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Recipe: Hummus bi tahina

Hummus, who doesn’t love it. The name hummus actually comes from the Arabic word for chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) and the complete name of the prepared spread in Arabic is hummus bi tahina, literally chickpeas with tahini.

This little difference led me to stick my foot in my mouth. At a recent Food for Thought dinner I falsely corrected our lovely Syrian ladies. They referred to chickpeas as hummus and I told them no, no “hummus” was hummus and that what they were pointing at was “obviously” chickpeas or in german Kichererbsen. Not realizing, till researching the dip “hummus,” that the Arabic word for chickpeas is hummus (facepalm - how confused they must have felt for my cultural ignorance).

Ok, the question is whether I continue using our westernized name or not. In English we have taken over, shortened and simplified names for several of our beloved items. For example, in Italian Latte translates to milk. A cafe latte is what we really want however.

The same seems to explain why we have taken over the arabic word for chickpeas to mean the internationally loved dip hummus.

Hummus bi tahina is shockingly easy to make. I started to make my own hummus due to the addition of sugar in most supermarket varieties. What seems like a mysterious, way too good to be that easy to make dish, takes about 5 minutes and can be creative as you choose to make it..


Below we’ve listed the “traditional” ingredients and directions on how to make Hummus bi tahina.


  • 1 tin Cooked chickpeas

  • 2 tablespoons tahini (sesame cream)

  • 2 tablespoon Olive Oil

  • 1 fresh lemon juice

  • 1 clove Garlic - or to taste

  • Salt - to taste


  • Mash garlic and olive oil

  • Mash the chickpeas leaving some grain for the decoration

  • Add tahini (sesame cream), lemon juice, garlic and salt

  • Mix well

  • Decorate with olive oil and chickpeas

  • If you have any type of mixer just toss everything in together and mix, it’s that simple. To find your perfect consistency, play around with the amount of liquid. My first batch tasted great, but was, for my taste, a bit thin.

  • Tip - if you want to use less oil, substitute the juice from the chickpeas, or a bit of water.

  • For the ingredients, don’t be afraid to “mix it up.” I would go as far as to say you can add almost any spice or flavoring that takes your fancy. Mix in some olives, sun dried tomatoes or add some curry (my personal favourite) or chilli powder.

  • We hope you enjoy making this dish. We would love to hear from you about how you got on, if you left the recipe or changed it up. Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.


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