making hummus in India

24th November 2009


Now I know I promised some delicious Indian dishes when I was in India, but during my stay, I enjoyed someone else making them, rather than me cooking them.  My friend, Mary had organised a wonderful Indian lady with a huge smile to cook lunches for us.   We were quite a big group of  6 hungry adults and 4 hungry, but very appreciative children.  Each day there was a new dish, more delicious than the next.  Every day there was a Dahl soup, rice, and two types of vegetable palya (a dry vegetable dish).  She also made us chapatis and rice rottis with each meal.  The chapatis went really well with the hummus.

When packing for India, I packed a very big jar of tahini for the purpose of experimenting with a hummus recipe that was given to me by a few very important experts in this field (thank-you Noa and Tal).  Also, it is one way that I know the children will get a good dose of protein while we are in Mysore, in the South of India.  There are a few secrets to this recipe, one being the addition of bicarbonate of soda for softer chickpeas, a good quality tahini, whole cumin seeds lightly toasted then freshly ground to a powder to enhance the aromatic flavour and, the addition of the ice water to create an aerated, creamy hummus.

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Makes about 2½ cups


1¼ cup dried chickpeas

¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda

½ tsp cumin seeds

½ cup good quality tahini

salt to taste

juice from½ lemon, approximately 2 Tablespoons, plus more if needed

½ cup ice water

¼ tsp hot paprika

to prepare the chickpeas :

Soak the chickpeas overnight with double their volume in water.  The next day, drain and rinse.

Place the drained chickpeas with the bicarbonate of soda and water, generously cover.  Bring to a boil, skimming off any foam that comes to the surface.  Simmer until the chickpeas are soft, about 1 – 2 hours depending on the type and freshness of your chickpeas.  You will need to add more water as they simmer.  Once done the chickpeas should be quite soft but not mushy.  Drain and set aside.

to prepare the hummus :

Dry roast the cumin seeds in a small pan, when lightly toasted turn off the heat and grind to a powder with a mortar and pestle.

Transfer the chickpeas (you should have 2 cups/350g cooked chickpeas) to a food processor, run the machine, stopping and scraping down the sides occasionally, until the beans are crumbly. Pour in the tahini, ground cumin, lemon juice, salt, and blend again until well combined.  With the machine still running, start drizzling in the ice water, so that the hummus starts to become fluffy and aerated.  Depending on the beans you may not use all the water, or you may need more.  Allow to sit for 5 minutes, taste and adjust to your own personal taste by adding more tahini, lemon or salt.

To serve, spread the hummus in a shallow bowl, drizzle with olive oil, more lemon juice and a sprinkling of hot paprika.  You could also garnish with toasted black sesame seeds or an assortment of sprouts.  Serve with freshly made chapati or pita bread.

Lately, I have been sautéing on a very high heat – red bell peppers, or tiny cauliflower florets or eggplant cubes until slightly charred, making a well in the centre of the hummus with the back of a spoon and filling it with the vegetables of choice.


Shared goodness from Stacey

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  • hutfitproject

    Just made the hummous. I did add a little bit more of the cumin seed (there is no mention of when you add the cumin)and a bit of garlic. It is very yummy and so much better than the bought variety. mmmmmmmm

    • goodnessis

      Thanks, just amended the cumin addition in the ‘Method’. The cooked red lentil is much lighter and more delicious than the chickpea version.

  • hutfitproject

    Further comment – what would you suggest is a good olive oil in Australia? It is very hard to know and I have tasted a great one that my sister had in Brisbane but she got it from friends in Melbourne who had it imported.
    Can’t wait to make the lentil hummous.

  • Kristin

    Beautiful. I am inspired and amazed by the beauty in such clear wise food. May every table be graced with a dish from the offerings you have.
    ps this is my first ever foray into blog-land, and it feels so appropriate that I am getting my feet (mouth)wet here…

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