Back in college was when I first started making my own hummus – you know, the totally simple, cheapo college food that was way better for you than pizza or mac and cheese when coming home at 2am on a Saturday. What I quickly learned, and to my surprise, was that the best hummus contains absolutely 0 oil. The creamy texture that I love is a direct byproduct of the quality of your tahini (I recommend splurging if you have the means). I also discovered that the stuff doesn’t always have to be a chip or vegetable topper, but it’s awesome on top of fish and pork too (some middle eastern restaurants serve it wrapped inside cured pork – damn good.
Another attribute that I like about hummus is that is perhaps the oldest known prepared food that’s still regularly consumed by the modern population. There is evidence of hummus being consumed all the way back to the 12th century by Egyptian sultans.
Holding even more antiquity is the main player in traditional hummus – the chick pea. It is widely believed that these little buggers were cultivated on the fertile plain by the civilizations of Mesopotamia and in Palestine, way BC. Chick peas were served as a side dish in ancient Rome and have come all that way to still be one of the most consumed foods around the world today.
I’ve always loved hummus. In fact, I think most of my friends and acquaintances do too. There’s something about the accessible, ultimate snackability of the stuff, which with the health benefits that it offers is attractive to most. It’s smooth, creamy and sometimes spicy, as I found it’s best made (if you like a little spice). Here’s how I make mine:
Start in advance by roasting the garlic: preheat your oven to 400 F. Cut the top of the garlic head off with a knife, exposing the cloves inside. Tear off a piece of aluminum foil, around 1 square foot. Place the garlic head in the middle, top with a little olive oil and a touch of salt and wrap the foil around the garlic, closing it up at the top (forming a little chimney). Cook the garlic in the oven for around an hour, or until the garlic itself turns soft and browns a little.
Making the rest of the hummus is a breeze – simply place all of the rest of the ingredients in a food processor with a metal blade and puree until very smooth – this may take up to 5-10 minutes. If you want a coarser hummus, then stop when the mixture is still a little chunky. Adjust for seasoning (add a little more water if it’s too think or not getting totally smooth). Top with a little olive oil, some paprika perhaps and serve.
Here’s some more hummus ideas to get you going:
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