If you’ve read my previous blog postArabic and Turkish Cuisine: Similarities and Differences, then you probably have noticed the significance of breakfast for the Arab region. However, Arabic breakfast has a variety of dishes that would take a book to go over and I’ve only written briefly on the topic but today I will go over one specific dish in-depth. I have surveyed 50 arabs on their favorite Arabic breakfast dish, and I’ve chosen to make the highest voted dish.
Today you will learn how to make that dish, the different varieties of that dish, what to pair the dish with and lastly my favorite Arabic songs that you can play in the background to experience the full Arabic breakfast. According to the survey below, you will learn how to make Hummus from A to Z.
HUMMUS: PAST AND PRESENT The name Hummus, is literally the Arabic word for chickpeas and just like many Middle Eastern dishes, the origin of Hummus is highly debated with every country claiming it as their own, and why wouldn’t they? It is after all heavenly. However, the slight evidence that exists argues that it was mainly eaten in Egypt and the Levant countries (Palestine, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon) and the earliest known written recipe was found in Cairo in the 13th century. But, now it is eaten all over the Middle East and recently in the past decade it has gained international recognition and is known almost everywhere in the world.
It is one of the most well known Arabic dishes, and it is a sort of an obsession in the Middle East. Since, the Middle East is filled with professional Hummus restaurants, Arabs have access to the perfect Hummus instantly. However, if you live outside the Middle East whether you’re an Arab living abroad, or a foreigner that might not always be the case, and you might have to settle for store-bought Hummus, which trust me tastes nothing like the original rich creamy Hummus. This is why today I will share my family’s recipe with you, in a few easy steps and tricks I will teach you how to make the perfect Hummus, and you will never have to settle for store-bought ones again! HUMMUS RECIPE Hummus can be made in two main ways either from scratch where you cook and prep your own dry chickpeas, or you can use already pre-cooked canned ones. To make Hummus from scratch you need to soak and prep chickpeas for almost 10 hours, which is time consuming and honestly who has the patience? Today I will teach you how to make Hummus using canned chickpeas, because it is a lot faster and it tastes almost identical to the one made from scratch. It is pretty hard to tell the difference unless you have years of experience. For the video recipe clickhere, but if you want a more in-depth explanation keep scrolling.
For this Hummus recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients.
500 grams canned chickpeas
200 grams tahini
1/2 tsp cumin
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sodium bicarbonate
5-8 ice cubes
1/2 lemon juice
For the best Hummus you need to make sure you have the best and freshest ingredients. It is important that you get the best quality canned Hummus and Tahini, in Turkey these are the brands I liked the most. It is also very important that you use fresh lemon juice, not store-bought lemon juice, it could completely change the test of your Hummus. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, lets get to it!
1. Drain your chickpeas in a strainer, then add them to a pot. Add water until it fully covers the chickpeas and add 1 tsp of baking soda. Let it boil for 20 minutes on low to medium heat, and add water throughout if necessary. Tip: It is important to cook the chickpeas until they’re very soft, to ensure that there are no lumps in your Hummus and that is it creamy. The baking soda helps the chickpeas peel easily and that way you won’t have to sit there peeling them one by one.
2.While your chickpeas are cooking, add garlic, lemon juice and salt to the blender and blend until smooth. Then allow it to rest for 10 minutes. Tip: Adding garlic in this step, makes sure that the garlic’s taste mellows before its mixed with the Hummus. This way you get a slight garlicy taste without overdoing it.
3.After your chickpea is well cooked, drain the water, rise your chickpea with cold water and let them cool for a minute or two. You will notice that they’re mostly peeled. Add the chickpea to the mixture and blend until it’s a paste. It usually takes a few minutes. Tip:It is important to blend really well, until you no longer see any chunks of chickpea to ensure that you will have creamy Hummus.
4. Add the tahini, cumin and an ice cube and blend for two 2 minutes, each 1 or two minutes add an ice cube to the mixture. Keep blending until the Hummus is light, and creamy like the picture. Stop the blender to scoop any mixture on the sides, and blend again. Tip: It is very important to add ice cubes as the Hummus is being blended. Now I don’t know the scientific reasoning behind this but I know this way it ensure that it won’t clump up and stays smooth and light. You will also notice the Hummus’ color is lighter after you add your ice cube.
5. Scoop your Hummus into a plate, use the spoon to create swooshes on top and drizzle olive oil and design it with a few chickpea pieces and Enjoy! or as we say in Arabic Sahteen!
