I was asked for the Humus Recipe I’m using, and generally if you were Hebrew speakers, I’d send you here: http://humus101.com/?p=4 . This is where my recipe started. Nice thing about Humus is that you can make it however you feel like, as long as you and others like the outcome. If you’re American, be warned – there’s a big thing in America about not offending people. If your friend says your Humus was delicious, but then stops returning your calls, you may want to change a few ingredients and make new friends. This here can get you started, and you can tweak it to your taste, culture and what not.
Ingredients (this here serves 4 hungry Israelis):
- 2 cups of Humus beans (aka garbanzo). You want to buy fresh beans, and try to find the smallest kind you can find. In Israel they’re called “Bulgarian”. The beans you’ll use are responsible for how good your Humus is. If you use canned beans or anything of the sort, please go jump in front of a bus now before anyone else gets hurt.
- One onion
- 5 garlic cloves (If you like garlic, you can use more. Up to you)
- 1 Tsp baking soda
- 2/3 cup of Tahini (good brand, something that you like).
- 2 small lemons
- 1/3 tsp cumin (use more if you like. I do. But easy on the seasoning)
- Salt. Easy with that.
Make sure you have a food processor. You can also use a combination of liquidizer and mixer. If you don’t have either, I’ll have a recipe for boiled egg
for you next week. That is assuming you have clean water running in your tap.
1) Get those good Humus beans (aka garbanzo). The smaller the better. In Israel they’re called “Bulgarian type”, but wherever you are, just try to get them small.
2) Clean’em up. Put them on a shallow plate, and take out anything that doesn’t look like Humus – rocks, and even beans that are not as beautiful as their sisters. This ritual is important, make sure you only have good-looking humus beans left.
3) Wash the beans a few times, until the water is crystal clear.
4) Take a bowl, put a few tablespoons of coarse salt in it, fill it up with a lot of water, and put the beans inside. The water level should be well above the beans. Use 2-3 litters (100 oz). Put it in the fridge overnight. Go to sleep, or party till morning. 12 hours rest for the humus at least.
5) Good morning, how’d you sleep… Take the beans, and wash them well (we don’t want them to be salty). Put the humus in fresh clean water for a few more hours, in the fridge. The longer you leave the beans in water, the smoother your humus will be. If you wanna just get going now, you can.
6) Wash the beans, make sure the water is crystal clear again, put the beans in a pot with water that is 2 inch higher than the beans. Put the onion and garlic in there too (no salt yet, please). Cook it. Make it boil, then reduce the heat, so it continues boiling (bubbles and all, don’t let it rest). Cover the pot. Every 5 minutes or so, open the lid, and skim the water (meaning, remove any foam or floating humus shells that you can see). We’ll do this part for 45 minutes at least.
7) We’re going to add the baking soda now. What it does is make the beans go soft quickly. It’s a shortcut and you don’t have to do it if you’d like to just keep the pot on the stove for 3 hours or so. I always do it, ’cause I don’t see the downside. Anyways, you add the baking soda in there, and watch the volcano go. My favorite part as a chemistry-set deprived child. Give it another half hour of boiling, during which continue skimming (it will get ugly after you put the baking soda in there, so skip to the best of your ability).
The beans are ready when you can easily crush them. That is, you take a bean, hold it between your thumb and finger, and when you easily squeeze it becomes paste. If it feels a little bumpy, it’s not ready yet. If your finger got burned, then you were supposed to let the bean cool before holding it in your hand (geez, man…) Anyway – after a total of 75 minutes in the water, 30 of which with the baking soda, it should now be ready to go pasty.
Note: If you use the right kind of beans, meaning those small ones, then the bean shells would be gone by now. They leave the beans and float or disintegrate, and so you skimmed them or they’re simply gone. If, for whatever reason, you can see that most beans still have their shells, you want to remove those somehow. You can peel them off one by one if you like, or there’s a trick to it – remove the beans from the water, cool them under water, massage them with your hands (don’t squash), and then put them in the pot again and let it continue cooking. The shells should now be more willing to leave the beans and go where all shells should go – in the trash can.
8) Turn off the stove, and let the pot cool. Once it’s cool, put it in the fridge for a few hours. If you’re in a hurry, skip this part I guess, but the best humus I made were done following the regime to the dot.
9) Take the pot out, and pull all the beans, with the garlic WITHOUT the onion in a food processor. Process…. You are now setting the texture of the humus – add the liquids from the pot into the processor, until you’ve reached the liquid state that you like in your humus. I like my Humus quite “concrete”, so I was tempted to not use any liquids once – it is not recommended, because you end up with something that can easily paint a drywall with. Use at least some liquid, but keep the paste firm – you don’t drink Humus with a straw. Grind for about 2 minutes before starting to add the rest of the ingredients.
10) Add a little tahini. Keep processing on low power. Add the rest of the tahini, then the lemon juice, cumin and salt. Be very careful with the seasoning. If the dish becomes too salty, I’m going to make you start over from square 1, so really – be careful. It’s better to have your guest add a little salt to their own dish. You’ve been warned. Cumin is also salty, by the way. I, for one, use a lot of it, but again – it’s a matter of taste. Cumin can also be added on top of the dish after serving. Better a mild taste, then salt coming out of your ears. Right, enough with that.
Oh, you can also add squashed garlic for a stronger taste of garlic. I love it, but some people don’t.
11) Put the thing in a plastic container, sealed, in the fridge. Some people like their humus hot, so you can eat it now if you want. You can also leave some of the unsquashed beans (now you’re telling me?), with the liquid, and add those in the middle of the dish. See here: http://msc.walla.co.il/archive/270869-5.jpg.
Serve it any way you like, but olive oil is really important, sprinkled on the dish. You can add some parsley or other greens, and I personally like to add cumin on top of it as well.
Pita is also important. Most Israelis keep their Pitas in the freezer, and a minute before eating them, take them out, wrap them in a clean kitchen towel, and throw them in the microwave for 60 seconds. It tastes like it just came out of the oven in the bakery this way, so even the best Humus restaurants in the country use this trick. The downside is that you have to eat the pita within 10 minutes, or it becomes a good replacement for a flat tire.
Humus will be good in the fridge for a few days only, because it has no preservatives in it (yey). If you get green stuff on top, it’s not pesto, it’s antibiotics. Don’t eat it without a prescription. Throw it away and start investigating how come your dish was left to rot in the fridge.
Let me know how it went. Good luck and all.