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Enjoy eating Bakdunsiyyeh
Parsley Salad


When talking about 'culture and Palestine' food is an imortant subject the MUST be included. We'd like to tell you a little about the important condiment belonging to our meals: Hummous.


"Hummus" is derived from the Arabic word for chickpea, in Latin America it is Garbanzo, in India Bengal gram

- Theres nothing quite like hummus, that famous Middle Eastern appetizer. Found on every mezza table throughout the Arab world, the delectable dip, simply made from pureed chickpeas, garlic, lemon and sesame taheena, is all the rave in the United States.

Many American grocery stores, health food stores, and gourmet shops sell already-prepared hummus to eager shoppers hooked on this exotic Arab appetizer. Not only is hummus a tasty and addictive dip, but it is also a healthy alternative. Hummus is a good source of protein, niacin, vitamin B1, iron, and zinc.

Would-be chefs have already made their mark on the hummus craze, adding their versions to the hundreds of hummus recipes already in existence. It seems these days everyone has his or her own unique recipe for hummus that adds a little extra something. There are recipes for tomato-basil-hummus, pesto-hummus, fat-free hummus, eggplant hummus (not to be confused with baba ghanooj), extreme garlic hummus, turbo hummus, red pepper hummus, spicy hot hummus, spicy orange hummus, roasted garlic hummus, black soy bean hummus, and olive hummus, and those are just to name a few.

Most Arabs, however, prefer to stick to the traditional and original Arabic recipe for hummus, using chickpeas, lemon, garlic, and taheena. Among Arab families, cherished hummus-bi-taheena recipes are passed down through generations. These recipes sometimes include cayenne pepper, black pepper, cumin or sumac, depending upon tastes. After hummus is made, it is sprinkled with olive oil, paprika, ground red pepper, and a few garbanzo beans and fresh parsley are usually added on top for added flavor and decoration. Hummus is served with pita bread, fresh vegetables, olives and pickles. It can be eaten with pita bread or used as a dip for vegetables. Hummus is also sometimes used as a spread for sandwiches.

Hummus is easy to make. It can be prepared with dried garbanzo beans or canned chickpeas. For those short on time, canned chickpeas may be more convenient. Fresh lemons should be used as well as freshly peeled cloves of garlic. Taheena is a major ingredient in hummus and is a paste made from sesame seeds. It can be found in most Middle Eastern and specialty stores, although it is quite fattening. Each tablespoon of sesame taheena has about 8 grams of fat and 90 calories. However, the amount of taheena used in hummus can always be reduced in the recipe to make the dip less fattening. Taheena is also used to make the delicious taratoor sauce for fish, meat, and vegetables. Taratoor sauce is made of taheena, lemon, garlic, water and salt.

The word hummus is derived from the Arabic word for chickpea (garbanzo beans). In Latin America, the word for chickpea is Garbanzo; in India Bengal gram; in Turkey Nohud and Lablabi; Ceci in Italy; and in Ethiopia it is Shimbra.

The chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) is an ancient pulse crop and a member of the Leguminosae family. Pulse crops consist of a higher amount of protein than most plants. The chickpea was first grown in Turkey around 7,000 BC and India about 4,000 BC. Chickpea is usually grown in semi-arid regions in India and the Middle East.

Chickpea is a good source of protein, fiber, and iron and an excellent source of folate. In fact, many believe the consumption of chickpea can increase energy and sexual desire. There are two main types of chickpea, the desi and the kabuli. The desi, which means local in Hindi, has long been produced in India. The kabuli, which is named after the capital of Afghanistan, are larger, and believed to originate in the Mediterranean and were brought to India by way of Afghanistan.

Chickpeas are widely used in Middle Eastern and North African cooking, from stews to casseroles. Spicy chickpea batter is used as a base for another uniquely Arab specialty, falafel. The falafel batter is shaped into balls and deep-fried in oil. Falafel is eaten wrapped in pita bread with vegetables and taratoor sauce or hummus spread.

India produces 90 percent of the worlds chickpea supply. Major importers of chickpea are Spain, Algeria, Iran, Libya, Lebanon and the US. In the US, the majority of chickpea is produced in California as well as parts of eastern Washington, Idaho and Montana.

By Anayat Durrani
August 09, 2001

so.. how can we make it then? Try the recipe below and let us know if you succeed.

3 cups dried chick peas (about 1 1/ 2 pounds), picked over and soaked overnight in cold water to cover mixed with 1 teaspoon baking soda or 6 cups canned cooked chickpeas, saving 1 1/ 2 cup of water from the cans.
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil.
8 large garlic cloves, peeled.
1/2 cup tahini (sesame seed paste).
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice.
Freshly ground black pepper to taste.
1/4 cup pine nuts.
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves and fresh mint leaves for garnish.
1/2 teaspoon sumac for garnish.


1 -- Drain the chickpeas and place in a pot of lightly salted water to cover by 2-inches. Bring the water to a boil over a high heat until it foams, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the foam with a skimmer and continue boiling, partially covered, until tender, about 3 hours, so keep checking. Add boiling water to the pot to keep the chickpeas continuously covered. Drain and save 1 1/2 cups of the cooking water. Return the cooked chickpeas to the same pot filled with some cold water so you can rub the skins off the chickpeas with your fingers (many of them will rise to the surface).

2 -- Process the chick-peas with 1/2 cup of the olive oil and 1 cup of the reserved chickpea cooking water in a food processor until creamy.

3 -- In a mortar, pound the garlic with 1 tablespoon salt until it is a creamy mush. In a small bowl, beat the tahini and lemon juice together slowly. If it is too thick, add water--never more lemon juice. Stir the tahini-and-lemon juice mixture into the garlic and salt. Stir this mixture into the chickpea puree, adjust the salt, and season with pepper. Check the consistency; if it is too thick, like an oatmeal, then add some of the remaining reserved chick-pea cooking water until it is smoother, like a Cream of Wheat. Check the taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. If you do need to adjust the taste, the process must be repeated--in other words, mash some more garlic with salt or mix a tablespoon of tahini with a tablespoon of lemon juice.

4 -- In a small skillet, cook the pine nuts in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat until light brown, stirring, about 4 minutes. Remove and set aside.

5 -- Spoon the hummus onto a large round serving platter, not a bowl. Warm the remaining 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Make spiral or fan-shaped furrows in the hummus and fill with the warm olive oil. Sprinkle the reserved pine nuts around. Garnish the edges with mint leaves and sprinkle the chopped mint on top. Sprinkle the sumac over and serve. Serve with warm Arabic flatbread or pita bread.

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