3 MUST HAVES WITH HUMMUS
Hummus is a dish in its entirety. However, it is almost never eaten alone, unless there’s some leftovers and you need to eat the last bits before it goes bad. But, if you want to get the best Hummus experience you need it pair it with these three things: Falafel, pita bread, and Arabic tea.
Picture from https://www.themediterraneandish.com
Falafel is like Hummus’ best friend. Hummus and Falafel are like peanut butter and jam, cookies and milk. They are almost always always paired together, and they’re paired together for a good reason. The combination just tastes out of this world. Falafel’s main ingredient is also chickpeas. It made of chickpeas, fresh herbs and spices and then is formed into balls and fried. You might find it weird that we’re basically eating chickpea with chickpea, but they taste very different and they go so well together. It is hard to make at home, and if you don’t have restaurants that sell them near by, you can probably find them in the frozen section in the grocery stores. Theres different ways to pair them: People dip the Falafel into Hummus, they eat them both with bread or they make a sandwich with Hummus, Falafel, pickles, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Whatever way you choose to pair them up, you need to try them together.
Picture from https://hadiaslebanesecuisine.com/newsite/
If you’ve ever seen Westerns talk about Hummus, you’ve probably realized that they eat it as a vegetable dip, which I personally find really odd. If you do want to get the Arab experience, then never do that and instead eat your Hummus with Pita bread. Pita bread is the most common way people eat Hummus. They basically scoop Hummus with the pita bread. I specially chose pita bread, because unlike other types of bread it is very light so it does not take away from the dish’s main taste, it just complements it.
Tea with mint
Picture from http://happywedd.com and https://tarasmulticulturaltable.com
Tea is very popular in the Middle East, and in general it is the perfect drink with Arabic breakfast. Arabic tea is usually not heavy red tea and it is paired with mint, which adds this perfect taste. Or sometimes its paired with sage (Marameya in Arabic) instead of mint. You can either drink the tea with your meal, or after the meal. So, if you are gonna eat any form of Arabic breakfast never miss out on the tea, especially when you’re eating the most popular Arabic breakfast dish, Hummus. To get the perfect experience, eat your Hummus with Falafel and pita bread, while you sip your mint tea on the side.
If you want to make Arabic tea here are the recipes for both. Click here for the tea with mint recipe. Click here for the tea with sage recipe.
3 DIFFERENT WAYS TO EAT HUMMUS
Now that I’ve introduced you to the most basic form of Hummus, it is time to let you know that there is a whole new world of Hummus waiting. This recipe of Hummus, is Hummus in its most basic form, it is also the most commonly eaten since its the easiest to make. But, there are variety of ways to upgrade your Hummus dish. I will share with you 3 ways to upgrade your Hummus dish, not that the basic one on its own isn’t amazing. But, you could use those recipes for times you need a change. You can eat Hummus with meat, you can make fattet Hummus, or a lighter version of hummus called Msabaha.
HUMMUS WITH MEAT
Picture from https://www.thespruceeats.com
If you’re looking to upgrade your Hummus and add some sort of meat protein this is your go to recipe. Hummus and meat is called Hummus blahmeh in Arabic (lahmeh is meat). It is usually eaten in Lebanon the most. It is pretty self explanatory, it is literally Hummus topped with meat. You can either top it with ground beef, or beef slices according to your liking. It is a more fulfilling and a heavier version of the basic Hummus recipe. For this recipe you can use the Hummus recipe above. Here is my recipe for Hummus blahmeh but if you’d like a more detailed recipe click here.
For this Hummus and Meat recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients.
1-2 tbsp vegetable oil
500 grams ground beef
a plate of ready Hummus
1 green pepper
1/2 garlic clove
1 lemon juice
1. Scoop your Hummus into a plate, and add a layer of canned chickpea pieces on top and set aside. 2. In a pan add your vegetable oil, and add your ground beef. Add a bit of salt, black pepper, paprika, cumin, sumac and ground coriander. Adjust spices to your likes. 3. In a blender add your green pepper, garlic and lemon juice. Blend them together until smooth, then add your ripe avocado. The avocado here is to make the sauce’s consistency creamier. 4. Add your creamy green sauce on top of your Hummus, and then add your cooked spiced ground beef. 5. In a pan add vegetable oil and roast some pine nuts. Once they’re golden, add them on top of your meat with a bit of its oil. 6. Decorate your plate by adding a bit of chopped parsley, mint and a dash of sumac on the sides. Then finally, drizzle a bit of olive oil. 7. Scoop your Hummus with bread and Sahteen!
