I’m including two simple recipes for hummus in this post, but quite frankly, I really just want to share with you some photos of fresh chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans or ceci beans and tell you the story of how I accidentally discovered them.
As most of you are likely to be familiar with canned or dry chickpeas, but less likely to have ever come across fresh ones, I thought you might enjoy seeing this rather cute legume in its “natural state”.
Last year I was reading a recipe called Stupendous Hummus in Melissa Clark’s cookbook “Cook This Now” and she was advocating the use of “freshly cooked chickpeas instead of canned”. Someone who was thinking properly might have looked at the list of ingredients, and noticed that dried chickpeas were called for, but I just glanced at the rest of the recipe and continued to look through the remainder of the cookbook.
A few days later, I entered a fruit and vegetable market in Chelsea Market in New York City, and the first thing I noticed were some very pretty light green pods and a sign that said “Chickpeas”. Naturally, I immediately thought of the recipe I had seen a few days prior and could not believe my eyes that I had come across the previously-never-seen-before fresh legume. I bought some and that night made hummus loosely based on Ms. Clark’s recipe which, in addition to chickpeas, includes lemon juice, salt, cumin, black pepper, garlic, cayenne, tahini, and extra virgin olive oil. The beautiful green color of the fresh chickpeas was retained in the final product, and the texture was smoother and rather mousse-like compared to hummus I have had before.
More recently, I was in a speciality Italian foods market in Greenwich Village and perched amongst the cheeses and cured meats, was a platter of fresh chickpeas. Of course, I had to purchase them again. When I got home, I whipped up a batch of hummus. I did not refer to any specific recipe, but kept it simple and in addition to the chickpeas, added lemon juice, tahini, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and salt. The fresh chickpeas yielded me an amount slightly less than the equivalent of a 15 oz can (425 grams) and I ended up with with 1-1/3 cups of hummus. As most of you will not be able to find fresh chickpeas, I’ve made some minor adjustments in my Quick and Easy Hummus recipe below. Please note that the aside from the chickpeas, the amounts for the other ingredients are a starting point; you may wish to add more of some of the other ingredients depending upon your taste.
Hummus 1: Quick and Easy Hummus (Yield 1-1/2 cups, 300 ml – feel free to double the recipe)
- 1-1/2 cups chickpeas (15 oz can, 425 grams), drained***
- 2 garlic cloves
- Juice of 1-1/2 lemons
- 2 TBL tahini
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- Large pinch of salt
***If you prefer to use dried chickpeas, one cup of dried chickpeas will yield 3 cups of cooked chickpeas, or the equivalent of two 15 oz cans.
Hummus 2: based on Melissa Clark’s Stupendous Hummus (Yield 3-1/2 cups, 830 ml)
- Juice of 1 lemon (plus more for serving)
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground pepper
- 2 garlic cloves
- Pinch cayenne (plus more for serving)
- 1/3 cup (2-3/4 fluid oz, 80 ml) tahini
- 1/2 cup (4 fluid oz, 120 ml) cold water
- 3 cups (Two 15 oz cans, 850 grams) cooked chickpeas (Melissa prefers using dried chickpeas over canned; 1 cup dried will yield 3 cups)
- 1/2 cup (4 fluid oz, 120 ml) extra virgin olive oil (plus more for serving)
- Sea salt