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Our Community Table: Chummus

This month I am writing about something controversial. (How’s that for an opening sentence?) If you are wondering how a recipe column can be controversial, just bear with me and you will see. This month’s featured recipe is an amazing recipe for chummus.

The first thing we may argue about is the spelling and pronunciation of the name of the dish. I spell it “chummus” and pronounce it with a guttural “ch” sound. This is how I was raised to say it. This is how it would be referred to in Israel and the rest of the Middle East. In your typical American grocery store you can find “hummus” without the “c” in the beginning. This makes sense because your typical American can’t pronounce a guttural “ch” sound. So, it may be a bit controversial. I think we just need to say that both names are acceptable.

Since chummus has become so popular there are always new flavor options popping up. I am kind of a purist as far as chummus goes. I will admit to enjoying a good roasted garlic chummus or one that has a lot of lemon. Aside from that, I am perfectly happy staying with the plain version. Dare we venture into the controversial territory of some of the specialty flavors like chocolate or pumpkin spice? I think not. I have not and do not plan on ever purchasing those. And, yes, I kind of view those flavor options as being a travesty. But, if you like them we can agree to disagree. You go on eating your chocolate chummus while I gag and look the other way.

In all seriousness, though, there is nothing like good homemade chummus. As is the case with most foods, the best versions come from our own kitchens. And, the recipe below is the best chummus recipe that I’ve ever had. I got this recipe many years ago from Dena Gewirtz. When I make it my family gets very excited. The recipe makes a lot of chummus. But, I find that it is so well liked that it doesn’t last any longer than a smaller, store bought container.

Notes: I have probably used more garlic than the recipe calls for. We really like garlic. Also, don’t skimp on the olive oil. There is a lot of oil in chummus. But, if you use less the chummus will not taste as good. I’ve tried other recipes with less oil and I truly think that this is the crucial difference between chummus that is average and chummus that is amazing. Finally, prepared techina is not a product that can easily be found in any grocery store. But, it is a fairly common product in kosher specialty stores. The cans of techina that some stores carry are not the same thing. That is not “prepared” or ready to use.

From the recipe files of Dena Gewirtz
1 (28 oz.) can chickpeas
3 garlic cloves, minced
2/3 c. olive oil
1 (7 oz.) container prepared techina
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
1 tsp. cumin
½ tsp. paprika

Drain the chickpeas. Rinse them and drain again. Combine all ingredients and puree in a food processor, using the knife blade, until well blended. Refrigerate. This recipe yields one quart of chummus.


Deena Abraham
Community Contributor

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