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How to Make Hummus

Updated on January 10, 2017
Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon loves cooking and experimenting with food. He loves making new dishes, particularly with unusual or underused ingredients.

Traditional Hummus

This page is not just a guide to how to make hummus. It is a look at how hummus would have been made in a traditional sense, long before the advent of food processors and blenders. While these devices certainly provide for making hummus a lot easier, they were not of course available until very recently. This method of making hummus therefore requires no such modern, technological devices and is how it would have been prepared in the earliest days following its development.

Dried Chickpeas as Purchased from the Grocery Store or Supermarket
Dried Chickpeas as Purchased from the Grocery Store or Supermarket

What is Hummus?

Hummus is a Middle Eastern dish, made principally with chickpeas (pictured right.) It is a paste which can be served as part of a meal or as perhaps an appetizer/starter with the likes of pitta bread. It is incredibly easy to make but is time consuming in the sense that it requires the chickpeas to firstly be soaked overnight in cold water.

Draining the Chickpeas after their Overnight Soaking
Draining the Chickpeas after their Overnight Soaking
Boiling the Chickpeas
Boiling the Chickpeas

Steep the Chickpeas Overnight

It is an absolutely essential requirement to steep the chickpeas in cold water overnight. For this recipe, I used 1/2lb of dry chickpeas, rinsed them thoroughly in a colander under running cold water and thenĀ poured them in to a large bowl and covered them to a considerable depth with moreĀ cold water. This is because they will absorb water and expand overnight.

The next day, the chickpeas should be drained and then added to a large pot with enough boiling water to once again cover them. The water should be brought back to the boil and a simmer kept up for two hours. Ensure that the water level is topped up, as and when required.

When this time has elapsed, the chickpeas should once again be drained, covered and allowed to cool for around twenty to thirty minutes.

Toasting the Sesame Seeds
Toasting the Sesame Seeds

How to Make Tahini

Tahini is something which many people eliminate when making hummus. I consider it, however, an essential ingredient in the recipe and simply make the quantity which I will require while the chickpeas are boiling. Nothing could be any simpler.

All that is required in order to make tahini is sesame seeds and olive oil. For the quantity of hummus that I am making here, I took two tsp of sesame seeds and lightly toasted them in a dry frying pan over a low to medium heat. It is important not to colour the seeds. They take about three to five minutes to cook this way.

When the sesame seeds are thus toasted, they should be ground with a pestle and mortar in to a thick paste and then left to cool for about fifteen minutes. One tsp of olive oil should then be added to thin the paste.

Mashing the Chickpeas
Mashing the Chickpeas

How to Combine Hummus Ingredients

When the chickpeas and the tahini have thus been prepared, how to make hummus is then simply about mixing all the required ingredients together:


Chickpeas and tahini as detailed above

1 clove of garlic (crushed or grated)

Juice of 1 lemon

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp cold water


As mentioned in the introduction to this page, this recipe does not use a food processor or a blender. This means that the chickpeas have to be mashed with a potato masher. This can involve a little bit of hard work - but think of it as a way of releasing frustration!

The final step is then to simply add the remainder of the ingredients, stir very thoroughly and refrigerate until required.

How to Serve Hummus

Hummus served simply with Scottish oatcakes
Hummus served simply with Scottish oatcakes

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