Egyptian Hummus with Tahini


What’s the most popular hors d’oeuvre?

I think it has to be hummus. I don’t have any scientific proof but I once counted the kinds of hummus sold at one of my local supermarkets and stopped when I reached 38.

Thirty-eight kinds of hummus? That’s almost as many varieties as potato chips!

Of course there aren’t actually 38 different flavors. There are several brands and some of them are the same flavor, brand to brand — like garlic flavored or spicy, olive, tahini.

But there are also some that I will call post-modern versions because I can’t think of another word for it. Like Sabra’s chipotle or Buffalo style hummus or Tribe’s hummus topped with Cilantro Chimichurri. Wow, that’s what I call fusion cuisine!

Sorry, but when it comes to certain foods, I am a purist. Like with hummus.

In Egypt, hummus is still blessedly kind of pure and simple, so I’ve been eating it every day with breakfast and dinner. It’s basic stuff: pureed chickpeas mixed with spices, olive oil and lots of tahini. Mix it all up in a food processor, garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and a few cooked chickpeas and it’s yummy enough. You don’t need to make it more complex or add any sauce or topping. That way you can actually taste the hummus.

Try this version — it’s easy to make, cheaper than store-bought and you won’t have to make a decision about which of the 38 (or more) flavors to buy.

Egyptian Hummus with Tahini

  • 1 pound can chickpeas
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • pita bread

Drain the chickpeas but reserve the liquid. Set aside a tablespoon of chickpeas. Place the remaining chickpeas in a food processor with the tahini, 2 tablespoons olive oil, lime juice, garlic, salt and 1/4 cup of the reserved bean liquid. Process until the ingredients form a smooth puree (turn the machine off and scrape the sides of the work bowl once or twice). If you prefer a thinner hummus, add some more of the bean liquid. Spoon the hummus into a serving bowl. Garnish with the remaining tablespoon olive oil and the reserved chick peas.

Makes about 1-1/2 cups