Hummus bi Tahinah

Be it in Turkey as part of a selection of mezze or in Palestine alongside fresh bread at breakfast, hummus is widely consumed throughout the Mediterranean and West Asia. Even though hummus has made it big in the United States, a lot of the variations you find at the supermarket fall short of the mark for the quality that I and so many savor in hummus – tahinah, or tahini.

This recipe is a staple of what hummus bi tahinah (chickpeas with tahini) is, passed down from my family. Although I outline what is called for in my recipe, I recommend that you tailor it to your tastes, and experiment with recipes until you find something that feels simple to make and matches the flavor profile you savor. The main takeaways are from the technique, which I recommend everyone follow for the perfect hummus bi tahinah at home with minimal work.

Necessary Ingredients

  • 2 fresh lemon or limes
  • Tahinah (I recommend Biladi)
  • 1 can of pre-cooked chickpeas
  • Baking soda
  • Fresh or Tinned Garlic
  • Cold-pressed olive oil
  • Desired toppings

Pro Tip: One can of chickpeas will make a generous portion, but to match a portion size similar to that of large tubs of hummus at the supermarket, you can use double the ingredients.

Assembly Process

  1. Start by juicing 1 of your citruses into your blender or food processor. Mince the desired amount (for a median garlic taste, I recommend 3-4 fresh cloves) of garlic and add to the lemon juice, pulsing several times to mix well. Allow the garlic and citrus juice mixture to stand for at least 10 minutes, as this will allow the garlic flavor to develop in your hummus without the need to sit overnight.
  2. Drain the canned chickpeas and add them and a handful of baking soda to a pot of water. Prepare a bowl of cold water with a strainer inlaid. Bring the pot to a rolling boil and remove from the heat, quickly placing the chickpeas into the cold water to blanch. Once cooled, remove the transparent skins from the chickpeas – it’s easiest to whisk them around and scoop out the floating skins before moving on to chickpeas that still may have skins attached.
  3. Scoop 2 tbsp of tahinah into the lemon and garlic mixture and whip for several seconds until you have an airy mix of whipped tahinah.
  4. Add in the deskinned chickpeas and blend the mixture until all chickpeas are blended and well-combined. To thin the mixture for easier blending, add citrus juice or olive oil 1 tbsp at a time until reaching the desired consistency. To thicken the mixture, add a 1/2 tbsp of tahinah.
  5. Place your hummus bi tahinah into a serving dish and use the back of a spoon to smooth out the mixture creating small ridges and a center dip to hold the olive oil and toppings. Pour olive oil ontop of the hummus until the ridges are covered and add your desired toppings. For this recipe, I used sumac and za’atar.
Before and after removing the skins from the chickpeas; note the vibrant color.

So you may be asking… why be so technical with the process? Well, several factors can make or break your hummus bi tahinah. Here’s why this recipe helps make your hummus perfect:

  • Garlic takes a while to develop, and often becomes more pungent the longer a dip sits. Allowing your garlic to infuse into the lemon juice prior to blending can help you reach your desired flavor profile.
  • Whipping your tahinah is a must to have airy, light hummus. Skipping this step may result in hummus that is dense and more like a plaster than a dip.
  • Chickpea skins are slimy and lead to grainy, lumpy hummus. Deskinning your chickpeas will ensure a smooth and even texture.
  • Creating channels on the surface of your hummus makes it easier to coat with olive oil. Not coating the surface of your hummus leads to the possibility that it may get crusty on top when stored, so always re-coat before sticking back in the fridge.

I highly recommend using this recipe and these techniques to develop your own special recipe. Hummus comes in so many variations, and this is a great canvas to get you started on making fresh, delicious hummus at home.

Enjoy and Bismillah!

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