About 20 years ago, when I was running our specialty food store, we were really the first store that sold a huge variety of chummus in Winnipeg. Unlike the large grocery stores, which typically sell a couple of flavours, I’d stock an entire cooler with different flavours and varieties, usually selling out before I could get the next shipment delivered. Years later, when we had a cafe we made it from scratch. While many of the commercial brands are good, making it from scratch at home is SO MUCH BETTER!
I like to soak dried chickpeas overnight, then let them simmer in lots of water until very soft. Puree them while still quite warm with lemon juice, garlic, tahini, salt, cumin, and a few ice cubes. That’s all it takes for a delicious, creamy plate of chummus perfect for dragging a chunk of pita through and enjoying.
You can use canned chickpeas in place of the dried ones, but you’re still going to have to let them simmer in water for about 20 minutes or until quite soft. Once soaked and drained, the dry chickpeas weigh 454 grams/16 oz (or measure 2 cups). Many cans of chickpeas are just shy of this (425 grams/15 oz.), so use one can.
And feel free to have some fun and make different flavours of chummus by adding different things to this recipe. Make ‘Lemon Chummus” by adding more lemon juice, “Garlic Chummus” by adding more garlic or try some roasted garlic, “Red Pepper Chummus” by adding some roasted and peeled bell peppers to the food processor, or sun-dried tomatoes, za’atar, more tahini, etc. etc.
Chummus / Hummus
This base chummus recipe is smooth and creamy with hints of sesame, garlic and lemon. You can make it your own by adding more any of those or roasted peppers, olives, za'atar, schug, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh herbs or anything else you like.
- 227 grams / 8 oz. dried chickpeas (1 cup)
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup tahini (sesame paste)
- 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
- 2-4 ice cubes (about 1/4 cup)
- olive oil and paprika, sumac or zaatar for serving (optiona)
- Check through the chickpeas then place them in a large bowl or container and cover them with plenty of water (the water should come up at least 2 inches above the chickpeas). Cover and set aside for at least 12 hours — I always do this overnight.
- Pour the chickpeas into a colander and rinse well, then transfer to a pot. Cover with plenty of water (about 8 cups), add the baking soda and place over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce temperature to medium-low and let simmer for 30-40 minutes or until the chickpeas are very soft and start to fall apart (but not turn to mush). As they cook, use a spoon to skim off any foam or skins that have been released. When soft, pour into a colander and drain.
- While the chickpeas cook, add the garlic cloves, lemon juice and salt to a food processor and process for about one minute, chopping the garlic. Add the tahini and cumin and process until smooth.
- Carefully add the still-warm chickpeas to the food processor and start processing. While the machine runs, drop the ice cubes in through the feed-tube. (If your chickpeas have cooled down, do not add the ice, but replace it with 2-3 Tbsp. of cold water.) Puree until smooth and creamy.
- Transfer to a plate or bowl and drizzle with olive oil and paprika, sumac, or zaatar (optional). Enjoy immediately!
- You can keep the chummus in a sealed container in the fridge for a few days.