Hummus is the Arabic word for “chickpea”.
The chickpea is also known as the garbanzo bean; “garbanzo” is the Spanish name derived from the Greek.
Hummus is also the name given to the Middle Eastern sauce or paste that includes cooked and mashed chickpeas mixed with sesame or olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, and sometimes soy sauce or mint.
Hummus is most often served as an appetizer with pita bread. But it also will make a delicious entree served with a side salad or fruit.
When you see the phrase “hummus bi tahini” that is hummus made with sesame-seed paste. Tahini is the oily cream extracted from sesame seeds.
There are many variations on how to make hummus, the appetizer. Here is a very simple one adapted from James Beard’s American Cookery. You’ll like this one because it’s easy and fast and tasty.
If you are starting with dried chickpeas, you will need to soak them overnight in cold water. Then drain, place them in a heavy pot, and cover with fresh water to a depth of 3 inches. Bring them to a full boil and boil them for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 1 to 2 hours until they are tender. Cool and drain.
6 cups drained cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1 cup sesame or olive oil
1½ cups lemon juice
3 crushed garlic cloves
Salt to taste
1. Press the well-drained chickpeas through a sieve or food mill to make a purée or purée in a blender with a bit of water until smooth.
2. Add the oil and lemon juice alternately, a little at a time. Add the crushed garlic and salt to taste. Blend thoroughly.
3. Check for seasoning and add more lemon juice if necessary. Chill for a few hours, sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.
Serve with pita bread or your favorite bread sliced very thin.