Hummus with whole spices

This one’s a real favourite for those days when I’m working at home. Homemade hummus only takes about five minutes to make, tastes great, and is cheaper and better than anything you’ll get from the cold aisle in the supermarket.

When my brother and I were kids, hummus and pitta bread was a favourite breakfast, up until the day I got called garlic-breath at ten-o-clock by a girl in gym at school. I swore off it for a few sensitive teenaged years. Since then, I’ve learned not to care about upsetting those around me by eating garlic. (Life’s too short; I once had a boyfriend whose mother worked as a teacher and wouldn’t eat garlic until she had retired, lest the children smelled it on her breath. For God’s sake; it’s Chicken Kiev, not twenty whiskies and soda. Nowadays I just ensure that the people I feel like doing gym with are also eating plenty of what I eat. Poor, reeking Mr Weasel.)

Hummus is one of those dishes that has been around for so long that its origins are now uncertain. It’s from somewhere in the Middle East, and variations on it pop up all over the place; there’s even an Indian version. Hummus bi tahina is made from pureed chickpeas (called garbanzo beans in America) and tahini, a paste made from crushed sesame seeds. The cumin in this is typical of Egyptian hummus – the other spices are in there because I like them.

Work by volume. For every volume of cooked, cold chick peas you use, you’ll need half that volume of tahini, so if you’re using canned chick peas (as, I’m afraid, I do, because to soak, cook and cool them would ruin the whole five-minute lunch-ness of this), you’ll need half a can’s-worth of tahini. If you’re going for the long haul and are organised enough to remember to soak them the night before, you’ll find home-cooked chick peas even nicer, and you can spend a few minutes dry-frying the spices too.

For a one-can lunch for two, you’ll need:

1 can chickpeas
1/2 jar tahini
Zest and juice of one lemon
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon salt
Olive oil to drizzle
Paprika to sprinkle

Put the chick peas, tahini, lemon zest (not the juice), whole spices, garlic and salt in a blender, and whizz until everything is smooth. (You’ll still have some spice pieces in there; this is a good thing. When you bite one unexpectedly, you’ll thank me.) Add the lemon juice and stir it in by hand, tasting frequently until you’ve got the desired tartness. (Add a bit more if you like, or put lemon wedges on the plates when you serve.) Drizzle with olive oil, and powder the whole thing with paprika.

6 Replies to “Hummus with whole spices”

  1. Last Friday night, we went to a party at a friend’s house and they made homemade hummus, guacamole and tzatsiki (have i spelt the latter right?). To cut the story short, i claimed the hummus and guacamole all night! (Well, only til about 5am which by that time i was quite happy to let it go plus finally, we were allowed to go home).

    Thanks for parting with the recipe. One question, what is tahini?

  2. Tahini. Although personally, I wouldn’t recommend making it from scratch; it’s very hard to get it perfectly smooth. The stuff in jars is just as good, anyway, and it does mean that your kitchen won’t get covered in a fine mist of sesame seeds.

  3. I actually rather like the stuff from the supermarket, probably because I’ve been brought up on it. If I were a small Greek person from a beautiful island surrouded by blue seas, I imagine I would think the supermarket stuff abhorrent.

  4. Ben – me too (although I do prefer this). I actually find making it more convenient; I usually have all the ingredients in the house, whereas if I buy a pot I am liable to leave it in the fridge until it’s expired.

    When are you back in the UK? Is it tomorrow? Come and see the kittens!

  5. Thank you so much for this recipe. I make it often for my kids lunchboxes. It's so easy and quick and healthy and delicious too!

  6. Hi I came across your blog by coincidence and I am very intrigued by this recipe as you leave the spices whole in there Hummus.

    I just have one question and very much appreciate it if you could tell me how much is half a jar of Tahini as the stuff I get here comes in pretty big jars. I know that tahini is added to taste and I usually add a couple of table spoons but I want to follow your recipe and would love to know how much you put in. Thanks 🙂

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