Hummus is such a staple throughout the Middle East, they actually sell it in plastic bags not containers. There is no time to package and keep up with the demand if each one had to be invidivually packaged.
There are a ton of variations of hummus lately. From beet hummus, to chocolate hummus, to hummus that doesn’t even include garbanzo beans hummus has taken on a life of its own. But for an original, authentic, Syrian style hummus, very few ingredients are needed to achieve a rich flavorful dish. In fact, Syrian hummus is one of the few places that make hummus without garlic. Garbanzo beans, tahini, lemon juice, and salt is it with a few tricks of course.
In Damascus, a hummus mom and pop shop usually in the center of the hustle and bustle will make hummus in a ginormous pot and then sell it in a plastic bag. He scoops up the hummus with a ladle and pours it into the plastic bag before tying it on top. Once home, the plastic bag gets cut from the corner the same way a baker does with icing and piped into a plate.
How to achieve a creamy smooth delicious hummus?
Some people soak the beans in baking soda overnight and others like to sautée the beans in baking soda and then boil them with the baking soda. Adding baking soda will help make the water more alkaline which results in softer skin, it penetrates the skin better and makes for an overall softer garbanzo bean.
Tahini is basically the key star ingredient next to the beans. A good quality tahini makes all the difference. I like to use Mid East which is found in most supermarkets or amazon .
Fresh lemon juice
Fresh is always better and lemon is no exception. I haven’t bought lemon juice from the supermarket in over 10 years. I have 2 lemon trees in my yard and I still buy lemons in bulk when I’m at Costco. Once you start using fresh lemon juice you will never go back. Same goes for garlic.
Ice and ice cold water
The ice cold water is responsible for the ivory color of the hummus which is also a good indication that its creamy.
Canned or Dried beans
Traditionally, dried garbanzo beans is what was used. However, if you want immediate satisfaction and do not want to wait to soak the beans overnight you can certainly use canned beans. Make sure to rinse the canned beans and still boil them to make them softer or else you will end up with chunky hummus which is an ultimate no no.
An easy trick to remove the skin
After boiling the garbanzo beans, drain them and immediately soak them in a pot filled with ice cold water. This will stop the cooking and the skin will start to float to the top. In less then 10 minutes almost all of the skin should be separated.
If you like the flavor of hummus, you might also enjoy some of these recipes:
Some other staples included on a middle eastern mezze spread are
- Muhammara; a roasted red pepper spread
- Fetteh hummus; a garbanzo bean plate with tahini yogurt sauce
The Syrian version of creamy and rich hummus. Slightly different then the rest of the hummus recipes out there, this is authentic and delicious with a few tricks that make it like nothing you've tasted before.
- 1/2 lb dry garbanzo beans
- 1 lb soaked garbanzo beans
- 2 14 oz cans drained
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 10 cups water separated
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup ice cold water
- 1 1/2 cup tahini
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- 7 ice cubes
- Rinse beans several times
- Soak garbanzo beans in 5 cups of water and baking soda for 12 hours, overnight
- Drain soaked beans, return to pot of water and bring to a boil
Boil for 20-60 minutes (depends on garbanzo beans, some take longer than others)
- Drain again, put in the fridge until they are cold (reserve a handful of beans for garnish)
immediately after draining add to a large pot of ice cold water for 10 minutes so skin separates
Rinse beans, boil for 5-10 minutes
drain, immedatly after draining add to a large pot of ice cold water for 10 minutes so skin seperates
put in the fridge until cold
- Add ice cubes to food processor
- Pulse several times until they are crushed
- Add garbanzo beans in food processor
- Add lemon, salt, and tahini
- Slowly add in cold water while it is mixing
- Mix in food processor for 6-7 minutes
- Optional garnish with paprika, sautéed pine nuts, olive oil, garbanzo beans
- Serve with warm pita bread