.

Now I am going to have to try roasting red peppers. Although, I doubt I’d do that just for hummus…seems like a waste of heating fuel. But, my curiosity may get the better of me… However, if I have time, I might cook up a batch of garbanzos if I am making hummus for a big crowd or plan to use them in other recipes, too.

Anyway – that’s the scoop.

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One comment on “Finally – Ultimate Hummus!!!

  1. Servidores
    03/19/2008

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This entry was posted on 06/09/2007 by in Appetizer, Dips, Sauces and Gravies, Snack, Vegetarian.
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