Few elements of traditional Lebanese food are more popular or better known than hommus, so if you haven’t discovered this ancient delicacy yet you are in for a real treat. Also known as hummus, humos, hummous and hoummus, the word itself is actually the Arabic term for chickpeas and nowadays you can find this popular food in almost every country on earth. Here we will take a closer look at what hommus is, where it came from and why life simply wouldn’t be the same without it.
The health benefits of chickpeas have been known for millennia, although primarily chickpea based, these days you can find hommus that contains everything from capsicum to sweet potato
What is hommus?
While most consider hommus to be a dip, it can also be spread on a sandwich or eaten as a complete meal all on its own. These days you can find hommus that contains everything from capsicum to sweet potato; however, most people will agree that authentic Lebanese hommus has four basic ingredients – chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice and garlic.
An ancient and delicious mystery
It seems that hommus has been around for so long that no one really knows when it was first made, though it appears to have been created by the Ancient Mesopotamians thousands of years ago. The core ingredients of hommus are among the oldest known to mankind (with chick peas being one of the first crops ever cultivated); however, the earliest written evidence of a dish resembling hommus doesn’t emerge until the 13th Century in Egypt. The lack of written evidence prior to this point is likely due to the fact that communication between people was extremely limited during ancient times and few could even write.
Healthy and nutritious
The health benefits of chickpeas have been known for millennia and were a vital source of nutrition for everyone from the Ancient Romans and Egyptians to the nomadic tribes who travelled throughout the region. By adding garlic, tahini and lemon juice, hommus becomes almost a type ofsuper food – high in protein, vitamin B6, vitamin C, zinc, iron, folate, phosphorous, sodium, manganese and dietary fibre.
Every Lebanese family has their own secret recipe for making authentic hommus, though the basic technique is relatively simple.
- Rinse chick peas and soak them overnight in water.
- Strain the chick peas, add fresh water and cook them.
- Once cooked, strain the chick peas again before grounding them into a rough paste. (You can do so by using a food processor or simply mashing them with a large wooden spoon)
- Add crushed garlic, tahini and lemon juice and mix thoroughly. If you’d like to add your own special ingredients, such as olives, peppers or sun dried tomatoes, do so now and mix well.
- Your hommus is now ready to eat! It will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge if covered well or you can freeze hommus and it will be good for up to 6 months.