What is tahini? What’s the difference between chickpeas and garbanzo beans? Here’s everything you ever wanted to know about how to make hummus at home (but were afraid to ask).
If you’re under the impression that hummus is too rich and flavorful to be easily made in your kitchen, allow me to dispell that myth for you right here and now. I, too hesitated for years when it came to whipping up a bowl of this creamy Middle Eastern dip for MG and myself to enjoy.
Could it be that I was intimidated by the food’s foreign origins? Was I fearful of the unfamiliar ingredient that is tahini?
Knowing me, the truth is I probably just couldn’t bring myself to trust that something so densely rich and flavorful could be made in under five minutes using only ingredients I already had sitting around in my kitchen (save for one).
This is because I always have to believe that everything worthwhile has got to be harder than it actually is. I’m constantly amazed at how simple a wonderful thing can be.
I don’t know my blood type, but I’m laying 10 to 1 odds it’s probably “B Negative.”
The first thing you need to know is that chickpeas and garbanzo beans, for the purposes here, are exactly the same. I have been told that they are in fact technically different legumes, but are so identical is taste, appearance and consistency that one need not worry.
So I don’t. I also don’t spend time on smarty-pants people who like to make a big to-do about things they know, then add that it’s nothing worth worrying about anyway. I direct these Ivy League Eggheads to the Sony lot where they can take the Jeopardy! exam and tell them I don’t ever want to see them in my kitchen again.
And what is tahini, you ask? The one potential “mystery guest” on tonight’s show? Well, take a look at the label above and all your questions will be solved.
Yes, that’s all it is. Tahini is nothing more than a creamy purée of roasted sesame seeds. It has the appearance of caramel and smells a little like peanut butter. It gives hummus its thick and creamy consistency. My local Ralph’s doesn’t carry it, but my local Whole Foods does. Once it’s opened, be sure to keep it refrigerated. There are plenty of soups, spreads and dressings that use tahini as its base, so with a little imagination and some quick browsing on the web, none of it should go to waste!
Simple Hummus Recipe
- 1 16 oz can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans
- 1/4 cup liquid from can of chickpeas
- 3-5 tablespoons lemon juice (depending on taste)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons tahini
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Drain chickpeas and set aside liquid from can. Combine remaining ingredients in blender or food processor. Add 1/4 cup of liquid from chickpeas. Blend for 3-5 minutes on low until thoroughly mixed and smooth. Place in serving bowl, and create a shallow well in the center of the hummus. Add a small amount (1-2 tablespoons) of olive oil in the well.
Serve immediately with crackers, warm or toasted pita bread, or your favorite vegetables. Or cover and refrigerate. I top mine with red pepper flakes and a little chopped parsley.