My Mom's Hummus

Today I’m sharing my mom’s hummus recipe.

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You’ve seen lots of hummus recipes over the years. Ever since its popularization about a decade ago, people can’t get enough of it. Everything claims to be “hummus” these days, from lentil hummus, carrot hummus, even chocolate hummus. Let’s get back to what this dish originally is: a zesty, balanced tahini chickpea spread.

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The word hummus itself translates to chickpeas. The origin of hummus is a source of much controversy, especially with Israelis claiming it as their own. Hummus shows origins beginning in the 13th century, well before the country existed. Palestinians fight hard for the survival of their heritage, especially when it comes to hummus. Beginning in 2010, different human rights organizations at college campuses in the United States began calling for the boycott of the ubiquitous brand Sabra because of its ties with Israel, and this continues on today.

Debate aside, hummus is delicious and continues to be one of my favorites. The ingredients are quite simple, containing chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, salt and a bit of garlic, meaning the balance of the salt and lemon juice are imperative to making the perfect plate of hummus. The addition of baking soda helps to make it smooth.

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In Syria, our hummus is more lemony than garlicky (unlike the Lebanese, who add lots of garlic). It’s often eaten as part of mezze (or appetizers) and eaten with grilled meat and kebab.

Delicious hummus is actually hard to achieve. If I buy it at a restaurant, I often doctor it with the addition of lemon and salt. This one, however, is perfectly balanced. It’s exactly how I love my hummus to be: lemony, earthy and pungent. Without further ado, hummus.

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Serves 10

2 c dry chickpeas
2 tsp baking soda
2 Tbsp kosher salt, divided
1 c tahini
2 c lemon juice (remember what I said about getting a lemon juicer?)
1 garlic clove
Drizzle of olive oil
Sprinkle of Aleppo pepper (optional)

  1. Prepare the chickpeas: soak overnight with sufficient amount of water, 1.5 Tbsp salt and 2 tsp baking soda. Chickpeas should be full submerged (keep in mind they will expand while soaking).

  2. Pour contents into a stockpot and add more water (if needed) to fully submerge the chickpeas. Partially cover the pot. Simmer until you can squeeze a chickpea easily with 2 fingers, about 45 minutes.

  3. Drain the chickpeas and let sit for about a minute until fully dried. Set aside a few chickpeas for a later garnish (optional). Transfer the remaining chickpeas to a food processor with the remaining ingredients and salt and process until smooth.

  4. Hummus can be kept in an air-tight container in the fridge up to 3-4 days. To serve, drizzle with olive oil, add the reserved chickpeas and sprinkle Aleppo pepper (if using).