Picture from https://littlesunnykitchen.com
Fattet is a Levantine dish, it includes the layering of bread and other ingredients on top of one another. One of the types of Fattet is Fattet Hummus, is either served as a breakfast or as a side dish for lunch or dinner. It is basically the layering of bread, chickpeas and a creamy white sauce. Each layer has a different texture and flavor, but together they form a heavenly taste. It is usually eaten with a spoon unlike Hummus and Hummus blahmeh which are eaten with bread. Here is my recipe but if you’d like a more detailed recipe click here.
For this Fattet recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients.
500 grams of canned chickpeas
1/2 tsp sodium bicarbonate
1 kg of yoghurt
2 garlic cloves
3 tbsp tahini
salt to taste
1. Drain your chickpeas in a strainer, then add them to a pot. Add water until it fully covers the chickpeas and add 1 tsp of sodium bicarbonate. Let it boil for 20 minutes on low to medium heat, and add water throughout if necessary. 2. In the meantime, add the yoghurt, garlic, tahini and salt and blend them until everything is incorporated and set aside. 3. Cut your pita bread into small squares and add them into a pan, drizzle olive oil on both sides and let it roast in the oven until golden and crunchy. (it usually takes around 10 minutes) 4. Once the chickpeas are cooked, drain them and rinse with cold water and set aside to cool. (Make sure it is not overcooked, and that it retains its round form). 5. In a baking dish add a layer of your roasted bread, then add a layer of your chickpeas, then add your yoghurt sauce, and finish it with another layer of crunchy bread. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on the top, and add a bit of parsley. 6. In a pot add vegetable oil and roast some pine nuts until golden. Once your pine nuts are golden, add them with a bit of their oil into the center of the dish and Sahteen!
Picture from https://vidarbergum.com
Msabaha also is a Levantine dish. It is a variation of Hummus and it tastes very similar, almost identical. They both use almost the same exact ingredients but the end result is completely different. The main difference between the two dishes is the consistency. Msabaha is more runny and has chunks of chickpea, unlike hummus which is very creamy and smooth with no chunks. Msabaha is basically chickpeas in a tahini sauce, hence the name. Msabaha means swimming, so the chickpeas are swimming in the tahini sauce. Here’s my recipe, but if you want a more detailed recipe click here.
For this Msabaha recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients.
1 cup ready Hummus (use my recipe above)
1 cup canned chickpeas
1/2 cup tahini
1/4 cup olive oil
2 green peppers
2 garlic cloves
1 bell pepper
1 and 1/2 lemon’s juice
1. Chop your garlic, green pepper, and bell pepper roughly. 2. Add your chopped vegetables into a blender, add a dash of salt and blend. Make sure you don’t over blend it, and that there are still chunks. 3. Add your blended vegetables into a bowl, and add your lemon juice and 1 tbsp of olive oil and mix. 4. Get your serving plate, layer it with 1 cup Hummus, then add 1 cup of chickpeas, and add 1/2 cup of tahini and mix them really well. Add your vegetable mix and mix them in. 5. Decorate your plate with a few pieces of chickpea, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of parsley and Sahteen!
3 SONGS FOR AMBIENCE
To have the full Arabic experience, you need Arabic music. The music will complete your experience and it will provide you with the perfect Arabic ambience. Here are three famous Arabic songs, that I believe will transform you to the Middle.
Ahwak means I love you. This song is a very famous Egyptian song that was released in 1960, it is sung by AbdelHaleem who is one of the key figures in Arabic music. The song starts with a sweet nostalgic melody, which makes it the perfect song to pair with your breakfast. Click here for the song and If you don’t speak Arabic click here for the translation.
Kefak Enta is Arabic for how are you? This song was released 1991, it is sung by Fairouz. Fairouz a Lebanese singer, she is also one of the key figures in in Arabic music, if not the most important figure. She is very popular and loved by all Arabs. Her songs are tend to be slow with soft melodies, that are perfect for a relaxing cozy morning breakfast. Click here for the song and if you don’t speak Arabic click here for the translation.
ALF LEILA WE LEILA
Alf Leila we Leila means one thousand nights and one night. It is an Egyptian song that was released in 1971. This song is sung by Um Khultum, one of the most famous and talented Arabic singers. Her songs are usually very long, and are on average 20 minutes. This song is 41 minute, and it is sung live. Yes she sung 41 minutes non-stop, this is exactly why she is famous. Click here for the song and if you don’t speak Arabic clickhere for the translation. (Skip to minute 9, that’s when she begins singing)
THE END OF A TO Z
As promised, I have shown you the full Arabic breakfast experience. I have shown you how to make Hummus, what to pair it with and how to upgrade it once you’ve mastered to make the basic one. As well, as the music for the ambience. I hope you can now recreate an ARabic breakfast atmosphere from the comfort of your home!